You get a real sense of hovering high above one of Norway’s most beautiful fjords. With its distinctive design and location by the Lysefjord, The Bolder has become one of Norway’s most remarkable places to stay. The three new cabins designed by architect firm Snøhetta are now ready to offer guests an experience of nature that is far beyond the ordinary.
The weather is really wet and windy as we park the car at dusk on a winter’s day, a few dozen kilometres from Stavanger in Fjord Norway. The atmosphere becomes increasingly magical as we leave the car and walk the narrow and under-lit walkway. There’s a rush of excitement as we glance the outline of one of the five-sided wooden cabins between the pine trees, standing on a column a few metres above the ground, at the very edge of the outcrop. All that’s behind it are the sky and fjord.
Hovering over the Lysefjord
The hairs on the back of our necks stand up as we open the door to the lodge. Our eyes are drawn to the enormous panoramic window looking out towards the Lysefjord – like a landscape taken straight out of a painting. The door to the right is to a bathroom, which lives up to our expectations of sky-high standards. Wow, this really is exclusive. In front of us is a wonderful, inviting double bed with panoramic windows on two sides and views over the Lysefjord. Next to that is a narrow, steep and elegant staircase that leads up to the floor above, which has a modern and well-equipped kitchen. The views from the panoramic window are simply breathtaking. The high ceiling makes you feel that the sky and the lodge are at one with each other. There’s only air below us and it feels like we’re hovering high above the fjord with no one else around. Talk about hitting the jackpot. There is nowhere else I’d rather be.
The bolder just got even bolder
The first two lodges, called The Bolder Skylodge, have been a massive success. What developed from the slightly wild brainchild of printer and founder Tom B. Norland soon became known as one of the most remarkable places to stay in Norway. The meeting between unique architecture and nature was the starting point for further developing the project The Bolder Starlodge.
‘The new Starlodges build on the experience we gained from the first two lodges we built. They are 40% larger, have an even higher standard, and are more at one with nature in terms of their location and the choice of materials,’ says Norland.
Experience shows that 80% of the guests so far have been couples, so the new lodges only have one double bed. They are designed as high-quality accommodation for people who want to enjoy nature, the views and each other. Two of the lodges are located right on the edge, which gives guests a unique sense of hovering in, and being at one with, nature and the elements. These lodges are unique.
‘Staying in these lodges really does something to you. It’s a whole new way of experiencing nature and seeing one of Norway’s finest fjords. You can drive right up to the lodges, so the accommodation is accessible throughout the year. The experience is perhaps most magical in the autumn, winter and spring,’ Norland continues.
Quality and respect in every detail
The eye for detail, quality and nature is what inspired the renowned Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta to take on The Bolder project. Creativity, and a shared interest in and respect for the nature, meant the collaboration quickly came to fruition.
‘It’s not often we get to work on projects on such a small scale as this one, but it’s been a very important and exciting project for us. It’s been challenging, but in a positive way. We normally try to find clients who have a vision and leave room for the creative process. What excited us about this project was the commitment to quality, luxury, and the desire to create something in harmony with nature’, says Frank Denis Foray, the project manager at Snøhetta who worked on The Bolder Starlodge.
The architects at Snøhetta rented a motorhome for several days in order to really get a sense of the place and devise a project that respects the landscape and shows consideration for mother nature.
‘We saw a unique possibility with the network of paths and the landscape. We wanted to make the smallest possible footprint in what we did and we had to remain mindful of this throughout the process. The idea was to convey a sense of buildings standing free in the nature and for guests to feel alone in nature. At the same time, we wanted to use elements from the landscape in the design and let the mountain blend into the foundations and the rough style of the timber,’ Foray continues.
The chair you never want to leave
This is where Snøhetta and The Bolder have really hit the mark. The foundation on which the cabins ‘float’ uses rock from the granite mountain on which it rests. The timber is from the same type of trees that surround the lodges, and the choice of interior materials creates a sense of being sheltered, that shows respect for the landscape in which the lodges are situated. The lodges are lofty and the light creates a unique sense of space.
There is real quality in every last detail. Everything has been carefully considered, from the choice of kitchen knives to the type of wood used for the furniture. Everything oozes quality, with brands that include Vipp, Expo Nova and Eikund. When you sit in the chair on the first floor and rest your legs on the small pouffe, you feel like you never want to get up again. The unique comfort combined with the atmosphere in the room let your mind wander. You can cook what you fancy, eat breakfast around the small table with four chairs, or just relax.
In touch with nature
When the founder and Snøhetta describe the lodges as being ‘in harmony with nature’, it doesn’t just mean that the buildings have a unique connection to the landscape, that the choice of materials is well considered, or that the buildings leave a minimal footprint in the landscape. Staying a night or two in the small lodges promises a rare experience of nature, and the opportunity to experience Norwegian fjord landscapes in a whole new way. There is a network of paths in the area that leads to viewpoints where you can enjoy views of the fjord landscape in various ways. One of the paths is part of a new route to Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock), which is accessible to all.
‘The intention behind the lodges is to allow guests to also enjoy the beautiful nature around the lodges. What’s important is that the experience lasts for twenty-four hours, that it’s a place where you can enjoy high standards while living in and with nature. That’s the feeling we were going for and which I hope we’ve achieved,’ concludes Foray from Snøhetta.
Put everything else on hold
Not many people have had the opportunity to set foot in one of the newly built cabins. From the response so far, The Bolder may be about to become an even bigger attraction than the founders initially envisioned.
Everything else is put on hold. You can’t help being drawn into the ‘here and now’ and you just don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s the time-out that everyone needs and that many are seeking. If you’re in a relationship, it’s a great place for good conversation, and if you’re alone it’s a great place to find yourself. I would sacrifice a lot of other holidays to experience this place.
The three new cabins, The Bolder, Starlodge is now open for booking, and will be receiving guests from 1 February 2023.