24-hour room service: Harahorn, Norway

Click to follow
The Independent Travel

Deep in the Norwegian Alps in a grove of filigree-fingered birch is a collection of turf-roofed love nests where Zoe Ball and Norman Cook stayed last winter while they were making babies.

Deep in the Norwegian Alps in a grove of filigree-fingered birch is a collection of turf-roofed love nests where Zoe Ball and Norman Cook stayed last winter while they were making babies.

The Harahorn doesn't really market itself as a hotel per se, but it does take guests and it helps if you are famous. The management is discreet about who has stayed here because peace and tranquillity (and freedom from the paparazzi) is what the Harahorn is all about.

Perched on a mountainside 1,100m above sea level, the hotel is a collection of grass-topped houses created by Norwegian shipping billionaire Knut Kloster at a cost of £5m. Originally intended as a family home, it was built using traditional Norwegian skills and materials of glass, wood and stone.

The result is jaw-droppingly well done, with a stunning view across the Grondal valley and a reassuring sense of informality. The main building holds the kitchen, lounge, five guest rooms, the wine cellar and a long dining room. Decorated in shaker blue and cornflower yellow, this holds a giant wooden table which plays host to dinners of Norwegian game and fish.

The additional cabins all have their own kitchens, but guests can help themselves to breakfast in the main kitchen so the hotel gives the feeling of a country house party.

Separate to the main building is the Gildehallen, designed along the lines of a traditional meeting hall, and used for conferences and big dinners. Huge windows fill it with light.

Location, location, location

Harahorn AS, 3560 Hemsedal, Norway (tel 00 47 82 06 23 80, fax 00 47 32 06 23 81, e-mail: booking@harahorn.no).

The hotel is above the village of Solheisen, near Tuv, mid-way between Oslo and Bergen. In summer, there's a nine-hole golf course in the valley below, as well as a riding and canoe centre and extensive walking trails. In winter, there's a small ski centre 400m away, and the Hemsedal ski resort (Norway's second largest) is just ten minutes down the road.

Time to Airport: It's a three-hour drive to Oslo International Airport, although it could be possible to get on a charter flight to Dagali, particularly during the ski season, which is only 90 minutes away. In either case, you really wouldn't want to be here without a car.

Are you lying comfortably?

Harahorn can accommodate up to 60 guests, mainly in 19 cabins away from the main building. But "cabin" is too small, too flimsy and too mean a word to describe these wooden houses; each is different, each has a four poster or two, a sauna, a kitchen, a living room with a wood-burning stove, and some even have two bathrooms. Linen and towels are immaculate, and decor relies on the cabins' own natural materials.

Keeping in touch

Telephones, TVs and radios are provided in all the cabins, but Harahorn even has its own wooden chapel for anyone who needs to keep in touch with God.

The bottom line

Rates start at NKr1,000 (£76) per night for two, and from NKr4,100 (£315) for a four-person cabin per week. For around £5.70, £17 and £35 respectively, breakfast, lunch and dinner can all be taken in the main building.

I'm not paying that

The 83-room Skogstad Hotel (tel 00 47 32 06 03 33, fax 0047 32 06 05 71), back down in Hemsedal, has perfectly good rooms from around NKr500 (£38) per night, as well as a good restaurant, live music most weekends and a very lively nightclub during the ski season.

Comments