Geilo Mountain Lodge: Traditional luxury in the midst of the mountains
By Eva-Kristin U. Pedersen
If you want to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Norwegian mountains, Geilo Mountain Lodge is the place to go. Set in the picturesque Hallingdal Valley, the luxurious yet cosy lodge has been welcoming guests since 1917.
Picture yourself in a Chesterfield chair in front of the fireplace, reading a book and having a drink after a long day of skiing. Outside the snow is falling but the wooden lodge is saturated by warmth and feels protective, cosy, and incredibly relaxing. Later you join your spouse for a traditional gourmet dinner, prepared with the finest of local ingredients, before, finally, with a satisfied sigh you dive into your bed under soft, cloud-like Norwegian duvets unparalleled anywhere in the world. You are at Geilo Mountain Lodge.
Geilo Mountain Lodge, situated in the village of Geilo in Hallingdal, is a historic destination for mountain tourists from across Norway and abroad. Having welcomed guests since 1917, it is the perfect getaway for anyone keen to enjoy the majestic Norwegian mountains but also relax in luxurious yet familiar and warm surroundings. This unique and hidden gem is also a proud member of “De Historiske” – The Historic Hotels of Norway.
“We have two national parks outside our doorstep, Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda, and the lodge is the perfect spot from which to explore both,” says Jan Soløy, owner of Geilo Mountain Lodge.
Hardangervidda is Europe’s largest high-mountain plateau while Hallingskarvet, which is slightly closer, is known for its rugged mountains, steep cliffs, and captivating wildlife which includes arctic foxes.
A night at the “Hallinghi” and other activities
While the main lodge is situated in the centre of Geilo, close to the railway that crosses the mountains, the property also includes a hunting lodge at Ustaoset called the “Hallinghi”.
At the “Hallinghi”, you are embedded in nature. The plateau stretches out in front of you, there is nothing else in sight than mountains and lakes – and Hardangerjøkulen, one of Norway’s largest glaciers.
“We often take guests to Ustaoset, either to spend the night or on day trips,” Soløy explains.
The staff at Geilo Mountain Lodge organises a range of activities for their guests, throughout the year. During the winter, guided cross-country skiing trips are a must as are snowshoe expeditions. Both include bonfire lunches. Another popular activity is dog sledding – gliding over the white landscape, pulled by a pack of incredible Alaskan huskies. You can also try your skills on a fat bike on ski trails, try ice fishing, or hit the slopes on the nearby descents.
In the fall and summer, popular outings include hiking trips in the surrounding mountains, fishing in mountain waters, and exploring Geilo. The village has a lot to offer, including farm tourism and visits to local award-winning cheese producers. Many people are not aware that Norwegian cheese producers have won several awards, including gold in this year’s Cheese World Championship. Geilo is home to several of this new generation of Norwegian cheese-makers.
Whenever you choose to come, proximity to nature is guaranteed.
Soløy explains that during the winter, guests can combine ice bathing in Ustevatn Lake with a spell of sauna time in a sauna set right by the water. The thrill of the ice-cold water and the steaming hot sauna is a treasured experience for many – and one with proven health benefits.
In the summer, Ustevatn is a beautiful place for a refreshing swim.
Traditional luxury yet intimate and warm
Because of its history and style (Geilo Mountain Lodge is built in the traditional English luxury style typical of the 1920s), in the past, it was a challenge to attract younger clients, but that is changing now.
“More and more younger couples, 30 or 35 years old, come to spend some time here, often for romantic weekends in the mountains. It seems that the authentic, the intimate and the old is increasingly inspiring and captivating, also among the younger generations”, he says.
Regardless of the guests’ age, “intimate” is a good word to describe what awaits them at Geilo Mountain Lodge. The hotel only has eight rooms, divided between double rooms and suites with several bedrooms and bathrooms.
Soløy and his family also live at the property, and they greet every guest at the door and engage with them throughout their stay.
“This is not a cold and distant type of hotel. We embrace a new type of luxury that rests on personal attention and contact, while also maintaining the highest standards,” he stresses.
In a setting like this, what cannot be lacking is a cuisine that meets the same standard. At Geilo Mountain Lodge, the delicious food is traditional and locally sourced, including vegetables from a local farm, mountain trout, and game; in short, anything that the surrounding nature supplies, including handpicked berries such as cloudberries.
“We call it mountain gourmet”, Soløy smiles.
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