Once upon a time... The fairytale of Dalen Hotel

We have been making magic since 1894, and the fairytale continues!


Historien om Dalen Hotel
Once upon a time... 

This is how fairytales begin. This fairytale is 130 years old and is about a hotel. Dalen Hotel, The Fairytale hotel, The Dragon Hotel, also referred to as Soria Moria at the end of the Telemark Canal, opened in 1894.


Psst... Dalen Hotel's fantastic and legendary history can be listened to every evening at 10 pm in the fireplace lounge.
The old bus at Dalen Hotel

One of Norway's unique tourist destinations

Although the hotel and the Telemark Canal have existed for more than 100 years, our journey in Telemark has only just begun.

Today, Dalen Hotel is one of Norway's most sought-after tourism destinations and, together with the canal ships, represents a cultural-historical journey back in time.elv om hotellet og Telemarkskanalen har eksistert i mer enn 100 år, har reisen vår i Telemark bare så vidt begynt.

M/S Henrik Ibsen fra 1907

The veteran ship M/S Henrik Ibsen

At the time the hotel was purchased by Norwegian Hospitality Group, there were two canal ships sailing with guests up the Telemark Canal, M/S Viktoria (1882) and M/S Henrik Ibsen (1907). In 2009, the M/S Henrik Ibsen was in very poor condition, and when the municipality, as owner of the ship, found renovation too costly and wanted to dismantle it, the ship was bought by the Norwegian Hospitality Group and completely renovated in the style of the hotel. The way it has always been intended to arrive at Dalen Hotel was to be continued.

Today, M/S Henrik Ibsen and M/S Viktoria sail together on the Telemark Canal as they were designed to do.

 I 2006 kjøpte Norwegian Hospitality Group eiendommen

From crow's nest to authentic grandeur

Many people held high expectations for the hotel, and in the 1990s several attempts were made to run it, but unfortunately without success. The hotel was constantly referred to as a neglected castle and a challenging business within the Norwegian hotel industry. During this period, the operation of the hotel was reduced to a minimum level, and the former splendor and grandeur was over. 

In 2006, Norwegian Hospitality Group chose to purchase the property with the specific purpose of restoring Dalen Hotel to its former glory. The project was deeply rooted in a desire to preserve one of Norway's premier hotels from its golden age.

Today, Dalen Hotel has become one of Norway's most treasured authentic luxury destinations, and it is with pride that it now represents Norwegian Hospitality Group as their premier flagship.

Salong på Dalen Hotel

War and economic difficulties

Railway development and new roads provided new travel routes, and after the First World War, Dalen was no longer the natural intersection it had once been. The hotel was also hit hard by the Second World War, when it was occupied and used as a recreation site for German occupation forces.

During the 20 years following the Second World War, Dalen Hotel was subject to several changes of ownership. Unfortunately, each transition in ownership led to the decay of the hotel. During the 70s, the large hotel was abandoned and its grand era was over.

Led by parliamentary politicians, there were originally plans to demolish the old hotel, or to convert it into a women's university. However, these plans were changed at the last minute, when pastor and preacher Åge Samuelsen bought the hotel with the intention of restoring it. The renovations were in full progress, but were unfortunately interrupted when the company ran into financial difficulties and the property was forcibly sold. The hotel was left without buyers and the municipality took over ownership.

Once again, the future of the hotel was at stake when it was proposed to destroy the building. Miraculously, the municipality recognized the cultural and historical value of the hotel, and financial support was granted for the necessary restoration work. In 1992, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Telemark Canal, the hotel was finally able to welcome guests again. 

Den fantastiske peisestuen

Iconic architecture

Dalen Hotel has also had a major impact on architecture. Promising Norwegian architects had traveled the world for inspiration, at the same time as a wave of national romanticism was sweeping through society.

The desire was to create something that was genuinely Norwegian. The dragon style, a Norwegian variant of the Swiss style, became particularly prominent in the period 1880-1910 and is now mainly represented by stave churches.

Today, Dalen Hotel is one of the most striking and best-preserved symbols of this architectural time period.

Dalen Hotel was designed by architect Haldor Larsen Børve, and can almost be described as a symbol of the consequences of the industrial revolution for tourism. In quick succession, such hotel icons would rise up all over the world. The Savoy in London in 1889, the Waldorf Astoria in New York in 1893, Badrutt's Palace in St. Moritz in 1896, The Ritz in Paris in 1898, and Dalen Hotel in 1894.

ble tegnet av arkitekt Haldor Larsen Børve

First Norwegian hotel with running water and electricity

Dalen Hotel was built in 1894 with impressive modern features such as running water and electricity. And with the same mission: To meet the needs of the world's rich and famous, while accommodating and serving travelers along the way.

As the main hub on the road between east (Oslo), west (Bergen) and south (Stavanger), Dalen Hotel was truly a destination in itself. The Telemark Canal from Skien had just been completed after a construction period of more than 30 years, providing completely new and comfortable travel opportunities.

At the hotel, hand-picked staff from all over Europe presented menus in French with white gloves, while well-heeled businessmen, nobility and royalty dined on international-class food with silver cutlery from British bone china.