For many years I have wanted to visit Norway. Impressed by the scenic views captured on the pages of magazines; of fjords, colourful houses, impressive rock formations, and natural wonders all around, it has always been a place I wanted to see with my own two eyes, and now I have.
We decided to visit Norway in the wintertime, which for Norwegian hotels, restaurants, and resorts is their low season. In many ways this makes perfect sense; fewer daylight hours, colder days, darker nights, snow, ice and, in general, worse weather. However, there is much to be enjoyed in Norway in winter and you will, in fact, get to see things that you perhaps would not have during the warmer, longer days of summer.
As part of our Norwegian adventure, we visited Panorama Hotell & Resort, 45 minutes drive from Bergen, perched on the edge of the Sotra sea gorge.
There is nothing like being by the water. One of my favourite things to do is look out to sea; to breathe in the salty air, to feel the wind on my face, and to watch the unique, ever-changing patterns of the waves.
No two seascapes are the same. Whether it’s the light bouncing off the water that changes the colour of the sea or the intensity of the wind that whips up white breakers, the sea is a magnificent sight to behold.
We arrived at Panorama Hotell & Resort on a particularly blustery day with a storm coming in across the North Sea battering the shore and throwing 45 miles per hour winds at the water’s edge. For our stay, we were right on the water’s edge in one of the resort’s impressive Fjord Suites, self-contained holiday apartments with a wall of glass looking out to sea.
The Fjord Suites were everything and more than I was anticipating offering beautiful minimalist Scandinavian interiors, epic fjord side views, and a warm and welcoming place to relax. There are 8 Fjord Suites at the hotel, each of which has its own loft, kitchen and bathroom, sleeping 4 people.
In front of the hotel suites, boats were moored up in the small harbour, moving with every rise and fall of the waves.
An hour before sunset we enjoyed a beautiful hour of golden sunlight, bouncing off the water and in through the glass. The clouds parted ways and beams of light shot across the sky, lighting up our beautiful surroundings.
During this golden hour, we made our way up to the hotel’s wellness area to enjoy a bracing run to the outdoor hot tub, where we enjoyed the cold sea winds flowing through our hair from the warmth of the water, before enjoying a sauna and relax in the sunroom. Despite the winter chill outside, the sunroom is specially designed to emulate natural sunshine, allowing you to close your eyes and enjoy the rays of the special lamps.
Part of the charm of visiting Norway in the low season is the lack of other tourists. We were free to enjoy the wellness area by ourselves, followed by a walk down to the boats and along the shallow beach.
After a restful afternoon, consisting of our visit to the wellness area and many hours looking out of the vast windows, we went up to the main hotel for dinner where we were served three courses of fresh and seasonal food.
Starting with a Thai coconut and carrot soup and going on to a beautifully presented main of freshly sourced fish (a must in Norway), we were blown away by the flavour combinations on our plate. To finish, a firm favourite of mine, cheesecake.
Back at the Fjord Suite, we enjoyed a restful night listening to the whistling wind, before waking up to the same beautiful view, but from another light.
In the morning, we enjoyed another delicious meal up at the hotel, where the breakfast buffet was expansive, consisting of fresh fruit, smoked fish, yogurts, granola, freshly baked bread, cookies, pretzels, juices and much more. They even cooked up bacon and eggs for us. The perfect end to our stay.
After breakfast, we packed up our bags and got ready to adventure further around the west coast, but not before getting some final photos in!
Our stay at the Panorama Hotell & Resort was restful and serene. Being right on the water, we truly appreciated the beautiful Nordic surroundings and the full character of Norway’s winter season.
From entering the hotel, we were thoroughly welcomed and made to feel at home. The suite was warm, cozy and filled with home comforts; the restaurant used fresh, locally sourced ingredients; and the wellness area was calm and relaxing, unlike any other I’d seen before. I would highly recommend the Panorama Hotell & Resort to anyone considering a stay in Norway.
In the summer the resort offers a wide range of activities such as bike rides, walks to the lighthouse, paddle boarding, freshwater swimming (you could technically do this in the winter if you were feeling brave) and boat rides. I would love to come back and visit in the warmer months, again enjoying the ever-changing seascape and the glowing Nordic light.
If you have enjoyed reading this post about Panorama Hotell and Resort, do leave a comment below. I hope you enjoyed the essence of beautiful scenery and gorgeous light as much as we did!
Our half board stay at Panorama Hotell & Resort was kindly offered as complimentary in exchange for this review. All photos and opinions are my own.