HERANGTUNET BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Herangtunet Boutique Hotel is like a little world in the heart of a magnificent mountain landscape between Fagernes and Beitostølen. A world where you can glimpse New York or Rome or find yourself in Iceland, Sweden or France …
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: The hotel
Herangtunet sits in a unique location about a 20 minute drive from Jotunheimen National Park. Maybe it was this mountain splendour that drew in the Dutch couple Marie-José and Marco Robeerst in 2002, and made them decide to swap city life in Amsterdam for mountains, forests and outdoor life in Valdres. They had already fallen in love with Norway after spending many holidays here, and when Marco came across the old carpenter’s workshop for sale, they bought the place. For five years they spent every summer restoring it with the help of family and friends, and in 2007 they left their creative jobs in the Netherlands, where Marie-José was an interior designer and Marco was a graphic designer in a PR company, and moved to Norway permanently with their three year old son Balder.
But they have used their passion for design to give the old buildings at Herangstunet a new lease of life as a luxury boutique hotel. At first glance you only see traditional Norwegian log buildings with grass growing on the roof, stacks of firewood and old wooden skis. But as you step inside, a world of international design opens up.
The hosts have made every room an aesthetic journey by paying careful attention to every detail. The hotel offers five rooms and four suites. Each room is inspired by a different country: Canada, France, Iceland, the Netherlands and Sweden, and the suites are inspired by the cities of Rome, New York, Aspen and London. The Iceland room is brilliant white with decorative stones and reindeer skin rugs; the Rome suite has beautiful frescoes in the ceiling and is decorated with velvet, silk and mosaics; while the Aspen suite resembles a lodge in the ski resort of Aspen, Colorado, with a fireplace and deep leather chairs. The host couple have sourced the furniture, wallpaper and other decorative features and fixings on their travels.
“We have many regular guests who prefer to stay in a specific room,” says Marco, and that was always their intention. They would like people to visit their hotel specifically because of what it has to offer, not just to have a bed for the night. Guests come from all over the world, though most are Norwegian – people who want to stay somewhere nice and also take advantage of the natural beauty of Valdres and Jotunheimen.
Herangtunet Boutique Hotel also has an apartment available to let, and the hosts are always looking to develop and improve the retreat. Though they would like to build more rooms it is important to them that any extension should be sympathetic to the surroundings. They recently restored a four hundred year old house which they moved up to Herangtunet from Skammestein, ten kilometres away.
But the couple aren’t just focused on design, they also cook all the food themselves. Marie-José and Marco serve Norwegian food in their intimate restaurant, exquisite dishes steeped in tradition. The organic ingredients are locally sourced nearby, from the nearby butcher, baker and brewery. If you are an avid fisherman you can grill your own catch in the evening.
Marie-José and Marco wanted to give their guests the feeling of being on top of the world. It’s easy to feel that way standing beneath the starry sky on a winter’s evening. Pretty magical.