Herangtunet Boutique Hotel, a hidden gem in the deep forest

Herangtunet Boutique Hotel, a hidden gem in the deep forest of Norway, is a family-run design hotel only 2 hours and 45 min drive from Oslo Airport. Herangtunet is surrounded by picturesque forests and lakes, that guests may enjoy, having the stunning wilderness and changes of each season on your doorstep. When you need to retreat from your Norwegian adventure, the stylish hotel, surprisingly boldly decorated, offers a luxurious accommodation.

The traditional Norwegian timber house has been decorated in a most contemporary style. Each room is designed in a unique style inspired by various cities and countries from around the world.
With a popular and cosy hotel restaurant with a wood-burning stove, serving Nordic fusion cuisine, you are set for a unforgettable stay. Oh… Did I mention they have a Finish sauna and a hot tub? Other active you may try includes fishing, hiking and canoeing. Or just read a book and enjoy the fresh air.
See more (like the less exciting bits like room rates etc…) at herangtunet.com

SPA, skiing and relaxation at Norefjell SPA and Resort Norway

As the winter season in Norway is at its peak, with lots of snow combined with glorious sunshine, I’m off for the weekend.

Located only 1h 30m from Oslo, Norefjell offers a ski circus of 13 lifts and 24 slopes for all levels. Norefjell SPA and Resort is a Ski in Ski out hotel, situated in the sunny part of the mountain. The hotel serves food and drink in the lobby, in the pizzeria and in the a’la carte restaurant. Of activities, when not enjoying the stunning nature, the hotel has a gym, swimming pool and a 16 meter tall climbing wall.
There’s also a SPA, where you may book a treatment or simply enjoy the outdoor jacuzzi -with a glass of prosecco in hand.
Norefjell SPA and Resort Norwayhogevarde_norefjell
Norefjell Spa and Resort Boeseter Norge

Norwegian airlines with prices from £39 one way. Prices and booking at norefjellsparesort.no

See the Northern Lights from the Igloo Village in Lapland

The Hotel Kakslauttanen is a village of igloos, log cabins, farmer log house, restaurants and saunas. Magically set in the midst of Lapland of the Urho Kekkonen National Park, this is the ultimate holiday destination for anyone seeking the Nordic nature.

Only open in winter, there’s traditional snow igloo or a unique futuristic glass igloo, where you can admire the northern lights under the glass ceiling in the comfort of indoor cozy room temperature. Igloo Village is also home to a snow chapel and an ice bar both built every winter. The Igloo Village is open from December/January and until the end of April. Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible from late August to late April. kakslauttanen.fi

Other activities include husky safaris, snowmobile treks, reindeer rides and ice-fishing trips, downhill skiing as well as guided cross country ski tours. The Hotel Kakslauttanen is located only a short bus transfer from the Ivalo Airport.

The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant, Port Appin Scotland

So on the sunniest day in a very long time we decided to head out of London and head up North, to Scotland. A night in the Pierhouse Hotel in Port Appin, a small coastal village, 20 minutes North of Oban, awaited us. The drive through England was okay but as soon as we’d passed Glasgow the scenery changed enormously with deep loch’s, high mountaintops, narrow roads and occasionally a Scottish castle. Highest peek being Glencoe was amazing, and even though we didn’t do it I do recommend leaving time to stop here, for a trip up with the lift to the top of the mountain. Then after passing Glencoe it’s down a beautiful valley before you reach the sea, the famous landmark the Castle Stalker and not long after Port Appin.

The Pierhouse Hotel used to be the resident of the Pier Master when Port Appin was a thriving port. Today the original building next to the pier is housing a fantastic family run hotel and seafood restaurant.

We arrived in the evening and were greeted by one of the welcoming and frindly owners, Nikki. After checking in we were shown to our room, a beautiful light and spacious room decoarted in neutral colours, with a functional, sleek and modern bathroom. But what was really breathtaking with the room was the stunning seaview; Peppled beach and the pier stretching out into the bright blue glittering sea, boats passing by and tall majestic mountain tops in a far distance.

After freshening up we decided to have a pre drink on the terrace, with a pleasant 25 degrees and a mild sea breeze outside, to enjoy the sunset. The fresh air in this place is fantastic, and as soon as you sit down you feel relaxed and actually switched off -which is a wonderful feeling when your everyday life is rather hectic.

After finishing our drinks we were then showed to a nice table by the window in the restaurant by our waiter for the evening. Seafood is a obvious choice in this restaurant but they do offer meat and vegetarian dishes as well. However we decided to enjoy their specialities. He had the soup of the day and I had crab cakes as a starter, then for mains he had Monkfish whilst I choose to have the Seabream. A bottle of nicely chilled Sancerre accompanied the meal. The crab cakes tasted of salty sea and summer and the seabream, a firm-fleshed white fish was cooked to perfection. For dessert we considered both the Scottish cheeses and the the cheescake but landed on sharing a tasty sticky toffee pudding.

Now, I’m by no means a professional food critic. But being from Scandinavia you do know your seafood. And the seabream I had in The Pierhouse Seafood restaurant is arguably one of best tasting fish I’ve ever had. It was so fresh and so beautifully cooked that I was left totally swoon! Excellent service throughout the meal also ensured a perfect and very romantic dining experience.
We finished of our evening in the hotel bar with a night cap. And we truly enjoyed chatting to the local staff and other guests both from far away and local. The summer night and moonlight invited to a midnight stroll on the beach -Think Scotland was really showing off on this particular evening!

We woke up after a good nights sleep the next morning to another beautiful sunny day. It was remarkable quiet, no people nor cars, not a sound! The bed was very comfortable so I felt well rested and ready for a new day. Breakfast was served from 8am and we were of the first guests to arrive in the restaurant. We choose a round table with a stunning panoramic view, sat down and enjoyed being served coffee, toast, scrambled egg and tasty locally smoked salmon. He went for the Scottish breakfast including haggis!
Then when you are all set for new adventures there’s lots of activities to choose from when staying at the Pierhouse Hotel; Kayaking, bicycling, horse riding, boat trips, bird watching etc -that is if you choose to do something rather than just relax; Have a lie in, then breakfast served in the room, moving on to the terrace for some more coffee and perhaps read the newspaper, followed by a leisurely stroll on the beach whilst watching the boat life, admire the scenery, cooling down by dipping your toes in the crystal clear water whilst the chefs from the restaurant are securing todays specialities.

We truly enjoyed our stay, although a bit short as we had to leave for a wedding in Edinburgh the next day. But we are already planning to go back, for a long weekend next time. Also considering taking the train from London to Fort William, then go by rental car down the coast to Port Appin. The train journey is relaxing with sleeping coaches. And the last bit of the journey, from Fort William will only take you about an hour. Alternatively fly to Glasgow, then go up North by rental car which takes you about 2 hours.
The weather on the East Coast is known for being mild but wet. So do bring wellies and rain gear to make sure you get to enjoy the outdoors. Then if it is raining you always have the steaming hot Finnish sauna to look forward to when arriving back at the hotel after an active day out. And not to mention the beautfully cooked meals served in the restaurant!

Useful Links
The Pierhose Hotel
Visit Scotland
Glencoe Mountain Resort