Like a royal estate from a Norwegian fairytale, 17 magnificent old and new houses and cabins are gathered in the heart of the mountain. Welcome to Harahorn Hotell.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: The hotel
1100 metres above everyday life, close to some of of the most spectacular mountain areas at Hemsedal, among low trees and heather and populated by grouse and reindeer, Harahorn sits at a fantastic location. History comes to life in the houses, old and new – among them Finsetstugu and Flåstugu from the end of the 1800s and Synningen and Tinden a hundred years younger.
The mountain estate at the top of Grøndalen valley was originally built by Knut Kloster Jr in 1991 as a mountain office for his employees. Care and quality is evident in every detail from handpicked stone to antique furniture and colours matching the mountain palette. The unmistakably Norwegian architecture, based on local building traditions, is in keeping with the GreatLife hotel network Harahorn is a part of.
“Our surroundings influence our thoughts and give us inspiration, energy and creativity,” says Knut Kloster, who has created this fairytale place in the middle of Hemsedal’s spectacular landscape.
It’s easy to find peace here, easy to be lifted out of the routine and think new thoughts. The immense silence of the mountain is healing, the rustling of leaves and a grouse cackling in the morning could be the only sound. The fresh mountain air makes you sleep like a log and wake up rested and energised, ready for a new day. The cabins are fully equipped with spacious bedrooms, several bathrooms, kitchen, sauna and an open fireplace. In the main building there are beautiful double rooms, all en suite, all with good beds and the very best mattresses.
Only the best is good enough, seems to be chef Jørgen Kolderup’s mantra. Who else keeps their own bees to produce honey, or taps birch sap, or picks pine shoots, moss and other natural treats to create the flavour of the mountain in his food? On the menu is reindeer that has grazed in the area, trout from nearby lakes, handpicked cloudberries, crowberries and lingonberries. The endless treasure trove of the mountain plain is the basis for Harahorn’s exclusive kitchen. The chef likes to experiment with old traditional techniques like smoking, salting and curing, and then give his dishes a new and modern twist. The wine cellar can also offer a few hidden gems at prices that make it well worth exploring its darkest corners.
Another thing that makes a stay at Harahorn particularly enjoyable is that everything is so flexible. Guests can have their food served in a cabin, their lunch on a mountain top or some cured ham snacks by the fire in the open front gapahuk shelter. And if they are going further afield, perhaps they would like to bring their own chef?
Many choose to have their wedding at Harahorn, any time of year, and that’s understandable. The hotel even has its own chapel up in the hill so the ceremony can take place at the same venue as the wedding party.
Just like in a fairytale …