Kviknes Hotel, Balestrand

A grandiose hotel in Balestrand with old-world charm and stunning fjord views.

Overview

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).

Kimkim's Take

Lilly
Lilly Graves kimkim staff
Based on kimkim staff visit, August 2022 (Learn more)
Pros  
  • 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.
Cons
  • 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 Lilly

Arriving 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. 

Authenticity

History 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. 

Location

The 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 & Bathrooms

Most 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 Highlights

Fjord 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.

Hotel Information

Hotel stars icon 4-star Hotel
Hotel phone icon +47 57694200
Hotel address icon Kviknevegen 8

Traveler Reviews

21 total ratings, 19 with reviews
4.7 out of 5
Feature ratings
Authenticity & Character
4.8
Location
5.0
Staff
4.6
Cleanliness & Comfort
4.5
S
Shoshana S.
Manhattan, NY | Reviewed on Oct 06, 2023
Beautiful views of Ballestrand and lots of character. Room was spacious and there was a great dinner spread! Read more

Beautiful views of Ballestrand and lots of character. Room was spacious and there was a great dinner spread!

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in September 2023
Anita
Anita H.
Batavia, NY | Reviewed on Oct 06, 2023
The setting is beautiful. It takes you back in time.... Read more

The setting is beautiful. It takes you back in time....

Authenticity & Character
Location
The view from our room was lovely. You can walk from the ferry to the hotel. You are in walking distance to the center of this tiny village.
Staff
The receptionist (a 25-30 year old female) was very short with us. Not helpful with our basic questions. She appeared to be annoyed that we didn't know we were visiting "off season". She informed us that there were NO restaurants (other than the hotel) open in the off season. However, we did find Peter's Plass a Ukrainian restaurant and we had a great meal. We were surprised by her attitude, because everyone we had encountered thus far was very friendly.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in September 2023
Maurice
Maurice R.
Saint Cloud, MN | Reviewed on Sep 20, 2023
One of the best hotels we stayed in - Read more

One of the best hotels we stayed in -

Authenticity & Character
Location
Short walk to everywhere -
Staff
Helpful, attentive, friendly
Cleanliness & Comfort
Only problem, since we were in the "old" section was the lack of electric outlets. Staff loaned us an extension cord -
Stayed in September 2023
A
Amber S.
Kent, WA | Reviewed on Sep 17, 2023
This historic hotel does not disappoint. Amazing views, sitting rooms, buffet and restaurant. Balestrand is small and this hotel fits right in and is the best location being only a few steps from the waterfront and also an access points for other sites. Breathtaking views. Read more

This historic hotel does not disappoint. Amazing views, sitting rooms, buffet and restaurant. Balestrand is small and this hotel fits right in and is the best location being only a few steps from the waterfront and also an access points for other sites. Breathtaking views.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in September 2023
P
Paivi A.
Canada | Reviewed on Sep 15, 2023
Located conveniently by the water and docks to catch the ferries. Nice views.
A tad pricey.
Read more

Located conveniently by the water and docks to catch the ferries. Nice views.
A tad pricey.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in September 2023
P
Patricia T.
Two Harbors, MN | Reviewed on Sep 03, 2023
Loved this hotel with the amazing views and beautiful artwork Read more

Loved this hotel with the amazing views and beautiful artwork

Authenticity & Character
Location
The views of the fjord from our room
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in August 2023
DAVID
DAVID R.
Baltimore, MD | Reviewed on Aug 17, 2023
Charming hotel in a fjord village.
Clean. Small but usable shower. Friendly staff. Room was too warm.
Read more

Charming hotel in a fjord village.
Clean. Small but usable shower. Friendly staff. Room was too warm.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in July 2023
K
Kathryn G.
Wellesley, MA | Reviewed on Aug 06, 2023
Gorgeous views of the fjord. Wonderful deck outside to enjoy drinks and the views. Great service. We had fun swimming in the fjord near the hotel. Felt like a walk back in time. Read more

Gorgeous views of the fjord. Wonderful deck outside to enjoy drinks and the views. Great service. We had fun swimming in the fjord near the hotel. Felt like a walk back in time.

Authenticity & Character
Felt like a walk back in time.
Location
Beautiful spot on the fjord with tremendous views.
Staff
Very attentive staff.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in August 2023
B
bs w.
Ashburn, VA | Reviewed on Jul 24, 2023
Great Breakfast! Our room had wonderful views of the town and surrounding Fjord. The staff was friendly and very helpful. Easy walk from the ferry. Read more

Great Breakfast! Our room had wonderful views of the town and surrounding Fjord. The staff was friendly and very helpful. Easy walk from the ferry.

Authenticity & Character
Location
Staff
Cleanliness & Comfort
Stayed in July 2023
L
Lisa P.
Wilmington, NC | Reviewed on Jul 15, 2023
This is a wonderful hotel. The accommodations were perfect complete with a balcony for optimum views. The restaurants in the hotel were very good. There is plenty of outside seating at the hotel to enjoy all the views of the Sognefjord. I hope to come back…. Read more

This is a wonderful hotel. The accommodations were perfect complete with a balcony for optimum views. The restaurants in the hotel were very good. There is plenty of outside seating at the hotel to enjoy all the views of the Sognefjord. I hope to come back….

Authenticity & Character
The hotel has been around for hundreds of years. The furnishings and pictures were amazing!
Location
Convenience to the ferry and the wonderful views it has to offer.
Staff
Very helpful and friendly.
Cleanliness & Comfort
Rooms are clean and very well laid out to maximize space and comfort.
Stayed in July 2023