Norway’s oldest family run hotel is an attraction in itself. Walaker Hotell is surrounded by mighty mountains and looks out over beautiful Sognefjord.
Text: Edda Espeland / Translation: Linda Vikaune / Photo: Kristin Levy
In summer, when the lilacs and fruit trees are in full bloom in the hotel’s idyllic garden, when the scent of roses intoxicate the senses and the fjord lies still as a mirror, there is only one thing to do: sit back in one of the comfortable garden chairs and enjoy it all. The hotel garden is a romantic oasis where the soul can rest.
Heritage and tradition
The hotel has belonged to the Nitter Walakers since 1690 and is more than 375 years old. The Nitter family originally came from Scotland, but one of them made his fortune as a shopkeeper on the Norwegian West coast. Christen Nitter, who would become the founder of what is now Walaker Hotell Gjestgivargarden, grew up in nearby Sogn. He had seven children, and his youngest son Ludvig took over the business. The hotel then passed from generation to generation, and today’s hosts are the ninth generation Nitter descendants. All have been passionate about keeping the family heritage alive, and although the tenth generation, Theodor, is only ten years old, the family are hopeful that he will take over in time.
The main building can be traced back to 1630-1650, when there was a coaching inn and tavern on the site. Today there are seven guest rooms in the building, all historical and furnished with stately antiques, old style wallpaper and classical bathrooms in the English style. In Tingstova, built in 1630 and the oldest part of the hotel, there are four unique guest rooms representing four different style eras.
The most recent addition to Walaker was built in 1964 and houses the superior rooms, large and comfortable, all with a small outside space with garden furniture.
To mark their three hundred year anniversary in 1990 they opened the Gallery Walaker art gallery in the old barn behind the hotel. Exhibitions can spread over three storeys, and through the years works by well known Norwegian artists like Knut Rumhor, Kjell Nupen, Nico Widerberg, Ørnulf Opdahl, Inger Sitter, Tina Tobiassen and Rolf Nerli have graced its walls.
A taste of Sogn
The interest in and demand for local and untravelled food is stronger than ever, and Walaker Hotell can count themselves lucky that they are situated in the Indre Sogn. The whole area is like a big, delicious banquet of fish, Norway lobster and other shellfish from the fjord, deer from the mountain, and fruit, berries, honey, vegetables and herbs from the valley. And those are just a taste of the many delicacies the kitchen has available for their menu every day.
The hotel offers a four course menu with wine, served in the restaurant in the main building every day – one of the highlights of the day. In the summer the hotel recommends guests book their meals beforehand, as the restaurant is usually full.
Every day starts with the smell of freshly made coffee and bread straight from the oven, and for breakfast they serve jam made from berries and plums from their own garden. No wonder the guests find complete relaxation here, it would be hard not to … The hard part is packing to leave the charming little palace by the fjord, with its delicious meals and welcoming hosts.