In the secluded fjord hamlet of Øye, a hotelier jewel from the olden times, when traveling meant introspective discovery, long days of reading, and hiking adventures in tweed. It has been a place where visitors come to savor the good life and the tranquility in magnificent surroundings since 1891.
As you take in the ambience you will be amazed by the historical facts surrounding each of the individually designed rooms. They are all named after the notables who have stayed here; we hope you will be inspired by all those famous writers, mountaineers, artists, and royals you will hear and read about. Enjoy the taste of the fjords in our restaurants and listen to old exciting stories from times gone by, shared by the fireplace after dinner. The bed where you’ll sleep is truly fit for a King or Queen - we know because it has been so.
Cradled between steep mountains, in sight of the quiet fjord, the hotel is an island of comfort in a fairytale land of adventure. Within minutes of the front door, you’ll find hikes gentle enough to marvel at the details of nature and wild enough to make your adrenaline yell out loud.
In 1887, Christian Thams - a Norwegian architect, industrialist and diplomat - experienced an event that would change the path of his business life; on the early morning of the 23rd of February, a violent earthquake shook the Italian and French Riviera where he lived, claiming 600 lives mainly due to the collapse of mortar and brick buildings. He believed that such a tragedy would have been prevented if the building practices of Norway, with its half-timbered houses, were used and thus decided to start, from his architectural practice in Nice, selling the prefabricated houses built by his family’s company M. Thams & Co., in Norway.
These novel types of prefabricated houses caught the attention of Adolf Schieldrop when he visited the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris. His family ran the Schieldrops Hotel in Ålesund and, looking into diversifying locations and being a keen adept of the Sunnmøre Alps with little regard for the hardships of the remarkably short summers, Adolf decided - together with his partner Stub - to buy two of Thams buildings to use as hotels, one for Øye and another for Geiranger
The arrival, in 1891, of the building via the Hjørundfjord on a ship was thence the foundation of what became - over decades and later centuries - a unique and storied collection of friendships, adventures, traditions and experiences, across generations, nationalities and social hierarchies: The Union Øye.
It has lived through turns of centuries, surviving the devastation of world wars and the hardships of financial collapses, outliving the follies of novelty-hungry - and now dated - architectural trends.
The combination of exquisite comfort and exclusive location attracted people like Charles Watson Patchell and William Cecil Slingsby, who made the Alps of Sunnmøre their summer climbing playgrounds - the word of the homeliness, comfort and adventure to be had in Øye carried across Europe, and the hotel became the chosen destination of notables and nobility. The porridge that fed these summer adventurers is still served, to this day, at the hotel - a local recipe with whole milk, pure butter, some salt, some sugar and a lot of tradition.
The walls of Union Øye have silently witnessed many personal wonders. And still do.
The fjords were then, like now, attractive waterways for the yachts of the vacationing wealthy. Once moored in Øye, a quick walk would open the doors to a new world - there were few houses, small farms, healthy and rugged people, curious and welcoming of these tourists that came for what Norway offers with ease: unspoiled nature, unique culture, ever-changing weather, and local culinary traditions.
In Union Øye, Karen Blixen hiked the mountains and wrote books, Nobel prize winners like Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson recited their poems to friends in the salon, Edvard Grieg played and composed on the salon’s piano, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle twisted and wove novel plots for his Sherlock Holmes stories. Every two years, from 1890 to 1908, the Emperor Wilhelm II vacationed in Union Øye - events still quietly celebrated in local history.
The moment you enter, you will be flooded by signs of time and layers of comfort - the creaks of the wood, the walls speckled with bits and pieces of climbing gear from bygone times, the rows and lines of photos from the adventurers of the heyday. There’s a grand piano in the salon that, to this day, seems poised to be the center of your holiday’s musical entertainment. One of our hands is the pianist-at-hand, ready to continue the Hotel’s musical tradition - Union Øye has seen many historical musical soireés and will see many more. The Hotel’s director is a trained classical singer. In a typically Norwegian manner, all people you’ll meet will be richly multifaceted, shaped both by the rugged mountains and by what is reputedly one of the most comfortable modern life-styles in the planet.
The rooms are named after the distinguished guests who elected Union Øye to spend their summers, when they came to be far away from the bustle of cities while skirting the sea fog that often afflicts the vacationers on the coast... as well as far away from Europe's scorching heat. Here you can go out into nature in pleasant summer temperatures, dip your foot in the fjord, carry yourself up the mountain. Mountain hikes, hunts, fishing trips, long hours for reading, quiet hours for music listening, enjoying the ultimate luxury that time is. Can you hear the whispered call?