Offering views across the mountains of Trysil, Fjellhytte is a beautifully crafted wooden cabin. It offers four bedrooms and a sauna, all on the doorstep of Norway’s largest ski resort.
The message to the architects was to create something that the Wallpaper journalists would cry to write about.
Stokkøya Beach Hotel
Stokkøya Beach Hotel is a nature-lovers paradise, especially if you like the rough coastal climate.
The Beach Bar serves excellent seafood and we recommend you treat yourself to both lunch and dinner.
If you come here in the winter you might even be able to see the northern lights dancing in the sky.
The Beach Bar is well-known and often busy, especially when they have music or wine/beer tastings.
How would you describe Stokkøya Beach Hotel in a nutshell?
Stokkøya Beach Hotel is an architectural jewel on one of Norway's finest beaches. With modern cabin rentals, hostel rooms as well as a campsite, they offer a variety of lodgings, fit to whatever you might be looking for. Their Beach Bar is extremely well-known for their excellent cuisine, outstanding seafood dishes and events such as music shows and beer tastings. Stokkøya Beach Hotel are stunning buildings immersed into the coastal landscape and surrounded by wild and beautiful nature. In the summer you'll love the range of water activities such as kayaking, windsurfing and more. In the winter you should come here to see the dancing lights in the sky.
Please tell us a bit about the history and how Stokkøya came about.
I moved to the island in 1999 and met Roar, my husband. He and I took over the farm in 2000 and started thinking about how to make a living out of it. In 2002, the year our son was born, we had made a plan with an architect friend of ours who has done work in Japan with Tadao Ando, a very famous architect. My husband and he thought it would be fun to see how the landscape would interact with functional small cottages.
The idea was really to build small summer houses that were also inexpensive. We wanted all of our friends to be able to have a summer house here. As people who like the urban lifestyle, we wanted to bring the city to us.
How did the local people react?
A lot of the local people were against the idea, thinking the buildings were ugly. They went to the paper talking about how we were going to ruin the whole island. This started a lot of buzz, and a journalist for a big paper in Norway captured the story in one of the vacation magazines. It had beautiful photos and told the story from our point of view, which got us some great publicity.
After that, we sold 18 projects just from word of mouth. We were confident then that we were moving in the right direction, building smart architecture in this beautiful landscape.
What did you do before running these vacation rentals?
I used to be social worker in the city of Trondheim. I was working with drug addicts before I came here. But I’m interested in good food and good wine. Coming from working with drug addicts to working in a bar is quite a change.
My husband got really interested in architecture and after these 10 years we have learned a lot about design and architecture. We also have lots of friends who are artists and designers, as well as chefs, waiters and waitresses. When you spend a lot of time drinking nice wine at bars, you run into many interesting people.
Tell us a little bit about the architecture and the design of Stokkøya Beach Hotel.
The architects had fun working with us because we didn’t really compromise. We had a good dialogue throughout the project, so it wasn’t just the architects’ ideas. They took our ideas and brought them to fruition.
After a couple of years, we saw we needed more beds and built the sub-house. The message to the architects was to create something that the Wallpaper journalists would cry to write about. And they did. In 2009, there was a Wallpaper article about us.
We had a very small budget, so it was important for us to keep costs low. We spent some money on the Eames chairs and some other items of really good design, bought at auctions. We started to cooperate with an artist who was working on her Master’s degree at art school and hired her and some of her designer classmates. We gave them food and the equipment and tools to work with.
To you personally, what has been most rewarding about running Stokkøya?
We really love that we have succeeded in building a business that has created a lot of jobs for the people out here. People were moving away but because of our firm and our business, people are staying. There are more kids in the schools and more younger people living here who have jobs at our place. I’m really proud of that. And with all the media attention, the people are very proud too, even the neighbours. We’re all one big, happy family.
Also, other people have started businesses because of our business. One of our friends started his own firm renting out bikes, kayaks and small sailboats. The local store has more customers. Our business has made other businesses grow.
Each room at Stokkøya Beach Hotel is different. Some of them have a theme, others don’t. We bought some of the furniture from Denmark, some from auction, and some were found around the attics of the fishermen out here on the island.
One of them, he was 84, looked into his beach house and found some old lamps they used out on the boats fishing for herring. They are huge lamps that produce a lot of light. We collected about 10 of those and rebuilt them for normal lighting and painted them. They are now in the reception area.
The SUB units are rustic and spacious, each with showers and toilets. The materials are mainly concrete and glass, but there are softer elements, such as fabrics, canvas and reclaimed furniture. The entire building is covered with vegetation at the back, to make it blend into the surroundings as much as possible. Each unit has a covered porch at the front and its own entrance.
Modern coastal holiday homes in a clean and functional design, carefully integrated into the surrounding landscape. From the cottages there are great views over Hosnasand, the sea and the coastline. They all consist of a fully equipped kitchen, bathroom and will sleep up to six people. Pillows and duvets are provided. Guests can choose to bring their own bed linen and towels or rent them from reception on arrival.
Our lodgings range from small cottages, SUB units, hostel accommodations with 8 beds each, as well as a campsite. We built the beach bar in 2005, and it was an immediate success. It’s very important to have quality food. Even though we are at the end of the world, at the end of the road — it’s hard to find us — people started visiting and we gained a really good reputation for our food. My husband used to be a scallop and sea urchin diver, and he exported them to Japan in the ’90s. He has worked with top quality seafood for many years. It’s not an expensive restaurant yet it’s very high quality with good wines. Everyone can afford to eat there, and it’s casual.
We rent some inflatable boats with engines, but they’re used to take people from point A to B. We prefer them to paddle or sail instead. People can take a stroll in the mountains or hop in a kayak and paddle. It’s all about relaxing and down time.
We don’t have any action activities, really. Good food, good wine, and good views, that’s what we offer. We use a lot of seafood in the beach bar, so we take people out fishing. We bring the catch back to the bar and cook it up there.
The Coastal Express goes past here under the bridge on the island. It’s the most beautiful sea journey in the world. It’s an old, huge boat that used to go from harbour to harbour. It takes 11 days for the whole journey and it comes by here once a day. Some of the ships are really old and beautiful, others are newer and you can sleep on board and travel for 11 days, or you can just go for one or two nights.
We are 3 hours north of Trondheim, on an island that is 15 kilometres square and has about 3,200 inhabitants. It’s mainly fishermen and farmers who have been living here, and now it’s the community administration who is the biggest employer, which is something we are working to turn that around. From Trondheim you can drive up and take a ferry or you can catch a bus from the central station in Trondheim, which goes all the way to Stokkøya Beach Hotel’s front door.
In winter we are open every weekend and the beach bar is open every weekend from October to March. In the summer, we are open daily for everyone. For bigger groups, we are open the whole year.
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