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“Fabulous!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Balestrand Hotel

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Balestrand Hotel
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Balestrand
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fabulous!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2014 via mobile

We loved this hotel! The owners were wonderfully helpful with boat, bus and train info as we were doing the Nutshell fjord trip on our own. Breakfast was great, our room was spotless and our view of the fjords from our room was spectacular! The town of Balestrand is so lovely!

Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank wlstone599
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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365 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (117)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
107 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 206 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2014

My husband and I were in Norway for 10 days and stayed in room 208 at the Balestrand Hotel for 2 nights in May 2014.

The hotel is not open year round - they open up in May. They have their own website with full details. If you let them know when you are coming they will meet you at the ferry dock. It is not very far from the dock to the hotel but it is nice not to have to haul your luggage.

The car was at the dock waiting for us. We had them take our luggage and then walked around the village a bit and then to the hotel.

The proprietress was very nice, friendly and helpful. She answered all of our questions and is extremely knowledgeable of the area and gave us some hiking suggestions. Her teenage daughter does the breakfast in the morning and was also very nice.

The Room:
Spend the few extra bucks and get a balcony room. The view is fantastic looking out over the fjord. You could just sit there and count the ferries going by all day :) The rooms that don't have one face the back toward the mountains.

See pics. Two twin beds together make a queen (this is standard across Europe). Desk, 2 sitting chairs, small wardrobe. No mini bar, electronic safe, air conditioning (none of our Norway hotels had these). Room Darkening Curtains - this is important as the sun does not really go down in the spring / summer. It "set" at 10:30 but was not completely dark - like twilight - and then "rose" again at about 4:30.

Internet: Wifi in the room was super fast compared to what we get in the US

TV: There is no tv or phone in the room. You aren't really traveling all this way to spend your time watching tv anyways, right? There is a tv in the lobby if you find yourself going through withdrawals :)

Balcony: has partitions between rooms and two chairs and a table.

Bathroom: Bathtub and shower

Breakfast: standard for a small European hotel. When you come down they ask if you want hard or soft boiled eggs. Breads, jams, meat, cheese, cereal, muesli, yogurts, coffee, tea. There are 2 grocery stores in town (Coop and Joker) if you need something else.

Hiking: we took trail 7B to Balastolen - it is an intermediate trail with great views and benches and a picnic table at Orrabenken stop. The trail goes up to 435 meters / 1400 feet. The trail head is at the school in town, walkable from the hotel. As it was May there was still snow at 600m so you would need to be properly equipped to do the red expert trails. The hotel has a shoe dryer if yours get all wet while hiking.

Stave Church: St Olaf's church is a wood stave style church built in 1897 is next to the hotel. It has beautiful craftsmanship. You can go in and enter and take a look around as they leave the door open. Volunteer clergy comes into town and provides services on Sundays.

Grave Mound of King Bele - down the road to the right are two grave mounds that date back to 400 AD. There is a statue and a sign explaining it in English.

Restaurants: We ate at Gekkens both nights as I am a vegan (vegetarian, no dairy or eggs) and it was the only place in town I could get something - steamed veggies, potato, bread, salad. My husband had the salmon dinner which he said was fresh and excellent.

The village is not that large but very scenic. We wandered around in the evenings and took pictures. You can also rent bicycles and go for a ride out of town.

Overall: The hotel is good value for the money. Clean, great view, and friendly owners. We are thinking of coming back next year in May but a week earlier to hit the Balestrand Jazz Festival and will definitely stay here again if we do.

For those not used to traveling in Europe / Norway:
1) Rooms are smaller than in the US
2) Hotel ratings are different - generally a 4 star hotel in Europe would be 3 or 3.5 star in the US
3) Bathrooms usually have a shower or a bathtub but not usually both. If you have a preference check before you book
4) Queen / Double beds are two twins pushed together. The hotel can organize the room two different ways then depending on what is requested
5) Duvets are separate for each person - not one big one. Great if one of you is always hot and the other always cold
6) Pillows are flat - you'll have to double them over to prevent your head from hitting the mattress.
7) Common US breakfast foods are not usually served except maybe at larger chain hotels (oatmeal, pancakes, waffles). Eggs are usually hard boiled or scrambled - not omelettes.
8) In Norway most people speak English very well - so no worries about communications.
9) In Norway food and drink are very expensive compared to the USA. A pint of beer is $10-13, a half liter of soda is $5, a glass of wine is $13 to $17. Entrees in an average restaurant run $25. Things are about half price at the grocery store. If you're on a budget breakfast is included, get groceries and make sandwiches for lunch and then eat dinner out.
10) European public transit is very nice, clean, pleasant and efficient. If the schedule says 12:02 the train leaves at 12:02 so don't run late as it will already be gone!

Have a great time on your trip!

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NYC-Canuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Anacortes, Washington
Level Contributor
23 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 May 2014 via mobile

Nice, clean, basic room. Nothing fancy, but I felt it was a very good value. My room was very clean and comfortable.

The family that runs the hotel is about as friendly as you can find. On check in, I was advised of everything I would find within walking distance and provided with a map. Guests were met at the boat landing, and luggage was transported to the hotel. The walk to the hotel takes only a few minutes, and was nice after a day riding in trains and a boat.

I was looking forward to some quiet down time, so this was the perfect place for me. The hotel (and town) were nice and quiet. I enjoyed walking around town, and had the best sleep of my trip here.

Do yourself a favor and book a fjord side room - the view from the balcony is amazing. I sat and watched porpoises in the fjord in front of the hotel!

Stayed May 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank MVJollyMon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai
Level Contributor
33 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2014

We had read great reviews about this friendly, family run hotel, so this is where we chose to stay when we stopped overnight at Balestrand on a tour of the Sognefjord in September last year. We had paid extra for a room with a view of the fjord, and not only is this worthwhile, it is probably the only reason to stay at this hotel. From the balcony of a very uninspiring looking low-rise block you get a magnificent view of this arm of the Sognefjord and the mountains and the unending skyscape. Very dramatic (or peaceful depending on the weather) and always beautiful.

The hotel itself is very basic. The rooms are small and have simple furniture and fittings. No wifi, no fridge or kettle. But there is a computer with internet in the lovely lounge-cum-library on the ground floor with big picture windows – the best area in the hotel to relax apart from our balcony. Breakfast was adequate (we were not informed of the eggs-to-order option that was available so I had to make do with hard-boiled eggs while my husband discovered it just in time to get a nice omelette). There is no restaurant in the hotel so you have to go to the restaurants at the pier (mostly closed at this season) or to another hotel to dine . We were too tired so just bought some food and wine from the supermarket and had a relaxed meal on our balcony. Even at night, the view and the overall atmosphere was stunning.

We had read about the friendly hospitality of our host couple who run this hotel, but we did not experience it ourselves. While the gentleman gave us the information we asked for regarding visits in the area, he was a bit dour and his wife was mainly absent. But they did allow us a late check out and they did pick up and drop off our luggage at the pier which is part of their service and much appreciated as it’s a bit of a walk to the hotel with luggage.

All in all, the stunning balcony view compensated for the average-ness of our overall experience.

Room Tip: Definitely pay for a fjord-view room ... otherwise its not worth it.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AgeOfAquarius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pennington, NJ
Level Contributor
344 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 April 2014

We were met at the boat by the owner with a car for our baggage-a nice amenity. He is American and his wife is Norwegian. She is very friendly and he is a bit sardonic. We were put off by the really 50's concrete motel vibe as we drew near and the rooms are functional at best. They are very clean, but this is no spa. It works and it works even better because we had asked for a view of the water (pay extra for it!) and it was lovely. We spent so much time on the verandah staring out at the great view, Breakfast was fine. I asked to borrow a converter for my computer and the owner acted as though I had asked for his firstborn. I can understand that the inadvertent forgetting to return such items can add up, but a smile might help. (I did return it.) I don't regret staying here at all.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Altonmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 March 2014

Stayed here in July, 2013 for one night. Wanted the experience of staying in the fjords, and this is a great spot not far from Flam (we took train from Bergen to Myrdal, then Flamsbana down to Flam, then boat to Balestrand, which made for a nice, scenic day trip). Upon arriving at the dock, someone from the hotel meets you and takes your luggage, leaving you to enjoy the short walk unencumbered. Along the way you pass St. Olaf's Church (the English church) built in the 1800s in the traditional stave church style.

Our room with balcony was in the newer section of the hotel, and despite the cloudy weather, we sat out and enjoyed a drink and the scenery for a long while after arriving. The room and bathroom were SPOTLESS which one appreciates so much when traveling. Simple furnishings keep the emphasis on the beauty outside.

This is a family-run establishment, and all members of the family whom we met were most helpful! The suggestion to eat at the Ciderhuset was great, and they made a reservation for us and explained how to get there. The walk from the hotel to the restaurant was most pleasant, affording views of villas in the dragon style, the fjord, fields, etc.

Breakfast was on the simple side, but more than adequate (we were spoiled by our hotel in Trondheim that offered "the best breakfast in Norway").

A very pleasant stopping point in your journey!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Travelling_Teacher10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Huntington, New York
Level Contributor
37 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 December 2013

A warm friendly place, clean spacious rooms with the staff going out of its way to help. Only breakfast available. We went bike riding around the fjord as well as rowing in it. Visited a Viking burial mound as well as viewing the uniquely designed architecture of the small homes. The view of the snow capped mountains as background for the fjord during the summer was a major facet of the stay.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Marvg13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Balestrand Hotel

Property: Balestrand Hotel
Address: Kong Beles veg 41, Balestrand 6899, Norway
Region: Norway > Western Norway > Sogn og Fjordane > Balestrand
Amenities:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Balestrand
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:1 star — Balestrand Hotel 1*
Number of rooms: 30
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