Management at Leikanger Fjordhotel
EVP Unike Hoteller
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New exclusive hotel chain in Norway
In a few years, Unike Hoteller has grown from being a dream to becoming a hotel success. The hotel group now consists of nine exclusive hotels. – The secret is to work with your heart and to give it a little extra, says hotel manager and entrepreneur Morten Christensen.
Text: Ingeborg Øien Thorsland
I have heard that Åsgårdstrand is a summer town, but in the middle of winter it is difficult to imagine it. The white snow blanket from the day before has been washed away by rain during the night, and I park as the only car in the iced parking lot at the back of the Grand Hotel in Åsgårdstrand.
The entire reception area is wallpapered in delicate colors with matching furniture and elegant chandeliers that cast a pleasant light.
New unique hotel
Morten Christensen is what you might call a hotel manager with a big M. Dressed in an immaculate suit, he visits Åsgårdstrand on his daily hotel tour. As Executive Vice President for your own chain, Unike Hoteller, and Hotel Director for nearly four hotels, you tend to have busy days. So it is a clear advantage that all the hotels are within a certain radius in Vestfold.
– The headquarters will soon be moved from Stavern to his latest project in Sandefjord. In February, Anders Jahre’s grand villa in Midtåsen in Sandefjord was the last addition to the chain. The mansion from 1933 has several rooms kept intact from Jahr’s time, as well as a 60-acre park facility.
Focus on the hotel experience
With over 15 years of management experience from First Hotels, Christensen has good knowledge of the industry. By investing in his own hotel he could create a new concept as a counterbalance to standardization and streamlining. Our focus is on how the customer should get the most out of their stay and get an experience, says the director who puts a lot of love into details. The hotel manager spends a lot of time gathering inspiration from models such as the venerable, old-fashioned hotels Savoy and Ritz. From his many study trips abroad, he brings up ideas on how to make his hotels even more elegant and unique.
– I always bring home something inspiring. It can be smells and soaps, different wallpapers, materials or ideas for lighting.
Christensen often starts the day by checking which rooms are booked. If the best rooms are not booked, he automatically upgrades guests to give them that little extra. After all, it feels like the guests are coming to my house, so I want to showcase the best part, he says.
– Being allowed to shape this is absolutely amazing. My hotel dream has evolved and grown. I have with me a fantastic team that gives everything and works with the heart, concludes the hotel manager.