Friday, May 04, 2007

Where Hamsun wrote Segelfoss By

A story of a hotel

These last days I have been to Bodø, in the North of Norway, on business. During these two days, I have stayed at Clarion Collection Grand Hotel. This hotel dates back at least a hundred years, and has a very interesting history.

Sadly, much of the history of the hotel and the city has been lost, due to the senseless German bombing of Bodø on May 27th 1940. But the hotel has numerous pictures displayed throughout the building telling its long history. At the reception you'll find a mirror that survived the dramatic day in 1940 and the old marble columns are also pre war details.

One of the most famous guests at the hotel was the Norwegian Noble Price Laureate Knut Hamsun. He stayed here in 1916, and wrote one of his works here. In Segelfoss by he describes the industrialization of an old feudal society.

Another charming story is told of Sarah Nielsen, called the Grand Dame of Grand hotel. She came to Bodø to marry as a young woman, and she became an important figure in Bodø, both as leader of the Conservative womens assocation and head of Bodø Discussion Club.

The hotel today

The hotel is today a Choice Hotel, belonging to one of the large hotel chains in Norway. The new wing of the hotel (image), completed just before World War 2, miraculously survived the bombing raid of May 27th, and a new addition was added just after the war.

The hotel has now been renovated and has a beautiful, clean interior. I particularly loved the very light and airy rooms with beautiful hardwood floors. What may confuse you is the charming difference of levels of the pre-war wing and the newer part. As the hotel is placed in a hill, the difference of elevation means that my room, number 360, was situated at the same level as the 5th floor on the other wing. As the hotel lift was very slow, I particularly enjoyed using the staircase. On one level you found yourself on a bridge between the wings overlooking both the dining area and the reception area.

The staff is kind and service minded, and I will look back on my stay at the Grand Hotel in Bodø as a very nice hotel experience.

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