I love a good hotel, and if it means traveling (literally) to the ends of the earth to get there, I’ll do it. When I first learned of the Juvet Landscape Hotel, I began planning a Norway road trip centered around visiting it. You may recognize it from scenes in the film Ex Machina, but the hotel experience is far from science fiction.ﾠ
The Juvet Landscape Hotel ($385/night at the time of publishing) is located along the fjords of northwestern Norway. A 90-minute drive from the Ålesund airport is best-suited for those with efficiency in mind, but my now-husband and I opted for the 8-hour drive from Oslo instead.
While it was mid-May and the weather was warming, we were rewarded by changes in weather and terrain on our drive, including a picnic lunch stop at a glacier-like field and a descent down to sea level on a recently-plowed snow-walled road. This drive also familiarized us with the many tunnels along Norwegian highways and drive-on ferries to cross the fjords.
Approaching the Juvet Landscape Hotel almost makes you feel like you’re in the wrong place, driving through rural roads dotted by farmhouses. But as soon as you approach, you’re greeted by the iconic modern one-room cabins overlooking a stream. Once checked in and inside our room, it felt like it was just us and the landscape, with no one else in sight.
Sights and Sounds
The hotel consists of seven small cubes on stilts. The Juvet’s thoughtful approach to architecture offers glass walls that open each room to a jaw-dropping view of the local landscape and river below, which changes with the season and weather. During our 3-day visit in mid-May, we experienced bright blue skies marked by snow-capped hills, as well as dense, moody fog.
And, despite the open glass walls, the rooms’ position relative to one another and dark interiors allow for a great deal of privacy. This contributes to the sense of solitude you experience at the hotel.
The hotel also has a central barnhouse that serves as its communal space. This is where you’ll take care of such practicalities as checking in and paying your bill, but also where you can visit the library or sit in the lounge until it’s time for dinner at the long table.
Community and Solitude
Staying at the Juvet Landscape Hotel offers a balance of community and solitude. Our days were book-ended by the hotel’s signature communal meals. Informal buffet breakfasts (included in your rate) were marked by conversations about everyone’s day ahead, including guidance from the proprietor about hikes and activities in the surrounding area. And during the prix fixe dinner (extra fee of ~$85 per person), everyone shares stories about themselves and recounts the day’s activities. With about 15 people visiting at the same time as us, it was an intimate and community-oriented experience.
But part of the draw of visiting this area of Norway is the solitude you’re able to experience. Outside of our meals or a stop at the local grocery store, we didn’t encounter anyone else. We were able to hike through the countryside and explore the hotel property without any disruption—sometimes at the jet-lagged waking hours of earlier than 6am.
A Once-in-a-Lifetime Hotel
The Juvet Landscape Hotel is open from the end of February to December 1 each year (it’s closed during the winter months). Its location on the Norwegian scenic route between the UNESCO World Heritage Geiranger Fjord and the dramatic view at Trollstigen makes it well worth the journey—whether that’s a shortcut by air to Ålesund or the slow, scenic drive from Oslo. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back to the Juvet’s particular end of the earth, but I’m grateful to have memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
5 more things to know:
- Plan for different types of weather by wearing layers–in mid-May (some activities were closed due to late-in-the-season snow).
- Pack your own snacks, or stock up on groceries in a bigger city. Norway is an incredibly expensive place to travel, and rural highways are not dotted by restaurants or convenience stores.
- The rooms don’t have curtains—and that’s part of the appeal. If sleeping in is important to you, consider bringing a sleep mask along.
- Ask for tips from the hotel and other travelers. We were offered guidance on a great hike to take, less than a 30 minute drive from the hotel.
- Research your travel in advance, particularly if you opt to drive or want to connect via drive-on ferries.