Norway Stayings: Luxury, Snow And Relaxation
Norway’s Storfjord Hotel uses time-tested methods to keep its guests cosy, with its log walls, turf roofs, fireplaces and shaggy blankets. From its hillside position, it looks over the namesake fjord, a Viking longboat ride (or car trip) in land from the port of Alesund. Cross the sea as Norse explorers did to get to Reykjavik, and you’ll find another warm welcome at Kex Hostel, set just back from the seafront of the Icelandic capital. The public spaces have a more vintage appeal than the bland exterior suggests, and its restaurant-bar is a destination in itself.
Further on across the Atlantic, the Scandinavian ice hotel concept has come to Canada, with the Hotel de Glace outside Quebec City. For three months, this frozen fantasy will sleep guests in room temperatures of around -4°C, with the aid of Arctic-standard sleeping bags. Wales is usually less frigid, but the tiny Y Bwthyn pub on the grounds of Fforest Farm is a cosy bolthole on any winter day. Set on 200 acres by the River Teifi near Cardigan, the site has a mix of tents, farmhouse rooms, cabins and golf-ball-like domes. Winters on the islands of Scotland’s west coast are milder than you might expect, thanks to the Gulf Stream. If the Isle of Mull experiences a cold snap though, hole up inside Glengorm Castle – a Scottish Baronial edifice looking out at the sea from the end of a single-track road. With the log fire in the lounge, guests should feel as insulated from the cold as the shaggy Highland cattle often seen on the grounds.
In the Alps meanwhile, skiers enjoy easy access to the slopes at Wiesergut in the Austrian resort of Saalbach-Hinterglemm. The hotel tones down the wooden chalet look of many of its neighbours, opting for a more contemporary Alpine aesthetic. Dialled one notch back towards the traditional, Huus Hotel is near the smart Swiss ski resort of Gstaad. ‘Huus’ means house in local dialect, and the rooms are comfortingly plush. For a mountain break with a difference, Georgia’s Caucasus is hard to beat. The Rooms Hotel Kazbegi stands in the shadow of Mount Kazbek – a 5,047m stratovolcano (long dormant). The former Soviet complex has been given an attractive, lifestyle-hotel makeover.