Norway’s former Harastølen psychiatric hospital to turn into a luxurious hotel

Harastølen HotellPhoto: Harastølen Hotell

One of Norway’s oldest psychiatric hospitals at Harastølen is going through a makeover – it is set to become a warm, lively, and luxurious hotel. Norway Today speaks to one of its owners.

Three years down the road, one of Norway’s oldest psychiatric hospitals at Harastølen will be set to open its doors to tourists following its makeover into a warm, lively, and luxurious hotel.

The huge five-storied and more than 119-year-old cluster of buildings is a story in itself. The historic structure had once functioned as an asylum reception and tuberculosis sanatorium besides being a psychiatric facility.

Located 500 meters above Norway’s picturesque Sognefjord, it also featured in the 2015 famous horror movie Villmark 2. No wonder it is famous among the local “ghost-hunters.”

How it all began

Norway Today spoke to Terje Svindland, one of the three owners of the upcoming Harastølen Hotell.

“The construction work has just started and it will be completed no earlier than May 2024. The hotel will start taking bookings from tourists in late 2023,” said Svindland, who, along with two other owners – Øystein Høyheim and Sverre Ophaug – is supervising the ongoing construction work. Parish scaffolding and fuse works are done. Renovating the roof of the main building is underway.

When asked how they got the idea of turning the old psychiatric hospital into a hotel, Svindland stated, “On a family trip in 2016, we traveled to Harastølen to look at the building, as everyone else does on a trip in this area. I was immediately fascinated by the history of the 15 buildings on the square, the view, and the architecture. I thought this had to be preserved for the future so that others can have the pleasure of experiencing the place under somewhat more orderly conditions and comfort.”

Plans for the hotel

From this very idea, the journey of Harastølen Hotell began. At present, Sogn Stillas og Sikring AS, a local and fairly new company, is carrying out all the construction and renovation works at the property, which gives a scenic view of the surroundings.

“There will be a reception with sofa groups, a restaurant with outdoor seating, a kitchen, conference rooms, other common areas, and 30 to 40 rooms/suites at the property. There will also eventually be a wellness department at the hotel,” Svindland added.

The Culture Memorial Fund supported the project with its largest single contribution ever of NOK 3.8 million. The project will be documented on film from beginning to end.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayTravel

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