Norway’s westernmost hotel is opening this weekend, facing the open sea at Værlandet – offering both extreme weather and extreme calm.
A few miles off the Norwegian west coast, at the Bulandet and Værlandet archipelago, the country’s westernmost hotel is due to open this weekend: Værlandet havhotell. “The first thing that greets you on the ferry pier is a sign that says ‘Sjå deg ikkje attende’ (Do not look back). This is a place where you can come and leave everything else behind. The ferry is gone and you have nowhere to go, says managing director Lena Innbjør Riisnes to Visit Norway.
“It may feel stressful to some, but really it’s mostly liberating and calming. There’s no bus to rush to,” she says. Værlandet, with the Bulandet archipelago further west, has a total of about 450 residents, with a school, chapel, an active fishing village, narrow roads, and two supermarkets. It’s a small, yet thriving island community that has always been exposed to the sea, and to the powers of nature.
“It’s part of the experience that it’s rough and open and a little windy. Even on a nice and quiet day, there’s a little wind, and you always have the sound of the sea. It’s really serene,” says Riisnes. Summer is coming, and the islands will be idyllic indeed. But the hotel is going to be a year-round destination, attracting “storm tourists” in winter.
“We get some extreme storms, occasionally, and that’s an experience. In winter we get a different kind of travellers, and go out with good clothes and some weights in our pockets so we don’t fly away with the wind,” says Riisnes, half jokingly. The new hotel is designed by Arki Architects in Førde, the nearby town on the mainland. It will be completed just in time for a May 1 opening.
“The construction is quiet in the sense that it’s not tall and flamboyant, but low and safe. The façade is robust and rough, so that it will wear down and become more and more like a weathered boathouse. We didn’t want it to be flashing and twinkling and too polished, but rather rough and raw, just like the nature”. The first construction stage consists of eight unites, each with a private balcony and a unique interior.
“At the balcony you’re practically standing in the ocean. You get the spray up there on a good day,” says Riisnes.
Værlandet havhotell opens May 1.