In 1923, 12 years after Lillehammer Tourist Hotel was built, hotel manager Birger Hansen from Bergen laid eyes on this building up in the hills behind Lillehammer town. The scene captivated his heart and from that moment, he dared to dream that one day he would build a world class hotel. He succeeded in making Lillehammer Tourist Hotel an attraction for travelers from all corners of Scandinavia. Through the years the hotel has gone through several renovations and extensions, and today Scandic Lillehammer Hotel appears as a magnificent mountain hotel in Norway.
In spite of all reconstructions over the years, the history of the hotel is still in the walls. In 1944, the lounge of the hotel used to be the office of the supreme commander of the occupying forces in Norway, General Franz Böhme. The Norwegian military intelligence (XU) planned to blowing up the hotel. Fortunately, the action was not realized.
In 1969, Leif Koppervik and his family wished to bring the wooden building to life by renovation and expand its accommodation capacity by building an extension.
Like an enchanting white castle
In 2006 the hotel was sold from the Koppervik family to Pandox eiendom who rented out the property to various hotel operator companies until Pandox Operations took charge of the hotel in 2015. Pandox had the goal of renovating the hotel to highlight the symbiosis between the stylistically different architectural movements, as well as reveal the detachment from the memory of the past. It was a considerable investment. Scandic Hotels became a tenant in May 2017.
Today, Scandic Lillehammer Hotel rises proudly like an enchanting, white castle in a well-groomed park up on the bill behind Lillehammer town – just a stone’s throw from the ski jumps where Norwegian ski jumpers harvested medals during the Winter Olympics in 1994.
Art exhibition and sculpture park
Hotel manager Mona Smestad tells us that Lillehammer was gently affected by the pandemic, and the hotel was only closed three months during the spring of 2020.
The hotel is situated just 900 meters from the Lillehammer train station and a large private sculpture park surrounds the hotel which features a spa center with a sauna and heated indoor as well as outdoor pools. The beautiful garden with large lawns and birch trees features an idyllic, arched wooden bridge over a small lake. This bridge is a faithful copy of the wooden bridge in the Royal Castle Park in Oslo.
“We’re only four hours away from Paris,” says Smestad, and adds, “There’s a train station at Oslo Airport with trains leaving every hour for Lillehammer.”
Christian Ringnes, who established the Ekeberg Sculpture Park in Oslo, owns the hotel and has placed eight sculptures there. One of these is Annasif Døhlen’s winning draft of “Joy of skiing” from 1982, depicting King Olav V skiing with his dog Troll. The original sculpture is on display at Holmenkollen ski jump in Oslo. The Miffy Fountain in front of the hotel is made by Tom Sachs from the USA.
Conferences & fine dining
Scandic Lillehammer Hotel is one of Norway’s largest conference hotels with 303 guest rooms of which 3 are junior suites and 1 is the Champagne suite. Four fully equipped detached meeting cabins can be rented separately for weddings, anniversaries or conferences in addition to the 15 meeting rooms of different sizes. Two restaurants serve international and local cuisine.
We really enjoyed our dinner by choosing creamed parsley root soup for starters, and for main dish, roasted reindeer tenderloin with green asparagus, kohlrabi, salt-baked potatoes and red wine sauce, cranberries. and grilled beef tenderloin with eggplant, peppers, squash, fondant potato and chimicharri sauce respectively. Chef Rudi Gratzer has served guests at the hotel since the Winter Olympics.
Spaciousness and volume
The conference department’s mingling space is a multi-storey glass-covered arcade with original artworks from Christian Ringnes’ private collection. The 36 acres of property is also a popular family hotel, with chill out room for the teenagers and a playroom for the children.
Scandic Lillehammer Hotel offers a feeling of spaciousness and volume not commonly found in hotels.
Guests from all over the world come here to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the many attractions in and around Lillehammer, a town with a nineteenth-century concentration of wooden houses and a picturesque location overlooking the northern part of lake Mjøsa. Experience a totally different world at Scandic Lillehammer Hotel!
Magnificent Mountain Hotel in Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg
All photographs © Tor Kjolberg / Daily Scandinavian, except feature image (on top), Scandic Hotels.