In the year 2000 Haaheim Gaard was an overgrown disused farmstead with no electricity and an outside toilet. Nine years later Torstein Hatlevik opened a farm restaurant in the basement and started offering accommodation. It has since been expanded and become a popular travel destination.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Thor Brødreskift
In 2011 he opened a new restaurant building in a Swiss style villa with a rose garden and farm shop which was an instant success. Torstein Hatlevik has completely changed the perception of what farm tourism can be, according to representatives from Innovasjon Norge when Hatlevik received a national rural development award in 2011.
Haaheim Gaard is situated near Uggdal on the island of Tysnes near Hardanger, with the island of Stord protecting it from the open sea. All rooms are decorated in traditional style. You can take a bath in a lion claw tub with herbs or rose petals, enjoy the view of the beautiful garden and the shore, and wake to the smell of freshly baked bread from the stone oven. No wonder Haaheim has been voted one of Norway’s most romantic hotels! That is also the reason it is a popular choice for weddings and celebrations of life’s other big events. The delightful rose garden is an oasis of scent and colour where guests can wander along narrow paths between hundreds of rose and rhododendron bushes. In the garden there is also a small summer house, and in the Blue Garden a small chapel. On balmy summer evenings lanterns are lit in the orchard, and when the hosts serve champagne in the garden or on one of the terraces it is a delight for all senses.
The main restaurant at Haaheim Gaard is very luxurious, with white damask table cloths, linen napkins, candles in elegant candelabras and abundant flower arrangements – often from their own garden. The hotel gardener grows herbs and vegetables to serve to the guests. The kitchen has no set menu but serve a choice of meals every day based on the best produce available, and this can consist of three, five or seven courses. They also have a very special tasting menu – a whole evening with many smaller dishes which create a delicious culinary journey through local flavours.
The restaurant has several rooms available and can cater for a total of 120 guests with up to 64 seated in the same room, and the hotel gets many diners from the local area who come for a lovely meal and to enjoy the unique and cosy atmosphere.
But Torstein Hatlevik still has plans to expand further. A few years ago he also bought an old trading post at Uggdalseide, which he intends to restore to its former glory. There used to be a dairy, post office, bakery, steamship landing stage and village shop there, and Hatlevik is creating a gastropub.
Haaheim Gaard also serve food in the bakery, where the stone oven is the main feature. The room is welcoming and rustic with wood, stone and brick interior. Locals and visitor enjoy dropping by to have lunch, maybe some cheese and cured meats, soup with freshly baked bread from the stone oven or just have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.
You will also find a small farm shop here, selling their own products and produce from local manufacturers, for instance apple cider from Hardanger, local cheeses and jams made at Haaheim.
Torstein and his sisters Silje and Rollaug have bought some old houses at their home village at Espevær, half an hour’s drive from Haaheim. One was the local post office from 1848 to 1981, and is now the Gamleposten 5444 eatery celebrating local traditions and flavours, local history and real food appreciation.
During the summer season there are concerts and lectures at the hotel, and they have arranged opera and rose festivals, amongst other things.
At Haaheim Gaard you can create memories for life.