THE BØLGEN & MOI HOTEL UTSIKTEN
Bølgen & Moi Hotel Utsikten is so much more than a hotel. It’s a destination. A place where you can feel at home, where you can use the hotel any way you like. A place to play golf, experience art and culture, enjoy good meals and drink good wine. A place to be.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Marianne Ramstad Malone
The hotel perches on a hill with a magnificent view of Kvinesdal, Fedafjord and a glimpse of the sea in the distance. It’s been more than 20 years since sommelier Toralf Bølgen and chef Trond Moi opened their first restaurant together, and more have followed. In 2015 they took over the hotel in Trond Moi’s home town and brought their successful restaurant concept with them. The two hosts are passionate about promoting all the wonders of Kvinesdal, serving up not only locally sourced food and good wine, but also art and culture, plus one of Norway’s most spectacular 18 hole golf courses is just around the corner.
It is – and is supposed to be – a different hotel. A hotel that strives to fulfil as many of the guests’ needs as possible, whether it’s good food, a comfortable bed, peace and quiet to work, art and culture, nature experiences and activities. This is where it all happens.
The hotel was originally built as Norway’s first and biggest motel with a petrol station and fast-food snack bar. The owners, like most others in Kvinesdal, had ties to the US and brought the idea of a motel from there. The couple who owned it, ran it and sold it still visit regularly, says manager Per Kristian Nystad with a smile. The hostess Kate Egeland is often heard by the pinball machine in the evenings while her husband Steinar still comes around to shovel snow. A ghost or two is only to be expected in a hotel where the owners want the mood to be a bit bonkers, where it’s not too stiff or formal, but where guests are allowed to go a bit mad …
The hotel has a total of 85 rooms, 24 are suites with a balcony and fully equipped kitchen. There are also four self-catering apartments with six beds, five conference rooms and no fewer than three helipads for offshore companies who use the hotel. There is also an amphitheatre for concerts with an audience of up to 500 – or a wedding.
The name Bølgen & Moi is synonymous with quality. The people of Kvinesdal would probably prefer Trond Moi to be in the kitchen permanently, but even when he isn’t diners can still enjoy his culinary creations. The hotel chef conjures up delicious dishes made with meat, fish and seafood from local suppliers and the nearby butcher’s, and makes burgers from scratch in the kitchen. The hotel baker makes all breads and baked goods, the hotel herb garden provides flavour for chefs and guests, the orchard has a wide variety of Norwegian berries and fruits and jams and other conserves are made in the traditional kitchen.
Utsikten hotel has become renowned for its Sunday buffet, which diners travel far to enjoy. They serve between two and three hundred people every Sunday, locals as well as hotel guests. For the popular food and wine courses, Toralf Bølgen and Trond Moi come to tell participants of the importance of finding the perfect combination of food and drink.
Besides food and wine, art and golf are major parts of the hotel business. The old Utsikten Hotell was an important venue in Kvinesdal and cultural events often took place at the hotel as well as in Marcelius Førland’s artist’s residence a stone’s throw away. The council wanted to keep this public meeting place and now own and run Utsikten Art centre. The hotel has developed its own cultural menu and art is a part not only of the hotel but of the surrounding area too. Hotell Utsikten is the first in Norway to offer their own art channel in every room.
The hotel also has a golf simulator so guests can practice and prepare for Utsikten Golf Club. Around the turn of the millennium the golf club, the council and local businesses got together and opened a golf course with unique natural features which are set to be refined and matured in the years to come, just like the hotel, the art centre, the food and wine.