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A hotel with an exceptional view

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Perched above Kvinesdal is a hotel where the staff truly sees you—while as a guest you can discover that simply staring out of the window is one of the best things in life.

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“Hi, and welcome to Utsikten Hotell,” Agnes Berntsen says with a smile.

She sits casually lounging in the lobby on a red sofa while wearing a neon yellow track jacket from Moods of Norway; all the same, she warmly greets two newly arrived guests in the reception area.

“I have taken off my hotel manager uniform. If I wear it all the time, I will get weary of it. But it is me who owns this hotel. That is why I say ‘hi’,” she explains, and the conversation has begun.

“Seeing the guests—for the duration of their stay—is so simple, but incredibly important for the experience,” Agnes says before her eye once again catches a guest in need of assistance.

“Are you looking for the coffee? It is right over there, feel free to help yourself.”

“Seeing the guests—for the duration of their stay—is so simple, but incredibly important for the experience"

Agnes Berntsen

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Like Coming Home

The fact that Utsikten Hotell Kvinesdal offers personal service of the highest quality is something Jorunn Kari Stava can attest to. She has walked out to the edge of the observation deck to admire the view that has given the hotel its name.

In front of her, Fedafjorden and the river Kvina flows like a long, glimmering ribbon towards the sea, nestled between steep, forest draped hills.

“I can also see the view from the balcony and my room. But I still have to come out here and admire it. Every time,” says the Karmøy resident, who has visited Utsikten Hotell Kvinesdal so many times that she almost counts it as coming home. Last year alone she visited three times.

“We feel looked after here. Agnes walks around and asks if we need anything. This morning we were going for a hike in Hidreskog. She greeted us with cups of coffee and ice cream Who else does that?” she exclaims, and confirms what we can already sense:

That is why we return. Time and time again. They also have really good, locally produced food here.”

Hotel for 3.63 NOK

The first hotel on the ledge above Kvinesdal opened in 1932, with five rooms on the upper floor and two divans in the stateroom. In the ‘60s it was expanded with a motel, a Texaco station, and a cafeteria; and in 1979 a brand-new hotel wing was ready alongside what was E18 at the time.

Aside from the view, the hotel today has little in common with its predecessors. It is beautiful and modern, and the construction cost 110 million NOK back in 2009.

“Madness,” Agnes ascertains regarding the investment and continues:

“Had they called me and asked, I would have said: ‘don’t do it!’”

Even still, she has overseen the formerly unprofitable establishment since 2017. And two years ago, she became the sole proprietor of the hotel with the best view in the valley. Back then, the cost was a lot nicer: The two companions each received one NOK each for their stocks, something which values the whole kit and caboodle at an astounding 3.63 NOK.

“The alternative would have been bankruptcy. And I will not have a bankruptcy attached to my resume. That is not an option to me!” proclaims Agnes Berntsen, confident that she will be able to recreate what she accomplished at Strand Hotel Fevik and Hotell Jæren: create profitability.

The hotel is modern and welcoming with a great atmosphere.

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The breakfast buffet

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Outside stans Tjodolfr from Kvinesdal overlooking the fjord.

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Many Locally Produced Experiences

The hotel manager ascertains that the hotel has every qualifications necessary to succeed.

The location is one thing: Historical Feda hides just behind a promontory in the fjord. And even closer by, you can find abundant hiking possibilities, the new Kvinabadet, and a golf course that has been elected to Norway’s golf gem.

The latter offers completely extraordinary experiences, says the former golf pro Eirik Tage Johansen, who now is the general manager of Utsikten Golfklubb,

“Most golf courses are built in sensible locations. But here, you are amidst forests, mountains, and hills. The reward is a fun course that feels like you are in the middle of nature. Curious moose calves chew on the golf flags in the night, and sometimes you can see deer while you play,” he says.

Less than an hour’s drive away you can also find everything from Lindesnes Lighthouse and the outports in Loshavn, and Korshamn to the Dutch Quarter and railway tricycling in Flekkefjord, the Lista beaches, the mine and Via Ferrata at Knaben, and the horizontal giant’s caldrons at Brufjellhulene.

Scenic Feda is only a short ride away.

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If you are into heights you can admire the fantastic Fedafjord from Via Ferrata Knaben

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Via Ferrata Knaben .
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And as Many Locally Produced Flavors

Agnes Berntsen also ascertains that the latest success factor is in place: the co-workers.

“I am surrounded by a winner team right now,” she says.

“One of the key people is chef Michael Reimer, who right now has taken a trip out to the hotel’s own herb garden. There he can go and pick out anything from classics such as mint and thyme to flavorful flowers you cannot find in any regular store, such as lovage and borage.

“We also have connections with local farmers. Locally produced food is not a stamp of quality in itself, but we are lucky enough to have some incredible raw materials in the area,” he says.

A little later he puts a plate with some of the tasty treats down on one of the restaurant tables. This is sausage from NICO downtown, vegetables from Lista, Rødlin cheese from the southern country farm Tjamsland which won silver in the world championship, and . . .

The flavor is divine. Just like the view through the window deserves.

Text and photo: Gjermund Glesnes.

Chef Michael Reimer collects herbs from the herb garden.

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Locally produced food is on the menu.

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"i have a dream team around me now" 

Agnes Berntsen

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Utsikten burger tastes heavenly. Just like the view deserves.

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