A wooden hotel built for English salmon lords in 1905 ended up at the centre of events in 1940. Now it’s a place for peace and quiet.
The mood is set even as you enter the hotel through the glass veranda with its small-paned windows and a view over the lawn and the Målselva river. The dining room features a dark wood ceiling, dragon-style furniture and decoration from various different periods, and the art nouveau staircase curves elegantly upwards. The whole effect is like that of a Carl Larsson painting, although the view of the glaciers between the peaks of the Istindan mountain range, almost 1500 metres (5000 feet) high, provides an effective contrast to the romantic interior.
The hotel was for the gentry of society
The wooden hotel opened in 1905. English salmon lords were by far the most numerous guests as the Målselva river that flows past the hotel is one of the best salmon rivers in the country. Even Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany stayed here several times during his summer holidays in Norway. In fact, Rundhaug Guesthouse was the only place to stay for stylish visitors to these parts. The elegant guests were looked after by Amanda Sandmo, the hotel’s commanding and industrious manager. Local people kept at a respectful distance, apart from the maids who worked here under her strict discipline. Rumour has it that Amanda still oversees the hotel, and has a tendency to appear suddenly in a room, checking that everything is as it should be.
Rundhaug was a refuge for the fleeing Royal family during the war
During the war in 1940, while the battles raged in Narvik, and Southern Norway was already occupied, King Haakon, Crown Prince Olav and the government were staying in Troms. The King, Crown Prince and members of the government stayed at the hotel for several days at the end of May. A local songbird was also discovered here: 17 year old Aase Nordmo Løvberg, who was brought to sing in front of the King and government. She went on to become an international opera star. When the Germans moved in after 7 June, they occupied the hotel and used it as their headquarters for the area throughout the war.
Relaxing décor infused with fresh air
The rooms have been restored gently and respectfully. The palette of background colours ranges from magnolia to French white, while the curtains and bedspreads are decorated in lively, fresh colours and patterns. The beds are new, but all the other furniture in the rooms is antique, not just from the turn of the century, but from throughout the 20th century. The hotel is heated by a heating furnace in the cellar, so there is no air conditioning here. This means you breathe in natural air, and enjoy absolute peace and quiet.
Rooms are dedicated to famous guests
Every room is named after a famous person with a connection to the hotel: Kaiser Wilhelm has been given an entire suite, and Aase Nordmo Løvberg is remembered too, of course. Sonja Henies’ comments in the guest book, in which she describes herself as a “film star [visiting from] Hollywood” are now mounted behind glass and are hung in her room. Single rooms, double rooms and suites are available, and while some have baths, others have access to showers and toilets down the corridor — bathrobes are provided for visits to these facilities.
Salmon fishing is a big deal in Målselv
In summer, salmon fishermen still come to the Rundhaug Hotel, which keeps up the tradition of offering accommodation with fishing licence. Fishing guides can also be arranged. The cellar houses an English-inspired pub, where you can celebrate your big catch. Walks in the pine forest or hikes up to mountain peaks, bicycle rides and canoeing trips are also part of summer here, but visitors should also make sure that they spend plenty of time on the terrace. Summer temperatures in Målselv can be very pleasant.
Målselv’s dry climate allows for great aurora chances
The dry inland climate of Rundhaug is perfect for seeing the Northern Lights. The hotel offers Northern Lights trips by car, dog sled or snowmobile, but you can also just decide to go for a walk on your own. One of the best things to do in the winter is to come here with your loved one for a romantic holiday — see the Northern Lights in the evening, go skiing, enjoy some good food in the hotel restaurant, use the sauna in the wellness centre in the cellar, or just enjoy being together.
For all the information you need about visiting Rundhaug Guesthouse and the surrounding region simply check out Visit Tromsø’s webpage.