A fairy tale at Krokskogen
Up and up we go through Krokskogen, the kingdom of fairy tale collector and writer Jørgen Moe, on our way to Kleivstua Hotell, a veritable fairy tale castle high above.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Richard Ashton
The road snakes steeply upwards and a quick glance out of the car window reveals a glimpse of Tyrifjord, Steinsfjord and the beautiful Ringerike landscape far below. Jørgen Moe came from nearby Hole, so many of the Norwegian stories and fairy tales have taken shape here. Few other places have inspired as many writers and painters as Krokskogen. Artists flocked to Hole and Ringerike county from the middle of the 1800s, when national romanticism swept the country.
Kleivstua was originally a summer farm built around 1780. When tourists started travelling over Krokskogen, the demand for food and lodging increased, and in 1807 the farm was converted into a coaching inn and later into a tourist hotel. Today it is a part of Knut Kloster’s The GreatLife network of traditional hotels and venues and a popular location for conferences, courses, meetings and private events. During the week conference and course guests dominate the hotel, but at the weekend party guests in their finery fill the rooms and lounges at beautiful Kleivstua. The hotel also welcomes private bookings.
A wine and food fairy tale
The hotel consists of 18 houses and cabins with a total of 42 rooms situated between green slopes, a trout lake, huge stone planters brimming with flowers and several outside spaces with benches and tables. Here participants at courses can find new inspiration and let their thoughts flow freely. During wedding ceremonies guests can enjoy the magnificent surroundings and fresh air. The hotel is only a 45 minute drive from Oslo, but still has the feeling of being far into the remote countryside and high up in the forests. Kleivstua can accommodate a 5 person meeting just as well as a wedding with 130 guests. The stabbur or storehouse, one of the oldest buildings on the site, is now a conference room, and in the most recent building, Villa Utsikten, there are meeting and function rooms. There are a total of eight conference rooms accommodating groups of four or five up to 80 people. The restaurant can set tables with white table cloths and silver candelabras for 130 diners, or for a more informal atmosphere the old wooden tables can be left uncovered. In one of the lounges with open fireplaces there is an option of setting smaller tables. No matter where you choose to eat, the generous servings of delicious traditional Norwegian food will be cooked with local produce. The kitchen will always choose the best ingredients – potatoes and peas from Ringerike, and game, mushrooms and berries from Krokskogen are always on the menu while they are in season.
The charming rooms are all carefully renovated and can accommodate up to 96 guests. The buildings are kept in the same style and the rooms are painted in different colours – yellow, turquoise, pink. Lace curtains cover the windows and the walls are decorated with family photographs and pictures of the surrounding landscapes.
As one guest so eloquently put it: One visit will never be enough to take it all in, you could stay here for days … All the rooms are of course named after Jørgen Moe’s stories, and Kleivstua is a fairy tale in itself with food and wine and a long history within the old timber walls.