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Review: Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand, Norway—a Grand Tradition of Hospitality

Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

Kviknes Hotel—this tradition of hospitality at Balholm stretches back to 1752. The Kvikne family, who own the hotel, took over in 1877, marking the start of fast-paced development, which continues to this day. The hotel was built in the Swiss chalet style; the original character of the palace has been left unchanged despite several new buildings, rebuilding, and extensions.

Waterfront of Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

Kviknes is a modern hotel with soul and atmosphere, and is one of the largest tourist hotels in Norway. The hotel has 190 rooms: 25 rooms in the historic Swiss chalet-style building and 165 in the modern building from the 1960s (in the Late Modern style). The hotel has a long list of prominent guests and has amassed a collection of works of art and treasures that adorn the hotel and contribute to its unique style.

Distinctive Furniture and Fjord Views

Historic Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

Activities and special features: Fjaerland and Norwegian glacier museum, the Flam railway, the Naeroyfjord, magnificent walking terrain in the mountains. Beautiful biking and walking along the fjord. Free use of rowing boat and fishing gear, good bathing facilities for residents. The Aegir Bryggeri Pub & Microbrewery is in Flam.

Activities around Balestrand Kviknes Hotel

Balestrand’s Kviknes Hotel: Named “Best Historic Hotel of Europe by the Water 2014”

Kviknes Hotel - The Jewel of the Sognefjord

Kviknes Hotel is the classy Grande dame of Balestrand, dominating the town and packed with tour groups. The picturesque wooden hotel—and five generations of the Kvikne family—have welcomed tourists to Balestrand since the late 19th century.

Kviknes Hotel - Picturesque Wooden Hotel

The hotel has two parts: a new wing, and the historic wooden section, with 17 older, classic rooms, and no elevator. All rooms come with balconies. The elegant Old World public spaces in the old section make you want to just sit there and sip tea all afternoon.

Kviknes Hotel Balestrand - Swiss Chalet Style

Part of the Kviknes ritual is gorging on the store Koldtbord buffet dinner—open to non-guests, and a nice way to soak in the hotel’s old-time elegance without splurging on an overnight.

Balestrand Kviknes Hotel Buffet

Kviknes Hotel offers a splendid store Koldtbord buffet dinner in a massive yet stately old dining room. For a memorable fjord-side smorgasbord experience, it does not get any better than this. Do not rush.

Koldtbord Buffet at Kviknes Hotel

Consider taking a preview tour—surveying the reindeer meat, lingonberries, and fjord-caught seafood—before you dive in, so you can budget your stomach-space. Get a new plate with each course and save room for dessert. Each dish is labeled in English.

Old-fashioned Furniture and Fjord Views at Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand

After dinner, head into the rich lounge to pick up your cup of coffee or tea (included), which you will sip sitting on classy old-fashioned furniture and basking in fjord views.

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Balestrand’s Dragon Style or Swiss Chalet Style of Architecture

Dragon Motif and the Viking Protective Function

Located on the Norway’s most spectacular Sognefjorden fjord, Balestrand is small town that was named by Henrik Wergeland (1808–45), the Norwegian a poet and playwright, in 1832. Bale was the name of a farm here; in Old Norse this meant a ‘Grass-covered Field sloping down to the Sea’ with strand meaning ‘seashore.’

The Dragon Motif in Switzerland Style of Architecture

Surrounded by fjords, mountains, waterfalls and breathtaking panoramas, Balestrand was the adopted home of numerous 19th-century national romantic painters, whose paintings and presence contributed to an explosion in tourism—a vestige that continues to this day. Balestrand is perfectly situated for rest and relaxation as well as for exploring the surrounding area on the optional excursions.

Red Villa in Balestrand with Dragon Style or Switzerland Style

Switzerland Style is the name given to a way of building with heads of dragons and hallways which we find in many villas from the 1890s along the fjord in Balestrand. The architecture has very little to do with Switzerland. The villas are a result of an effort in trying to make a national style of architecture in wooden houses.

Dragon Heads Rising from the Gables in Balestrand Architecture

This architecture was inspired by old store houses on pillars, stave churches, and so on. The architect Karl Norum has drawn several of the houses, and they are mainly precut in Trondheim. By means of a catalog, the owner could order heads of dragons and other decorative elements according to taste.

Red Dragon-head Villas in Balestrand Architecture

Any visitor to Balestrand will be charmed by its setting and its welcoming locals eager to share the artistic history of their Nordic ecstasy. The famous white gingerbread Kviknes Hotel at water’s edge, the red dragon-head villas on the lane skirting the fjord, and the yellow and brown stave-like St. Olaf’s Church not only signify the architecture of the national romantic period but lend a fairy-tale ambiance to this quietly rolling patch of landscape thrust between mountains and sea.

Heads of Dragons in in Balestrand Architecture

Kviknes Hotel has been owned by the same family since 1877. You can opt for a more modern stay in the 1960s wing, but we’d endorse a room in the original building, parts of which date from 1752. There’s an old world charm to them with spectacular views over the water.

Architecture Along Fjord in Balestrand

In 1891, Eilert Normann built a summer home on the Sognefjord. This a red villa in what is called “dragon style” or “Switzerland style” borrowing a motif from the Vikings, with dragon heads rising from the gables.

Balestrand Dragon Style or Switzerland Style of Architecture

Normann was the first artist to build a house in this particular style, which became the prototype for the ones that came later. These houses created the special atmosphere of the town and were of great importance to tourism.

Dragon-like Heads and Serpentine Bodies in Norwegian Architecture

In Switzerland Style, the dragon motif is revived in an architectural context. The dragon symbol so often employed by the Vikings “had a protective function” that made it the ideal adornment for a shelter.

Dragon Motif is Revived in an Architectural Context in Norway

Creatures with dragon-like heads and serpentine bodies can be traced in Norway as early as the Bronze Age. They were well developed by the time of the Vikings, who carved them on their long boats, wagons, sleds, tents and beds. Later the dragon appeared on drinking vessels, at the portals of churches and in other places.

Architecture in Wooden Houses in Norway

The dragon heads jutting out from the gable peaks were typical of stave churches, and were adopted as an important symbol during the national romantic period, as Norway sought to assert its cultural identity.

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Sparkling Romance with Norway’s Historic Hotels & Restaurants

De Historiske is a unique membership organization consisting of several of Norway’s most delightful hotels and restaurants.

De Historiske’s new range of short breaks is a huge success and Norway is more popular as a holiday destination than ever before. Their member-hotels offer unique adventures in Norway. Patrons staying at a number of their hotels, dining in their fabulous restaurants and taking wonderful boat trips can all be part of an amazing package. They offer different packages—each with unique theme—but all have one thing in common—patrons will have an experience of a lifetime.

Destination Weddings in Norway

You and Your Loved One Can Really Spoil Yourselves

Two of the most romantic locations for memorable breaks. Enjoy delicious meals in idyllic, peaceful surroundings. This short break starts at Hotell Refsnes Gods, only a stone’s throw from the Oslofjord. The hotel has an excellent reputation for delicious dining and well-stocked wine cellars, in addition to the inspirational art adorning its walls. The good life continues in the magnificent natural surroundings of Engo Gard Hotel & Restaurant, with its English conservatory-style heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi for relaxation and pampering.

Take a break from the daily toil and feel the benefits!

Sparkling Romance with Norway's Historic Hotels & Restaurants

With Nature at the Doorstep, Work Becomes the Furthest Thing

Whether you want time to socialize with your friends or enjoy a romantic weekend, you’ll find the perfect escape at the hotels’ castles, manors, inns and guesthouses. Do you want to enjoy activities while relaxing, or just enjoy the peace? Regardless of the hotel, you can be sure to end up in scenic surroundings, with top restaurants where traditional food meets modern cuisine.

Weddings, Celebrations, Honeymoons, and Festive Occasions in Norway

Weddings, Celebrations & Festive Occasions That Deserve Special Surroundings

If you are looking to hold a birthday party in unique surroundings, spend a romantic honeymoon or celebrate an important occasion with a special culinary experience, De Historiske are your natural choice. The genuine atmosphere is the reason why many people choose to celebrate special occasions at De Historiske. De Historiske’s surroundings are perfect for creating the relaxed atmosphere that is worthy of an important day—whether a birthday or a wedding day. Celebrations can vary from evening parties to grand events lasting from morning to night. They can also recommend family get-togethers, where the generations meet, in many of Norway’s historic picturesque surroundings.

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