Royal guests, British mountaineering pioneers, city ladies on a weekend break, navvies and nobles; they are all a part of boutique hotel Villa Norangdal’s exciting history.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Anne Jorun Sæten
When the small hotel was built in 1885 it received a 40 NOK contribution from the Norwegian Trekking Association to buy plates and cutlery. When the mountaineers started coming to the area, led by the legendary William Slingsby, they made the wooden hotel their base. Many prominent guests visited the hotel and at one point no less than 125 coachmen with horses and carriages were transporting the tourists through Norangdalen.
The hotel was closed in 1965. Then local girl Iris Fivelstad bought the old hotel at auction, refurbished it inside and out and it reopened 2007 it as the oldest wood built hotel in the district.
Today it has a unique décor and feel with international design mixed with genuine Sunnmøre furniture classics like the Langlo wicker chairs and the original Stressless reclining chair. A wander around the house is like a journey through design history from 1900s art nouveau via art deco in the 1920s and 30s to 1950s Scandinavian design and 1960s space age style. Iris wanted her hotel to stand out and decided to decorate the six double rooms in the style of different 20th century decades. Each room contains local and international design icons from the era they represent. The gentleman’s room from 1930 was inspired by a Japanese prince who visited Norangsdalen in that decade. The chair in the room was designed by Mies van der Rohe for the world exhibition in Barcelona in 1929, while the matching head and foot board was custom made for Villa Norangdal by Stranda Møbler furniture maker.
In 2010 the hostess was awarded Olavsrosa, Norwegian Cultural Heritage’s seal of quality, and in 2015 she was awarded the Optimist prize by the Geirangerfjord World Heritage association.
Local and international
The dining room can seat 30 guests and serves what they call “glocal” food: local produce prepared to global recipes with international trimmings and specially chosen wines. The kitchen is happy to prepare vegetarian, gluten or lactose free dishes or cater to any other special dietary requirements, so just ask.
After a lovely meal guests can relax in the cosy lounge with an open fireplace – or perhaps the garden or terrace is more tempting. There is also an outdoor jacuzzi, the perfect place to sit and savour the moment and enjoy the view to Kvitegga mountain and the dramatic Sunnmøre alps.
The hostess is quite clear about the fact that the hotel is best suited to an adult audience.
Villa Norangdal is in a fantastic location with many options for outdoor activities. Visitors who aren’t tempted by the mountains or the fjord can try a Rural Norway Revisited experience – the hosts are happy to recommend the best coffee bars, exhibitions, shopping and architecture in the area. One place that deserves a visit is Hellesylt Boutique & Bar, located in a converted bookstore run by the first bookseller at Hellesylt, Anna Hellesylt. She sold books in many international languages, a tradition the hosts want to preserve today. However they have given it a twist and promote Norwegian contemporary literature in Norwegian and international languages. They also arrange cultural events in the coffee bar, and sell second hand books, guidebooks, maps and coffee from local coffee roasters. They also sell modern souvenirs because they want to give their guests a flavour of contemporary Norwegian design.
In other words; Villa Norangdal offers a holiday Mountainpolitan Style.