The view outside the windows; the boats sailing in and out of Brosundet and fishing vessels delivering their fresh catch, is the same as in the olden days. The biggest change has taken place on the inside of the window, in the chic hotel which used to be a warehouse.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Dag Lausund
Hotel Brosundet was previously used for storing klippfisk, salted and dried cod, which was an important and flourishing business in Ålesund. During the extensive restoration every effort was made to keep as much of the building’s original character as possible. Fishing and seafaring history is part of the fabric of the place, but it has now become a modern design hotel with continental flair. The past is present, but focus is on the future.
Today the hotel in Apotekergata is one of ten listed art noveau buildings in Ålesund, a town which is famous for its concentration of buildings in this style. The architecture may be more restrained here than on the Continent, but a walk through the town with eyes lifted upwards will reveal marvellous details, some inspired by Viking era designs.
The hotel’s 47 rooms are designed by Snøhetta architects, displaying the same respect for the building’s past here as in the rest of the hotel, but the rooms also have a modern design and live up to all expectations of comfort. In order to reach room 47, guests have to exit the building and take a walk along the quay. The last room is a lighthouse, Molja Fyr, marking the entrance to Ålesund from the sea. Line and Knut Flakk, who run the hotel, wanted a spectacular landmark for Brosundet, and negotiated a one hundred year lease with the council. The 150 year old lighthouse is no more than three metres in diameter and proved quite a challenge for architects as well as builders. They solved it brilliantly in the end, with an elegant bathroom downstairs and a round bedroom upstairs with a custom made bed where guests can lie and look out towards the island of Godøy and the Atlantic Ocean. The Hurtigruten coastal express glides past outside, and during storms and rough weather waves crash high up on the lighthouse walls.
The double rooms in the main hotel are individually designed and have views of the sea or Ålesund town centre. There are six junior suites and one 105 square metre suite with two double bedrooms, beautifully furnished with hand-picked artwork on the walls, a large sofa area and a dining table where guests can host small get-togethers. The hotel can also rent out a nice apartment in the centre of Ålesund or an idyllic guest house on the picturesque island of Giske, with wonderful views of the ocean and wild West Coast scenery just outside the window.
Catch of the day
The hotel is proud of its seafaring and fishing heritage, and today offer up the catch of the day in their famous seafood restaurant Maki, which is Japanese for “to the sea”. Just like in the past, they still base their dishes on the day’s catch from Sunnmøre. The kitchen prepares different tasting menus depending on the catch available to them, and guests can choose between a small or a large catch; four or six courses.
Brosundet Bar is just the place for a relaxed time and good conversation, for the hotel guests as well as the locals, and has a good selection of vintage wines, exquisite cognac, exciting cocktails and a wide variety of beer. The bar also offers a small snack menu, or how about trying Maki’s famous fish soup?