Vikinghaug has stood in 3 places in 4 districts.
Vikinghaug has a unique history. The house has stood in 3 places across 4 districts.
1892-1895: New Skjerven Hotel near Skjervsfossen in Granvin district
The old Skjerven Hotel near Skjervsfossen burned down in 1892, and the new Skjerven Hotel was rebuilt the same year at the same location. There is no documentation suggesting whether the rebuilding was based on timber materials or if it involved relocating an existing building from another place to Skjervet.
1895-1905: Vikingnes Hotel at Ljonestangen in Kvam District
The Skjerven Hotel was then purchased by Alfred Johan Barclay Meidell and rebuilt at Ljonestangen in Strandebarm as a resting place for the English middle class in 1895/96, funded by English financing under the name Vikingnes. Adjacent to the hotel, a small "open-air museum" with smoking rooms, etc., was established. In 1904, tourism in Odda peaked, with 22,000 tourists in Norway, of which 12,000 visited Odda. This, coupled with the cessation of boat arrivals in Strandebarm, led Alfred Johan Barclay Meidell to invest again in Odda.
1906-1914: Vikinghaug Hotel at Eideshovd in Odda/Ullensvang District
The hotel was dismantled and rebuilt at Eideshovd in Odda between 1905-06. Vikinghaug Hotel opened in 1907. The relocation cost 2500 kroner. On October 10, 1890, Alfred Johan Barclay Meidell secured a lease on this area for 100 years for NOK 2000. Some of the smaller houses were moved from Ljonestangen in Kvam to Hovden to create an environment around the hotel. It has been determined that the two smoking rooms on the courtyard date back to around 1630.
Meidell sued Cyniamiden for losses due to the industrialization of Odda, and after 9 years of litigation, he won the case and received 90,000 kr in compensation. In Odda, the house has had several names, including Odda Hotel, Hovden House, Soria Moria Castle, and House on the Hill.
Bergensbanen and Industry - The demise of tourism in Odda
While the Rallarane built the industry in Odda, another significant event took place. The Rallarane constructed the Bergen Railway on the mountain. Before 1908, the main route from Bergen to Kristiania was via Odda. From Bergen to Odda by steamboat, from Odda to Dalen in Telemark by horse and carriage, then by boat down the Telemark Canal to Skien, and finally by steam locomotive from Skien to Kristiania. This journey took 4-5 days. The Bergen Railway was test-driven the same year the factories in Odda were ready for production. In 1908, while smoke billowed from Cyniamiden's chimneys, the first train rolled between Bergen and Oslo, taking 14 hours. On July 27, 1914, World War I broke out. Industrialization, transportation, and the world war dealt the final blow to tourism in Odda.
Hotel King Alfred Johan Barclay Meidell
Meidell (using Barclay as a company name) was always a restless wanderer. But he was always seen with a smile in his eye, and his cheerful greeting was always received with camaraderie. He was welcome everywhere. The restless wanderer was originally from Nordnes but moved to Dreggen at the age of four, gaining the fighting spirit of the Nordnes boys and the endurance of the Dreggen boys. In his youth, he was a sailor and would have become a naval officer, but circumstances led him elsewhere, including Australia, London, Vefsn, and Hardanger. Meidell was the manager of Vikingvang, Vikingnes, and in Odda, he apparently referred to the hotel as Vikinghaug. He then bought Hankø Bath, followed by Victoria in Holmenkollen, and eventually ventured to Spain, where he purchased the marvelous and world-famous Grand Hotel Quisisana. On his 60th birthday on February 5, 1921, Meidell, accompanied by Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and English guests, climbed Pico Teide on Tenerife at an altitude of 3400m.
Meidell ceased operations after the summer of 1908 and initiated legal proceedings against the Northern Cyniamid Company in 1909. After several years of dispute, Meidell was vindicated. In 1922, the hotel went up for forced auction, with Odda Kreditbank winning the bid. Vikinghaug has been owned by several different entities. From the 1920s/30s until Odda Smelting Plant went bankrupt in 2003, the hotel served as housing for the company's workers. In 2001, the hotel was sold from Odda New Real Estate Company to Odda Smelting Plant. In 2004, Odda Municipality acquired the property from the bankruptcy estate. The municipality designated large parts of the property as a recreational area and sold the Vikinghaug house with a 1.8-acre plot to Tove Hidle and Terje Gravdal in 2005. The two now own and operate the family business and building. Today, Vikinghaug is an accommodation facility welcoming guests from around the world.
Renovation, adaptation, and restoration
Drawings from 1929 show that the house was renovated. Small roof dormers were built, and terraces were enclosed to make the house more suitable for industrial worker families. There were 13 families in the house and 4 families in the small houses on the Vikinghaug courtyard. There was a small community at Vikinghaug. The industrial worker families adapted the house and plot to the best of their ability with the means they had. We began the renovation of Vikinghaug in 2004.
Today, Vikinghaug appears almost as it did originally in 1907. Then as now, guests from around the world come to experience and stay at Vikinghaug. Odda in Hardanger has revived as a tourist destination, and visitors come to experience fjords, mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, and especially Trolltunga, which has become a tourist icon.