Juvet Landscape Hotel, Valldal, Norway

Juvet Landscape Hotel, Valldal, Norway

A ghostly glass structure hidden amid the birch forest of Valldal, Norway, this isolated Nordic stay blends pared-back living with silver-screen kudos.

you’ve seen the spooky – but stylish – 2014 sci-fi thriller
Ex Machina, you’ll remember Alicia Vikander’s definitive fembot
slinking around a sleek glass house encased in deep forest. The
film was shot almost entirely on location at this Snøhetta-designed
Norwegian wilderness residence, a 90-minute
drive from the city of Ålesund.

The property’s glass cabins seem to play hide-and-seek among the
birch forest, scattered at different heights along a lush river
bank in Valldal, western Norway, with rambunctious moss and
blueberry-hued heather tickling their doorsteps. Guests dine
together nightly after long days of hiking, skiing, kayaking – or
simply lounging in the on-site spa, which overlooks the dramatic

A Bird House suite at Juvet Landscape Hotel

One of Juvet’s forest huts, left, and views from the The
Bath House.


The luxury lies in this place’s unplugged approach. In your
hypermodernist glass cube on stilts, surfaces are simple and
unfussy, sheets are white cotton and crisp, and there’s little
else. Expect stripped-down comfort in terms of technology, too: no
power showers, no telephone, no TV, no hairdryer.

Across three room categories, there are seven forest-gazing
Landscape Rooms, two Bird Houses, perched high on stilts, and the
singular Writer’s Lodge, a palatial 70sq m rental perfect for a
group. Interiors are minimalist across the board (as are
amenities). It’s all about soaking up the landscape beyond the
glass walls. Our Landscape Room featured a bed, shower, and that
was about it. In the bathroom, you’ll find organic soap and
shampoo. WiFi is patchy at best, but that’s almost a blessing.
You’re not here to surf; save the ‘gramming for when you get

What’s for breakfast?

Norwegian breakfast spreads just hit differently – probably
because the athletic locals need a hearty fill before they set out
to cross-country ski, raft rapids or traverse tundras in
lip-cracking temperatures. There’s porridge, fruit, fresh
sourdough, wild salmon, eggs, a divine cheese selection, including
famous Norwegian brown cheese, and homemade jams and chutneys.
Plus, the yummiest apple juice we’ve ever tried.

How about lunch and dinner?

We checked in late afternoon after a long day of driving and
wandering and, while the kitchen kindly offered some nuts, fruit
and cheese to sustain us before dinner, there’s no lunch per se.
However, staff are happy to recommend local spots to try.

A bedroom at Juvet Landscape Hotel
Views out across the Norwegian mountains

Minimalist sleeping arrangements, left, and mountain views
from the hotel.

The evening feast is worth fasting for, though. Taking place
communally in the old cow barn on site at 8pm sharp, diners are
seated at long oak tables, offered aperitifs and then listen to a
detailed introduction to the meal from the chef. A lavish
three-course dinner showcases foraged, hunted and fished goods of
the season. The menu is ever-changing, but you can expect the likes
of whale carpaccio, bacalao (Norwegian salted cod) with potatoes,
and a moussey cloudberry dessert.


Guests have access to The Bath House spa, built largely in glass
beside a forest river. Wrap up in robes and towels to experience
the sauna, hot tub, and silent retreat room.

This is a hotel that gazes out, not in. Skiing, hiking, climbing
and fjord adventuring (including kayaking and rafting) are all
available to hotel guests, at additional cost.

How about their green credentials?

The century-old farm building in Burtigarden has been restored
using original materials. The cow byre is now the dining room and
lounge, complete with an open hearth; the pigsty is the kitchen.
Head outside to the old hay store and you’ll find it transformed
into an outdoor lounge area where you can relax and read under
blankets to a soundtrack of birdsong.

What about accessibility?

Sadly, the snow, ice, sharp drops and climbs to cabins make this
stay quite wheelchair-unfriendly. It’s a 90-minute drive from the
nearest airport, Ålesund, and there’s no public transport

What’s the crowd?

Despite the dispersed arrangement of the glass cabins and
treehouses among the woods, you’ll actually get up close and
personal with your fellow guests. The collective dinners with
people from all over the world – hikers, skiers, romancers, solo
sojourners, young families – result in evenings to remember. You’ll
likely meet the same people in the spa, too.

Things I should know

Structurally and geographically – as well as gastronomically –
this is a striking stay, with friendly hosts who will help you
however they can. But don’t expect elite pampering, fancy mod cons
and room service. People come here to bask in the design, history
and land.

Within a short walk I can find…

Hikes, peaks, streams, rivers, deer, birds, valleys and
strawberry farms. Just make sure you arrive in a car, to avoid any
Ex Machina-esque endings, right?

The Lowdown

A Landscape Room double costs from £329 a

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