Hotel Kong Carl
Not only one of Norway’s oldest hotels, but an institution in Sandefjord town, “the King”, as the townspeople call Hotel Kong Carl, has welcomed thousands of guests from near and far for generations. Locals have celebrated their big days here, and travellers have found a good bed for the night.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Kristin Levy
The main house, Sandefjord’s oldest wooden building, was built around 1690. In 1720 the Danish merchant Ole Simensen Calundan bought the building as a home for himself and his family, but by 1721 it was already in use as a guest house. The house was then bought and sold several times until a restauranteur from the Nordenfjeldske shipping company, Koldevin Andresen, rented the hotel in 1918 before buying it two years later. The contract included two horses with full equipment, harnesses and carts. The hotel had a stables where the side building is today, and horses were tended while their owners slept above. At one time the hotel also kept pigs which they fattened up with leftovers from the restaurant.
For three generations Kong Carl was owned by the Andresen family, who in 2006 sold it to Eric Sandtrø and Charlotte Bollerud. In January 2016 Morten and Camilla Christensen bought 50% of the property and took over the running of the stately hotel, located right in the centre of Sandefjord town. One of the first things Morten did, was to reopen the kitchen which had been closed for many years. This meant they could once more welcome parties into the cosy, old lounges with tables set for a celebration under glittering chandeliers. As a member of the Unike hoteller group the kitchen also wants the food experience they offer to be unique, and they only use the best produce available. The food is a combination of French gourmet and traditional Norwegian recipes with carefully selected wines to accompany each dish.
Intimate and informal
Kong Carl is a hotel with soul and charm; it has no long, standardised corridors, but a labyrinth of narrow halls with a cosy creak. The original style has been well preserved with period furniture, completely in keeping Unike hoteller’s philosophy; aiming to preserve as much of the original atmosphere as possible and at the same time offer all the comfort and service a modern hotel guest should expect. The atmosphere is intimate and informal, and the walls are decorated with historic pictures from old Sandefjord and the hotel through the ages. The pictures are a reminder of the time when Sandefjord was a whaling town and the hotel was a meeting place for whalers when they came back after months at sea. The name of the hotel could be a small tribute to well loved king King Carl IV, who visited the hotel 150 years ago.
The hotel has a bar and a lounge with an open fireplace on the first floor. It has a total of 32 rooms, each with its own unique character. The oldest and finest are the junior suite and the superior rooms, dating back to 1690. The smaller rooms in the wing all have different styles and colour schemes. Several of the rooms were upgraded in 2012, but another round of redecoration is on the cards under Morten Christensen’s skilful supervision.
On each side of the proud timber building is a nice courtyard and a green garden, the perfect place for a garden party, breakfast, a cup of coffee or maybe a glass of wine on a bright summer’s evening. That is after all what we associate with Sandefjord; holiday idyll and lazy days.