Hotel Union Øye
They have all stayed here: Kaiser Wilhelm and Queen Vilhelmina, Queen Maud and King Haakon, Karen Blixen, Knut Hamsun, Fridtjof Nansen, Edvard Grieg and Henrik Ibsen. Hotel Union Øye opened its doors to a distinguished clientele in 1891.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: 62 Nord
Hotel Union Øye with its beautiful Swiss style façade lies at the end of Norangsfjord, in the small village of Øye, surrounded by the majestic Sunnmøre alp. The hotel celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, and can look back on a history with many prominent visitors. From the very beginning the hotel became an attractive destination for Europe’s upper classes, thanks to the wild and beautiful Sunnmøre landscape. At the hotel they could live the good life in stately surroundings, eat well and enjoy the peace and quiet in the magnificent rural area. Kaiser Wilhelm was a particularly frequent guest, he regularly sailed to Norway in his impressive ship Hohenzollern. He liked to visit the beautiful Norwegian fjords, and Hotel Union Øye was one of his favourite places.
Today the hotel appears just as fashionable as it was in its glory days. In the evening guests gather in the elegant lounges with crackling fires and glittering chandeliers; there are ceiling paintings, grand mirrors and elaborately carved chairs.
Outside is the hotel garden with large trees providing shade, a wealth of beautiful flowers and small seating areas. Everything is quiet apart from the barely audible rush of the mighty waterfalls cascading into the Norangsfjord.
The blue room
The hotel has 27 grand rooms, all individually decorated and furnished with specially chosen antiques. The hosts have also made a conscious decision not to install telephones, TV or radio in any of the rooms.
None of the guest rooms are the same, apart from one thing: all of them have a stately four poster bed. Each room has been inspired by and named after famous people who have stayed at the hotel through the ages.
“The blue room”, however, is different. It is associated with the hotel ghost Linda, a story that goes back to the 1890s. A count in Kaiser Wilhelm’s entourage fell in love with local beauty Linda, who worked at the hotel. He was unhappily married in Germany, but since a divorce was out of the question, he chose to take his own life. Linda was out of her mind with grief and couldn’t live without the count, and in the end she joined him in death. From that day on people have heard Linda wandering around in the halls of the hotel.
Doors open and close, there are sounds of footsteps and weeping when no one is around. One guest asked where the speakers were …
Manager Mariann Øye-Mork isn’t worried about the hotel ghost; she acknowledges that it could have a certain marketable value, and she doesn’t scare easily. “The guests either want to stay at The Blue Room,” she says, “or they definitely won’t!”
Architectural Digest magazine, which consider themselves as an international authority on design and architecture, voted Hotel Union Øye one of Norway’s most stylish fjord hotel in 2015 along with amongst others Juvet Landskapshotell in Valldal, Hotel Brosundet in Ålesund, Storfjord Hotel in Glomset and Manshausen in Steigen.