The light at the Helgeland coast is magical, and nature keeps changing between drama and stillness. The hosts at Vega Havhotell want to share the light, landscape and delicious food with their guests, give them something more than they’d expect.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: The Hotel
Vega Havhotell is surrounded by forest, mountains and sea at Viksås, on the northern side of the island of Vega. It was originally a convalescent home for artists, a place where they could live, relax and be inspired. When Anna and Jon Aga took over in 2002, a total renovation was on the cards. They started with five rooms and gradually increased it to the 21 they offer today.
Hospitality and world heritage
Sunshine glitters on the many small panes of glass in the windows of the low, yellow houses with turf on the roof. The hotel exudes warmth and hospitality, a good atmosphere created by care, quality and personality. Anna and Jon take good care of their guests and always welcome them with a warm handshake. Nobody should have to press a button to get coffee here – there is always someone on hand to refill your cup with a smile and a kind word.
Most people might associate Vega and the Helgeland coast with sun and bright summer nights, but Anna and Jon have a steady stream of visitors all year round. This green island in the Atlantic has a lot to offer no matter what time of year and no matter what guests want to do. Some guests come to find peace and relax in the impressive landscape, others want to visit Ylvingen, a nearby island used in a TV series called Himmelblå – a production which finally pulled the Helgeland coast out from Lofoten’s shadow. Besides Vega has been on the UNESCO world heritage site list since 2004, which means the area is also attracting a lot of world heritage tourists. Life on the approximately 6,500 islands and holmes in the municipality goes on more or less the way it always has done.
A happy kitchen
Food and drink is a big part of the overall hotel experience, and Anna and Jon Aga are very aware of it. They think the taste should be excellent, and please the eye too, so guests want to stay at the table. They won’t achieve that by just putting the food on the table, but by showing they care about their guests. Maybe they’ll even be told the recipe for that meal they liked so much …
Jon Aga and his expert kitchen team create dishes inspired by modern classic cuisine, built on continental and Norwegian food traditions. To them, food isn’t an art form, but a craft. Many of the ingredients come from local Vega and Helgeland suppliers: beef and cured meats, potatoes and vegetables, herbs and flowers, fish and shellfish, even cheeses are all locally sourced. There is real world heritage lamb for traditional salted ribs, and local hunters supply moose and venison, duck and goose. The five course menu is created from scratch every day depending on the produce available.
Décor from the sea
The hotel has 21 rooms including two suites, with a total of 52 beds. None of the rooms have a TV, but all have binoculars ready to use. In all the rooms as well as in the building there are decorative details from the sea and fishing, such as shells, nets and crab traps. On the walls are photographs by local Vega photographer Roald Kluge.
Vega Havhotell also has a large conference room and a well stocked wine cellar.
The hosts want their guests to have good and lasting memories from their stay at Vega, and do what they can to give each of them an experience beyond the ordinary.