Set on a steep natural levee, surrounded by native trees like birch, aspen and pine – the hotel is as much of a sight to behold as the nature surrounding it. Situated in the old farmstead of Burtigarden in Alstad, Valldal – Juvet is Europe’s first true landscape hotel.
Juvet is the design child of architects Jensen & Skodvin. Celebrating local heritage, they have managed to create a synthesis of raw Norwegian nature, cultural history and contemporary Scandinavian architecture. The architect duo has been careful not to disrupt local flora and fauna, rather playing on nature’s team – blending into the environment. A nature reserve.
The hotel rooms are scattered around the site, small houses in their own right. There are nine rooms in total, each with a unique design – a result of topographical needs and building around the trees’ natural position. The architects wanted each room to have the best possible view, while still preserving the feeling of privacy. Seven of the rooms are “landscape rooms”, these are cubes on stilts, all with glass walls creating an illusion of living in nature, constantly inhaling the outdoors.
The other two rooms, the birdhouses, are inspired by the traditional “stabbur”, an old-school Norwegian log house originally designed to store meat and other produce through a long, blistering winter. With these smaller birdhouses Juvet has tried to “highlight how little we actually need to achieve a sense of well-being.”
And what is well-being without food? All meals are served communally in the old barn, conversations flow easily around the table as guests share travel stories over delicious plates showcasing local produce. Breakfast is not served until 9am, as visitors are not to rush, but rather enjoy their morning, to “wake up early and pull the duvet over your head and sleep for a little longer.”
After breakfast, you can go back to your room to take a much-deserved breather from the world, pamper yourself at the spa, or go explore the most beautiful nature Norway has to offer. Gubrandsjuvet – a picturesque gorge with a spectacular waterfall just down the road from the hotel – is the area’s main tourist draw, but the world heritage listed Geiranger Fjord and Trollstigen are also within easy reach. But if you choose to stay in your room, we won’t judge you.
Juvet Landscape Hotel on the four seasons
“Everything is in transition, and in April and May we enjoy several seasons at once. While the mountains are still in winter, it is spring-like, verdant and warm down by the fjord. We see everything coming to life. We savour the sun and the light, the birch bedecked in new greenery, ski trips in shorts, freckles on sun-warmed skin.”
“Summer is high season for rafting, river paddling, fjord fishing, kayaking, climbing and canyoning. Summer is also the prime time for exciting excursions in our area. We want to get outdoors to look around, explore, have fun and, you never know, maybe even learn something new.”
“When nature is at rest we have time to enjoy its fruits. The mountain is never as beautiful as in the autumn months. September, October and November are fresh and bursting with colour and the mountain landscape is open and easy to walk in.”
“Welcome to winter, our absolute favourite time of year! Even though the sun has disappeared, the dark season can be bright and dazzlingly beautiful as the snow illuminates the landscape. Become aware of the scent of snow. Listen to it creak beneath your feet. Enjoy the millions of glimmering crystals. Feel the sub-zero temperatures stinging at your feet.”