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Stay: Energihotellet; both James Bond and hike-enthousiasts feel at home here

For somewhat dubious reasons, I recently found myself in Haugesund. Due to a significant disruption to my travel schedule, which resulted in a day's delay, I regrettably had no time to explore Haugesund. Therefore, you can expect an article from me about this illustrious place on the west coast of the country at a later date. Anyway, the plan was to drive back to my hometown from Haugesund, a journey that could be completed in one day, but would entail approximately seven hours in the car, which seemed rather long. Thus, I sought out a charming hotel to spend the night midway. A particular hotel had long been on my bucket list, not only for its location and architecture but also because the new owners had revitalized the place in an exceptional manner. It seemed fitting to dedicate a brief article to it. After reading, you will have:

  • Numerous reasons why a stay at Energihotellet will elevate your Norwegian holiday

  • Local attractions you should not leave unseen

Why visit Energihotellet

Energihotellet is rather isolated, which is immediately a significant plus. A glance at the map reveals a vast lake, one of the largest in the Rogaland region, winding narrow roads, and towering mountains. This is no coincidence. The hotel formerly housed temporary workers from the nearby hydroelectric plant, and sometimes still does.

Speaking of the hydroelectric plant, it was constructed in the early 1960s, designed by Geir Grung, a Norwegian architect. The building has a somewhat brutalist aesthetic, evoking a James Bond-esque atmosphere. And I am sure I'm not the first one to notice. Mysterious installations in such settings always give me the impression that a helicopter could land at any moment, carrying some eccentric villain accompanied by dubious bodyguards heading towards the hydroelectric plant entrance to conduct some shady business in order to reset the world order.

To the point: the hotel itself is not located within the hydroelectric plant but just above it. The design of both the building and the interior is a beautiful synthesis of functionalism, minimalism, and mid-century design. The new owners have added a delightful twist without compromising the original character. Much of it remains in its original state, significantly enhancing the overall experience.

The entrance of the Energihotellet

What I truly appreciated was the manner in which the food was served. Firstly, the breakfast. As a modern human, I have, to put it mildly, a certain aversion to buffets. The amount of food wasted is one symptom of an unsustainable system that disrupts the planet's livability. Energihotellet understands this. Here, no buffet but an excellently curated plate with delicious fruits, vegetables, scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and various other toppings. Additionally, there was freshly homemade bread. Forget about those continental breakfast spreads with 10 types of bread, countless varieties of cold cuts, eggs prepared in six different ways, and numerous other unnecessary items. This is all you need to start your day fully satisfied.

The dinner was equally excellent. It’s not haute cuisine, but the dishes are beautifully presented and predominantly feature local products. All very tasteful. Speaking of local products, they have a fantastic selection of apple ciders, one of Norway's globally renowned beverages receiving more and more recognition recently. Ask for a bottle of Humlepung, and for non-Norwegians, do ask to get an explanation of the name! Do it!

Now that you have a bit of an idea of what to expect, here’s a brief summary of why you won’t regret spending a night here:

  • Attentative staff: informal, helpful, and cheerful

  • A rather stunning setting with a fantastic view

  • Use and promotion of local products, adding to the unique character of the place and the hotel

  • An excellent sauna you can book. As a great sauna enthusiast, I was immediately excited. Moreover, the view from the sauna is as spectacular as from the hotel.

  • A feeling of intimacy and authenticity. They're part of 'De Historiske Hotell', a series of exceptional hotels known for their charm and originality. That says it all, doesn't it.

The surroundings

As should be clear by now, the hotel is situated in a wonderful area perfect for nature lovers and outdoor activities. The hotel’s car park provides direct access to several hiking trails, and the possibilities in the immediate vicinity are endless.

Additionally, the hotel is located on the countryroad ‘13’ road leading to Røldal, offering postcard-like landscapes with snowy peaks, green valleys, spectacular waterfalls, and picturesque, ancient farms. This stretch of road is part of the legendary Ryfylke National Tourist Road, a must if you decide to vacation in this area. My favourite stop along this route is Allmannajuvet, part of an old silver mine. Recently, several evocative architectural structures designed by none other than Peter Zumthor have been erected here, which are well worth a visit.

Nesflaten itself, where the hotel is located, is a tiny village. To give you an idea of its size: it has a primary school with a total of 25 students and often less, including toddlers, preschoolers, and children under 12. Speaking of which, years ago, a boy at this school chose to start a small shop as his project, which part of the Norwegian school system's practical or theoretical subject requirement. This shop still exists but is now run by a former teacher from this very school. Products come from all over the world: Nepal, South Africa, and, of course, Norway. Even if you’re not interested in beautiful handmade products, it’s almost a duty to Nesflaten to have a chat with the former teacher— truly a woman of the world!


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