Set beside the magnificent Sognefjord in Norway’s pristine west country this historic estate has been welcoming visitors since the late 19th century. Having hosted German emperors, traditional Swiss architectural features and an extensive collection of artworks and antiques impart a certain old world charm while modern facilities make for comfortable stays.
It’s a perfect springboard to launch you into the surrounding countryside on fjord cruises, garden walks or hikes that take you between pretty hamlets via mountainside meadows and winding waterside paths. Logistically speaking, Kviknes is also just 64km from Haukasen Airport and is sited directly opposite Balestrand Pier, ideal for a scenic boat transfer.
With a nod towards its grand past, great emphasis is placed upon the culinary experience at Kviknes. Local ingredients are sourced wherever possible to be used in four-course menus and indulgent buffets. The wine list is a particular highlight with over 300 varietals to choose from, each with a sommelier-paired dish. For a more casual setting, the Balholm Bar serves up a bistro menu. Lunches include smoked salmon on homemade rye bread and Caesar salads complemented by fjord trout bites while dinners might see duck liver pâté starters prefix venison loin mains and local cheese dessert platters. The Sognefjord really is an outstanding doorstep larder.
The hotel’s 190 rooms are divided between the imperious Swiss chalet-style main building and the modern annex. In the former, individually designed rooms and suites feature period furnishings, local artwork and Sognefjord panoramas. Some even come with balconies to make the most of the hotel’s stunning setting. Not to miss out, the latter comes with views out over the village churches to the fjord beyond, itself framed by the 972 metre high Raudmelen Mountain. Again, most have balconies while plush sofas and dark wood armchairs round off the home comforts.
With such an outstanding array of natural beauty on your front door, you’ll have to tear yourself away from the hotel’s fine dining restaurants to head out and explore. Perhaps take the famed Flåm Railway to wind through valleys and past waterfalls or head to the breathtaking Jostedal Glacier National Park, documented in a superb museum. Alternatively, stay closer to home with hikes up nearby Raudmelen Mountain or take to the waters on a lazy boat ride. After you’ve finished exploring, return to make use of the complimentary WiFi, fitness centre and art gallery, where original works inspired by Balestrand’s beauty are proudly exhibited.