Photo: Hotel Alexandra
Fjord Tours Articles / 25 Nov 2020

The Lesser Known History of Loen’s Hotel Alexandra

Hotel Alexandra is a family-run hotel located in the inner reaches of Nordfjord renowned for its distinctive, personal atmosphere. Centuries-old traditions have been combined with modern hotel operations and an eye for style and comfort to provide for guests from all over the world.

Anders Markusson Loen opened "Loen's Hotell" in the inner reaches of Nordfjord in 1884, and made room for 20 overnight guests. The year after, Bruce Kvamme opened "Kvamme's Hotell" at a neighboring site, but both of them were almost bankrupt after a few years.

The son of Anders, Markus Loen, came home from America in ca 1889 together with his Swedish wife Ida. With their savings, they set the economy straight and some years later they bought "Kvamme's Hotell".

The hotel changed its name to Hotel Alexandra in ca 1892 after the Princess Alexandra of Denmark married a prince who would later become King Edward VII of England (at this time the hotel was very popular with English tourists who visited on the early cruise ships).

Photo: Hotel Alexandra

Hotel Alexandra was enlarged several times before the Second World War, and became one of the largest tourist hotels in Western Norway until the Kjendal Restaurant was taken by the flood wave during the 1936 Loen disaster.

In 1936, a huge mass of rock dislodged from Mt. Ramnefjell. With a mass of one million tonnes/cubic meters the resulting 70 meter high tidal wave swept away all the farms around Loenvatnet lake destroying anything and everything in its wake.

Extensive rescue efforts were instigated. Health personnel and rescue workers flocked to the rescue, and many of the injured were sent to the newly-opened Nordfjord hospital at Nordfjordeid.

To date, this is the biggest natural disaster to have affected Norway in the modern era. Crown Prince Olav of Norway attended the funeral service in Loen Church for those who perished.

Hoven Loen Photo by Espen Haagensen_HovenLoen.jpg
Photo: Espen Haagesen/HovenLoen

Stay at the Hotel and Enjoy the Surroundings

Despite this tragic event the hotel survives today and continues to thrive and attract people to the area. Norwegian tourists have replaced the English as the most represented nation now booking nights. The hotel now offers indoor and outdoor swimming areas, featuring a waterslide, and luxurious baths and spa treatments.

It has invested heavily in the construction of Loen Skylift which opens a wonderland of mountain trails to explore and panoramic views to enjoy all year round.

BD 4068
Photo: Loen Skylift

Hotel Alexandra provides the perfect base to venture a little further afield as it is located between Olden in the South and Stryn to the North.

Rated among the best cruise ship destinations in the world the beautiful little village of Olden is the doorway to Europe’s largest mainland glacier and it is somewhat surprising to us that this area is often overlooked by foreign tourists.

With picturesque surroundings and friendly locals, we definitely recommend a visit. Hiking and kayaking are two of the most popular ways to explore here. Bus tours, RIB Safari, and glacier walks are also possible. Nearby Olden you can find Jostedalsbreen National Park Centre. It is worth a visit and the friendly staff will take you back in time to the ice age with everything you could possibly want to know about glaciers.

Foto Martin Lødemel 007 (29.07.19)
Photo: Martin Lødemel

Stryn to the North is a bit of a Mecca to Norwegian skiers boasting impressive snow conditions in both winter and summer.

The Stryn Summer Ski Centre, situated 1,065 meters above sea level, is the most famous summer ski center in Northern Europe. To ski in the warm sun with temperatures well above zero, only wearing a pair of shorts or a bikini, really is a special experience.

The ski center is located by the Norwegian Scenic Route Gamle Strynefjellsvegen (completed in 1894) – a masterpiece of road-building and engineering. The stretch represents a piece of Norwegian natural history as the only way of passage between Skjåk and Stryn during most of the last century.

Nordfjord_Floen ved Olden_©Øyvind Heen.jpg
Photo: Øyvind Heen