The history of the little village Fevik on the southern coast of Norway would be incomplete without the significant story of the Strand Hotel Fevik. When it opened for the first guests on 17th May 1937 it truly had an authentic soul. The architect was the acclaimed Eilert Smith from Stavanger. Read the significant story of a Norwegian beach hotel
Strand Hotel Fevik served as a grand dining room for the locals and an attraction for visiting guests. With its idyllic location and high standards, Strand Hotel Fevik soon gained an exotic appeal to people from far and wide. The scent of adventurous dishes from the kitchen appealed to the connoisseurs, and grand events attracted guests in increased numbers. Famous musicians helped make the hotel well-known as a popular dance venue.
One of the regular guests was the world-famous author Roald Dahl, best known for his magical tales such as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and the man behind the British television series ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ that aired between 1979 and 1988. He visited the hotel several summers with his Oscar-winning actress wife Patricia Neal. Roald Dahl lived in a simple room with a porch and sea views, where he found inspiration for his adventurous stories.
The end of an era
The opulence came to a halt after three good summer seasons before Norway and Strand Hotel Fevik were occupied by German officers in April/May of 1940. However, good management saved the hotel from serious damages.
When the hotel was released in 1945, it was renovated and made ready for a new opening in 1946. But the post-war years became difficult, and the hotel had to resort to help from the neighboring farms to obtain raw materials.
Shortly after the war, however, the English moved into the hotel to the great excitement of the local community. The war was over and better times were ahead. In 1957, a small annex was built on the other side of the hotel in addition to a cafeteria facing the road.
An exotic chapter
There was a significant influence of exotic lifestyle when Mrs. Espinoza took over as manager in 1961. She was married to an employee at the Cuban embassy in Oslo, and she was a tough boss until 1975. In wintertime, the couple lived in the hotel, and exotic foods and drinks started to grace the dinner tables.
The hotel was sold to a new owner in 1975. He decided to build the conference building and modernized a large part of the rooms. The original summer hotel now became a year-round hotel, which has been upgraded and maintained ever since.
Hotel manager Anja Beisland tells us that when the hotel was closed in March 2020 due to the coronavirus, all employees were laid off. However, the two directors, Anja and Bodil Langerak, took turns to keep the hotel open throughout the period. A baker in Grimstad delivered breakfast in bags that were placed outside the doors every morning. There was an average of 12 guests per night during the three months when all other hotels were closed.
“Norwegian guests have ensured that the holiday market started earlier this year, and both regular holiday makers and weddings ensure that the hotel is virtually fully booked throughout the summer season,” says Anja Beisland.
The four-star Strand Hotel Fevik Fevik is situated 10 minutes by car from the coastal town of Grimstad and features an outdoor and indoor bar, fine dining as well as conference and fitness area. Guests can enjoy a park and a sandy beach. Several of the 90 rooms offer sea views. There is also a dedicated area for guests bringing their dogs and cats.
The restaurant offers a varied seasonal menu based on regional ingredients. Chef Philip Mitu Hansen says that working in a restaurant means being part of a family. “Nothing is accomplished independently,” he adds. The restaurant serves set menus and a la carte.
The restaurant and adjoining parlor rooms reflects the history of the original building owners, Frida and Harald Hansen.
A new era
Bunde Eiendom took over as owner in 2003 and the heyday was brought back. Past and history are carefully taken care of, and a new hotel building with extended conference facilities was opened in complete harmony with the functional architecture in the historic part.
From 2017, being part of Classic Norway Hotels, Strand Hotel Fevik gives a nod to both its past and present. The hotel doesn’t claim to be in the luxury segment, but all 90 guest rooms are modernized and comfortable, the service is excellent and the beach area is probably one of the most pleasant in Norway.
All photos: Tor Kjolberg
The Significant Story of a Norwegian Beach Hotel, written by Tor Kjolberg