A grandiose hotel in Balestrand with old-world charm and stunning fjord views.
Surrounded by mountains and sea, 190-room Kviknes has been family-owned since 1877 and is still one of the largest and most famous hotels in the Sognefjord region. The historic wing is the highlight, with an impressive first floor decorated with original art and antiques, while a newer, less-attractive annex is where most of the guest rooms are located (though many are renovated). All guests have access to a scenic dining room with a well-stocked wine list—or opt for room service (a rarity in the fjords).
Lilly Graves kimkim staff
Based on kimkim staff visit, August 2022 (Learn more)
- Enjoy a 4th-generation, family-run hotel with elegant common spaces, a private art collection, and memorable fjord views.
- The hotel is within walking distance to Balestrand’s passenger ferry terminal with express service to Bergen, as well as galleries and a small aquarium.
- Most rooms on either side of the hotel have balconies with fjord views.
- A grand dining room serves international buffets and multi-course menus, while a bistro provides casual lunch and dinner options.
- Guests with mobility issues should request to stay in the newer section, which has elevators, versus the historic wing, which does not.
- The unattractive exterior of the newer wing might be a turnoff, but most of the rooms have been recently renovated as of 2022.
Additional Notes From LillyArriving at the Kviknes Hotel was a mixed experience for me since I parked next to the newer wing—a bit of an eyesore in the charming fjord town of Balestrand. All that changed as soon as I entered the original, more attractive wing, a short walk away, with bellhops and a uniformed front desk. I took a look through the first floor and explored the sitting rooms filled with art and antiques facing the fjord views. Guests seemed to have plenty of space to spread out both indoors and outside on the terrace and surrounding walking paths. The hotel manager who showed me around was eager to share the history of the original wing and made a point to tell me that many staff members have been working there for decades.
AuthenticityHistory buffs will appreciate the fact that the Kvikne family took over the hotel in 1877 and they still own it today. While it is still largely a hotel dedicated to leisure tourism, they have made significant modern updates to the rooms in the annex, as well as the conference facilities that have the ability to pull in large professional groups during the week. Whether you stay here or not, it seems impossible to visit Balestrand without at least a cup of tea, or something stronger, in the lounge—or perhaps dinner in the dining room. Either way gives you a chance to take a look around the old-world antiques and artwork that have been collected for four generations.
LocationThe hotel is located in Balestrand, a small fjord town of around 2,000 residents surrounded by stunning mountains on the Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. Guests can arrive by car on a beautiful scenic route that includes a car ferry in Dragsvik if arriving from the east. There’s also an express passenger ferry in Balestrand with daily crossings to and from Bergen (the hotel is a short walk from the ferry terminal). Balestrand itself can be experienced in a day with its walkable core offering art galleries, a museum, an aquarium, and a traditional stave church. Most guests choose to stay a few days to enjoy the area’s natural beauty with challenging hiking trails and fjord adventures. Free parking at the hotel is available.
Rooms & BathroomsMost of the hotel’s guest rooms (160) are located in the newer building that opened in 1965, though it’s an easy walk to get to the historic wing. Some might be turned off by the austere exterior of this building, but comfortable rooms have seating areas and private balconies with a glimpse of the mountains and/or fjord. Many floors (but not all) have been renovated in 2018 with fresh decor. In the historic wing, there are 30 rooms with old-world decor and patterned wallpapers—and many come with balconies facing the fjord. Sizes range from single rooms to family rooms with pullout sofas that can sleep four.
Other HighlightsFjord views are available from various common spaces in the hotel including the historic bar and lounge, and outdoor terrace. Complimentary breakfast buffets and dinner buffets or multi-course menus are served in the grandiose dining room every day and guests can peruse a wine list with more than 300 bottles. Lunch can be ordered at the bistro near the front desk where a small menu is served from 1 pm to 9 pm. There’s a small fitness center onsite as well as a souvenir gift shop. Organized activities in the area include wine tasting, cultural walks, and day trips ranging from fishing excursions to fjord cruises.