Management at Leikanger Fjordhotel

Unike Hoteller CEO
Morten Christensen
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By Hanne Stedje / Sogn Avis
Published: 07th of January 2020, at 07:31

Emilie (29), student and newly appointed hotel manager: – Almost unreal

– I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity!

Emilie Pellegrino (29) has a very exciting new year ahead of her, since she has been newly appointed as hotel manager at what is now called the Leikanger Hotel.

An enthusiastic boss

– It is absolutely fantastic, I’m really looking forward to getting properly started. She is in no way new to the hotel. Emilie has worked here since her first summer job as a 14 – 15 year-old. She has since helped solve most of the tasks such a hotel has to handle.

New owners

– There is a lot that is needed for it to work, it really is a challenge, but a fantastic challenge that I can’t wait to get started on, says Pellegrino, who has worked with the previous owners for several seasons. I am forever grateful to get this chance now, she emphasizes. With the venerable old fjord hotel, which has been owned and run by the Lie family for 100 years, changing its name, it is also a frame for ownership change. Unike Hoteller is the name of the group that will now take the hotel further.

A good match

– I am sure this will be a very good match for all parties. We have spent a great deal of time finding the right partner, not just a buyer, says Frank Lie Schieldrop, adviser to the Lie family. He adds that Adelheid Lambrechts and Trine-Lise Lie are delighted that the hotel will be moving on in good shape and in a good spirit that is firmly rooted in the local community after 100 years of hotel operation.

Important crossroads

Mother and daughter have been running the hotel for a year and a half after Jan Erik Lie abruptly departed in May, in an effort to secure operations moving further. Jan Erik was the fourth generation owner of the hotel, which opened in 1920. It was such a crossroads after Jan Erik passed away. It was him who was the hotel man. The family has continued to run it to ensure the continuation of the activity, but with a desire to sell, Schieldrop says.

A perfect fit

With this, the hotel at Leikanger becomes part of the group that previously had nine hotels around Norway, between the Grand Hotel in Åsgårdstrand, the Kong Carl Hotel in Sandefjord, the Hankø Hotel and Spa and the Seljord Hotel. – Leikanger hotel with its unique location fits perfect in our portfolio of unique, venerable hotels, says Morten Christensen, CEO of Unike Hoteller AS.

Personalized service

He thinks the potential is huge, not only in terms of travel and tourism, but with the locals. – I would like to be a little more open and have an offer for the people who live in Leikanger, both in terms of gatherings and various events. I would like to do more, maybe be open for a larger period of the year, to evaluate. Besides that, I am interested in personalized service. I don’t want it to be minimalist and streamlined, he says.

Minibar and bathrobe

– I want the rooms to be filled with creams and soaps and minibars and bathrobes and such. I want our tables to be decorated with white tablecloths and cloth napkins, and have our employees wear old-fashioned uniforms with white shirts and vests. Nowadays, there would just be black t-shirts everywhere, but that’s not us, says Christensen. He is very satisfied to get Emilie Pellegrino on the team. As for Emilie, she just has to finish her education in tourism at Sogndal University College first.

Busy times

– I agreed to it under the condition that I get to complete my education. I hope it will be fine. When the hotel opens in May, the school year is more quiet, she adds, expecting to be done with her bachelor degree in 2021. Until then, her schedule will be busy, but that’s the way she likes it. – Yes, 2020 will be a special and very exciting year. I love lively hotels, the more lively it is, the more fun it is to work, she says.

She will create a meeting space

Emilie is the project manager for Fertile Days, and she also hopes to combine it with her hotel job and study. – I would very much like to help create the arrangements we have here at Leikanger, and hope I can use the hotel more for it in the future. Additionally, I very much want to create a meeting space for local people so that they would come more often to sit in the garden with food and drink or meet here in different occasions.There are lots of ideas, you only have to gather the thoughts and sit down to make concrete plans. The idea and the goal is a year-round operation, she says.