Gudbrandsgard Hotell: experience a real Norwegian fairytale
By Celina Tran | Photos: Gudbrandsgard Hotell
Tucked away in the iconic ski resort, Kvitfjell, in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, Gudbrandsgard Hotel has, amongst so many other highlights, a particularly cosy fireplace calling your name on a cold winter night. With an impeccable offering of food, wine, a blazing fireplace and some serious ‘hygge’, the hotel is ready to offer its best Christmas yet.
In the middle of Norway’s stunning Gudbrandsdalen valley, Gudbrandsgard Hotell lies beneath a blanket of snow. Upon entering through the wooden front door, guests are greeted by the crackling warmth of the fireplace, as well as endless opportunities for rest, leisure – but also adrenaline-filled adventure.
“People instantly relax once they come through our doors. The smell of the wood, the dark lumber walls and the cosy atmosphere take away every single worry from the outside world. You’re simply present,” says Ulrica Hammerseng, sales manager at Gudbrandsgard Hotell.
Hammerseng describes Gudbrandsgard as classically Norwegian in every sense, retaining the feeling of ‘hygge’ through their traditional design with a luxurious, modern and cosy approach. “We provide comfort and luxury, without the overwhelming pretentiousness. We place great importance on our guests feeling comfortable, at home and relaxed,” says Hammerseng.
Inspired by the fantasy castles of the Norwegian folk fairy tales gathered by collectors Asbjørnsen and Moe, the hotel rooms are furnished in a traditional and evocative Norwegian style, using deep, rich colours to complement the natural wooden walls and furniture. Meanwhile, its windows provide a view like no other. “From the hotel’s position at the so-called ‘mid station’, which is 740 metres above sea level, we get a magnificent view,” says Hammerseng.
If you take the chair lift to the top, however, you’ll be met by an unrivalled view of Jotunheimen National Park in the north-west, Dovrefjell in the north and the Rondane National Park in the north-east. The view, along with the endless snow, makes Gudbrandsgard Hotell this year’s perfect winter destination, especially for those travelling by train from Oslo Airport.
“In December, the trains are going to start stopping in the middle of the ski area, which is great!” she says. “We are more than happy to accommodate and provide baggage transportation so that our guests arriving by public transportation can simply put on their skis and get on the ski lift right away, enjoying a few rounds before checking in.”
Kvitfjell: a flurry of fun
Positioned in the middle of the ski resort Kvitfjell, guests at Gudbrandsgard Hotell can spend their days enjoying a range of activities. Right outside their doors is an outdoor area that offers both steep and gentle slopes, accommodating adrenaline-seeking adventurers, young families and beginners. The hotel is located in the middle of the mountain, on the historical eastern shoulder of Kvitfjell. “All you have to do is put on your ski equipment of choice and open the door,” says Hammerseng.
For those who prefer more gentle terrain, there are numerous cross-country tracks that allow you to breathe in the crisp afternoon air and float through the snow at your own pace, all while enjoying the scenic view. “It is surrounded by lots of natural space, so skiers or hikers can take a break whenever and wherever they want,” says Hammerseng.
Though there is a guarantee of snow during the winter season, guests at Gudbrandsgard Hotell do not need to fret if rushing to the slopes is not their cup of tea. The hotel has a bright and pleasant fitness centre for those who wish to work out indoors. For those who are looking for a more relaxed experience, the hotel has wellness options such as a pool, jacuzzies and saunas, as well as relaxing spa treatments and massages, offering everything from hot-stone treatments to therapeutic massages.
Ski, wine and dine
What better way to end a long day in the mountains than with the perfect meal? Gudbrandsgard Hotell offers a variety of gastronomy, from savoury three-course dinners at restaurant Gildestua, to rustic specialties and Saturday gourmet dinners, as well as steakhouse-specialties or events at restaurant Prepperiet.
“For the main course, Gildestua offers a vegetarian, a pescatarian or a meat option, as well as options for children. We always make sure to accommodate allergies, so there is always something for everyone here,” says Hammerseng.
She adds that Prepperiet also features a monthly Chef’s Table, in which chefs or guest chefs prepare and celebrate culinary experiences and game specialties, such as game food or Asian street food, depending on the season.
In addition to restaurants, the hotel has a bar in the lobby, as well as a ski bar located at the bottom of the terrace, providing a cosy space to take a break throughout the busy day. “The ski bar also hosts a pianist every weekend, who helps guests fall into a merry and relaxed mode of ‘dolce far niente’; the art of ‘doing sweet nothing.’”
Hammerseng says that the real hidden gem is not a restaurant nor a bar, but the hotel’s charming wine cellar with over 150 different labels. The main emphasis is on Tuscany and Piemonte, as well as influences from the St. Emilion district. “The wine cellar can be booked for an atmospheric wine-tasting event for smaller groups from six to 24 guests,” she says.
A fairytale Christmas
Following a pandemic that changed travelling as we know it, Gudbrandsgard Hotell is excited to welcome guests back for the best Christmas yet. “We’ve especially had the children in mind this year. There will be plenty of activities like ‘Santa-sledding’, campfires on the terrace, and a Christmas-themed arts and crafts evening. Perhaps, if we’re all good, there will even be a visit from Santa,” Hammerseng says with a wink.
That is not to say that child-free adults and parents won’t enjoy the festive season. Hammerseng says that there be an excellent new year’s celebration with vibrant fireworks. “We look forward to welcoming our guests for Christmas this year,” she says. “Whether it’s winter, autumn or any other season, we are doing our utmost to ensure that our guests have the very best experience regardless of interest in hiking or skiing. Our goal is that they leave with happy memories.”
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