Glancing out on the blue ripples of the famous Geirangerfjord, Hotel Union Geiranger is like a castle straight out of a fairytale. Seeped in history, the hotel looks to provide its guests with a unique experience filled with culture, luxury, and comfort.

During summer and the holidays, the big, bustling cities can feel loud and crowded. Escape the blazingly-hot concrete jungle and travel to the heart of Geiranger, a small town in Norway where Hotel Union Geiranger lies. The Swiss-chalet-inspired, family-owned hotel was established in 1891 and has since gone through several renovations and expansions to become the perfect staycation spot it is today.

Hotel Union Geiranger: Enjoy a luxury stay with a UNESCO World Heritage Site on your doorstep

Sindre Mjelva is the fourth-generation owner of the hotel, which he manages with his wife, Monja Muren Mjelva. The couple took over the family business from his parents in 2001 and have been running it ever since, putting their own mark on the family history.

“When it first was established in 1891, the hotel was only open to guests in the summer. Nowadays, the hotel is open year-round and features, among other things, three restaurants and spa facilities with luxurious rooms and spa suites,” says Sindre.

Along with generations of excellent service, spa treatments, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the doorstep, the hotel offers various culinary experiences and boasts a diverse wine cellar. Should you choose to take your meal at the hotel’s buffet Restaurant Fjorden, à la carte Restaurant Julie or Kafé Løsta, chances are that you’re enjoying seasonal ingredients from the local area.

Hotel Union Geiranger: Enjoy a luxury stay with a UNESCO World Heritage Site on your doorstep

An adventure to last generations

Sindre explains that his great-grandmother, Julie Soug Mjelva, worked as a manager at a large hotel in Åndalsnes in the late 1800s, a rarity for women at the time. His great-grandfather, Karl Mjelva, drove guests to the hotel where she worked, and soon, there was love in the air.

“After they got together, they moved to Geiranger where Julie had seen Hotel Union up for sale. They were able to purchase it with her inheritance, and the rest is history,” says Sindre. “Later on, Julie Mjelva actually helped establish Norsk Hotellfagskole – the Norwegian Hotel Vocational School.”

Since his great-grandparents bought the hotel in 1899, Sindre says that it’s been through several renovations and extensions to both modernize and safeguard the building.

“My parents, the third generation of Mjelvas, gave the hotel a new modern look and purpose by introducing pools and conference facilities,” he says. “This also meant that they could keep the hotel open to guests for most of the year, which was essential for a sleepy town on the brink of abandonment.”

Along with the spa-and-wellness extension, restaurants, and other sights and experiences the local village has to offer nowadays, Hotel Union has established a stable workspace for locals.

Today, Geiranger is an exciting destination for Norwegian and international travellers alike – even the most well-travelled visitors are unable to suppress their awe at the river rapids and majestic mountains. For those looking to visit, Hotel Union Geiranger promises a luxurious and warm welcome with top-class service and staff that will go the extra mile to ensure a great stay.

Hotel Union Geiranger: Enjoy a luxury stay with a UNESCO World Heritage Site on your doorstep

A thriving local area

The Geirangerfjord area is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord landscapes in the world. Visitors at the hotel may also venture into the local areas, seeking thrilling adventures such as ziplining, mountain climbing or kayaking. In the winter, there are further opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing and hiking. More relaxed activities are also available, with the town offering excellent local cuisine, visits to the chocolate factory, breweries, galleries, and even festivals.

With the World Heritage Centre in town, Geiranger and Hotel Union prioritise taking care of their local surroundings and nature so they can pass it on to later generations. With the fate of the town and the hotel being intertwined, Hotel Union Geiranger has always invested in the local community and its establishments. In 2022, the hotel’s new venture was 24 new modern apartments.

“We want more single people, couples, and families to be able to access affordable, modern housing in town,” says Sindre. “We can’t wait to see lights in the new apartments, more kids in local nurseries and schools, and more youth and adults joining the local workforce so our town can share the best of the world’s nature.”

Hotel Union Geiranger: Enjoy a luxury stay with a UNESCO World Heritage Site on your doorstep

Instagram: @hoteluniongeiranger
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