Flamsbrygga Hotell – Flam, Norway
PO Box 44
5742 Flåm, Norway
Tel: +47 57 63 20 50
Let me just get it out of the way: I loved Flåm. LOVED it. Some places just FEEL good – comfortable, or maybe comforting. Flåm, Bruges, Florence – these are places I want to return to one day, not necessarily to see more sights but just to experience again.
Flåm is a tiny village, at the end of an arm of the Sognefjord. It’s a tourist destination, where cruise ships dock and people flock to ride the Flåm railway, reportedly one of the steepest tracks in the world. We were there for two days and one night in late May, not peak season but toward the end of Spring, so we experienced gorgeous weather without quite as many tourists. We arrived as part of the Norway in a Nutshell experience, which isn’t so much a tour as a planned and coordinated use of public transportation. Flåm felt very relaxed to me – not a hidden or unknown spot, but still beautiful and peaceful. Perhaps a longer visit (or a visit in the middle of August) would illicit a different response, but I thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
We stayed at Flåmsbrygga Hotell, which has an associated pub/brewery, restaurant and cafe. The hotel is right beside the dock and train station, and as we pulled in on the ferry I recognized it from the pictures on the internet. It’s kind of modern/rustic, looking like a large beautiful wooden lodge. The reception staff was polite upon check-in, and we easily found our room, # 303. It was smallish, cute, with a nice bathroom, (shower, no hair dryer), a comfortable bed, table with two chairs, coffee/tea kettle, free internet access, and the pièce de résistance – a lovely balcony facing the water. Overall impression of the room was quite positive.
After an afternoon excursion with Fjord Safari, we returned for dinner. There were not many choices, and we opted for the dinner buffet at the hotel’s restaurant. It was neither the best nor the worst buffet we had in Norway. Full disclosure: by that time in our trip I was growing a bit weary of Norwegian buffets; a lot of dried cod and trout and random other salted/smoked/cured fish, often in mystery sauces. I was well over it. Dessert was great, and generally was my favorite part of the Norwegian buffets we ate, because a) the Norwegian fondness for making desserts with cream and butter seemed to rival my grandmother’s, and b) there was no dried fish involved. Perhaps if it had been the first buffet I had eaten in Norway, I would have enjoyed it more. The waiter was fine, although somewhat inattentive, but that too seemed par for the course in Norway based upon my limited experience. We probably should have eaten at the Aegir Brewpub, which was our next stop.
The atmosphere at the brewpub was cozy, with a particularly welcoming fire pit in the center of the room. They clearly put a lot of thought into the architecture and decor, and it was nicely done.
They were keen to sell us the flight of beers, but we went with an IPA, which was decent, and an Amber, which was very good. It was far preferable to the all-too-prevalent Hansa we found elsewhere in Norway, and it was interesting to see the brewery on premises, visible through glass.
The crowd wasn’t large, but was friendly. The only thing out of place was a pompous gentleman who behaved as if he owned the place (perhaps he did, or perhaps he was merely obnoxious). We didn’t speak with him but he was talking loudly to another man, and they were both acting incredibly pretentious. It was weird, because his demeanor didn’t at all fit with the general ambiance of the place, and the other couple sitting near us at the fire pit noticed as well. We enjoyed a couple of drinks and retired for the evening.
I slept well, even sleeping a little late the next day in the comfy bed. The breakfast buffet (yep) was included, so we gave it a try. It was admittedly toward the end of the allotted breakfast time, but the buffet was fairly sparse and unattended. Perhaps it was better earlier in the morning. Check out was easy and our bags were stowed while we walked to see the Flåm Church before boarding the train in late afternoon.
The people we encountered working at the hotel were pleasant, the location is perfect and the room had a gorgeous view from the balcony. All in all, I would likely stay here again, and would spend more than one night so that we might get more of a feel for the place.
Stayed: May 27-28, 2010
Current rate for standard double room with breakfast: Approximately $298 in USD
(price quoted is per company website at the time of writing; rates vary)