Just a 20 minutes’ drive from Oslo, the capital of Norway, we arrived at the Losby Gods (Losby Manor), awarded Historic Hotels Award of Excellence 2020 by the prestigious organizations Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. And indeed, we had a very Christmassy stay at this award-winning Norwegian hotel.
On arrival, the hotel was brimming with Christmas decorations, from a massive tree with presents underneath to Christmas wreaths behind the reception and roaring fires. The massive 9.500 square meter (102,257 square feet) country estate, originally from 1850, has only 70 rooms, inclusive 5 suites, so guests may get lost in this affluent estate.
Owned by affluent families until 1959
The massive historical manor, was originally three estates from early 17th century when the timber industry was booming. In 1797, Andreas Lumholtz inherited the property and he started inviting many important people to Losby.
Part-owner and hotel manager Heidi Elisabeth Fjellheim tells us that Losby Gods was family-owned between 1797 and 1959 by family members such as Thorvald Meyer and Thomas Heftye, large urban developers In Oslo with streets named after them. Lorentz Meyer Boeck and his wife Kathrine was the last family members having the pleasure of being the owners. Kathrine (called Fruen, Madam in English) ran Losby alone for 22 years until 1959.
The Boecks had no children, and so the estate was divided among 18 relations. The Manor was purchased from the property in 1985 and was the first time in history that the owner was someone other than the landowner.
Related: Scandinavian Christmas Decorations
A favorite among golf players
The luxury countryside retreat is set amongst the stunning background of an area of approximately 40 000 acres of glorious woodland. All rooms have wonderful views, overlooking either the Losby forests or the Losby golf courses (one 18-hole golf course and one 9 hole).
A living museum
On the first floor, we enter the dining room, which today serves as the fine dining restaurant. During a renovation 22 years ago, a carpenter stuck his leg down through the ceiling from the attic and it appeared it were hidden original ceiling paintings underneath. These have been repainted and are today part of the logo on tableware, chairs, carpets etc.
Worthy of a king
The Boecks had their own woman’s and gentleman’s parlors and library. On first floor you also find the Haakon Suite, named after the late King Haakon VII of Norway. A curiosity is that the first indoor bathroom in Norway was especially made for the king at Losby Gods. It still exists, but only for exhibition. However, In the Haakon suite, you can sleep in the king’s old bed. He was nearly two meters tall, and the manor’s original beds were too short, and this bed was made for especially for him, a real king size bed, so to speak.
The suite is delicately decorated with soft colors, a separate dining room and lounge, a balcony, a bedroom and a large spa, with sauna, jacuzzi and a special mirror.
Christmas and New Year’s Celebration at Losby Gods
On our visit, the historical rooms have several Christmas decorations and Christmas trees and we noticed businessmen having earnest conversations over coffee while families were enjoying afternoon tea. In spite of the corona crisis, Heidi Elisabeth tells us that they’ve decided to have the hotel open for guests during the Christmas month and New Year period, run mainly by family members and a few voluntary staff members.
The Losby mansion house is steeped in history with elegant period features, providing the perfect setting for guests to escape the cold and immerse themselves in the Christmas spirit. The Christmas themed ballroom on the first floor for example is a magical winter wonderland.
New private rooms in the basement
In the basement of Losby Gods you may enjoy a new part of the mansion. The former sauna department was hit by fire in 2016 and has now been transformed to Compagniet, a hotel bar, even with a secret room.
With pool table and darts, Compagniet is ideal for private groups and parties who want to enjoy all or part of the evening in exclusive, yet relaxing surroundings. Sink into comfortable lounges and seating areas, or at the bar where the bartender fills the glasses with precious drops.
Arrange an informal competition at the 2 pool tables, 2 shuffleboards and dart board. Give your company a very special experience with an aperitif in the Compagniet, or end the evening with a fun game night that your guests always bear in mind. Hidden somewhere in Compagniet there is also a “secret” door. It leads into Herresæte – the hotel’s new and beautiful Chambre Séparée which you can rent for dinner.
The inspiration for the name “Compagniet” arrived from the three businessmen and brothers-in-law Thorvald Meyer, Thomas Heftye and Thomas Sewell, who were the owners of “Laasby Compagni” in the period 1855-1859. Compagniet and Herresæte can also be rented for the whole evening, or just for a few hours.
Traditional Christmas dinner at Losby Gods
In the evening, my partner and I were lucky enough to sample the festive menu, full of fabulous ingredients, unfortunately not accompanied by Christmas beer and aquavit due to corona restrictions. But Christmas is here, and families and couples can still celebrate with a stay in this winter wonderland themed hotel.
The traditional Christmas dinner at the hotel restaurant was a delight. As starters we had salted trout called rakørret. The fish has been salted and autolyzed for two to three months, maybe even up to a year. The Rakfisk is then eaten without cooking and has a mild and slightly salty flavor and strong smell.
The main dishes consisted of a traditional Christmas menu (juletallerken) and lutefisk respectively. The Christmas menu consists of ribbe, (pork ribs), and several side dishes like sauerkraut, red cabbage, patties, sausages and potatoes.
The lutefisk was as usual served with a variety of side dishes, such as bacon, green pea stew, potatoes, lefse and melted butter. A worthy christmas dinner for a very Christmassy stay at an award-winning Norwegian hotel.
Breakfast the next day consisted of an extensive buffet ranging from croissants, cereal and yogurt to gravadlax, pate and a whole range of hotplates containing sausages, crispy bacon, fried eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes.
During the pandemic the hotel has decided to replace the buffet with dishes served at the table. The experience is that guests are more than pleased and it’s saving lot of food-waste. Heidi Elisabeth tells us that concerns about sustainability probably leads to that the buffet will be permanently replaced by table servings.
If you just want to visit Losby Gods for a day trip, we recommend their Afternoon tea. Imagine white tablecloths and stately covers. A delicious 3-storey dish with delicious temptations, small bowls with accessories and shiny glass – the perfect setting for a pleasant time with good friends. Find out availability here.
A Very Christmassy Stay at Award-Winning Norwegian Hotel
“It’s evident that 70 rooms for a 9.500 sq. meter (102.257 sq. feet) hotel is far from optimal seen from a financial viewpoint,” says hotel manager Heidi Elisabeth Fjellheim. Application for permission to an extension of 70 extra rooms has been with the authorities for several year. Heidi Elisabeth is an optimist and believes the grant will one day be given.
She adds: “We pride ourselves on providing great accommodation options for families and businesses, and we always strive to make our guests’ breaks as memorable as possible.”
A Very Christmassy Stay at Award-Winning Norwegian Hotel, written by Tor Kjolberg
All photos by Tor Kjolberg, except feature image (on top) © Losby Gods