Annie Lovell

Manshausen

  • Where:Manshausen Island, Norway
  • Why: This was a much needed vacation with a friend - after working in southwestern Norway for the summer…we headed NORTH to explore the arctic circle!
  • When:August 2018
  • Who:Girls trip with my new, wonderful friend Jenna Smith.
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One of the newly built sea cabins perfectly placed right on the water with views looking out to the Lofoten Islands in the distance.

One of the sea cabins is perched up on the highest rock on the island – the views from this vantage point are incredible.

Aperitifs with floor to ceiling windows and fur covered chairs. The best place to take in the views.

The Main House – A gathering place for meals, good conversation and evening cocktails.

The library is comfortably furnished, complete with polar bear rug, volumes of National Geographic Magazines and books filled with stories of artic adventures.

This is the main dock and protected harbor where you initially arrive to the small private island of Manshausen.

It can get cold this far north – find warmth in the arctic circle by fully relaxing in this quaint, wood sauna.

Take a refreshing dip in the cold, salt water pool. Good for the muscles and detoxifies the body.

Up to 14 people can fit in the hot tub – it can be heated up during the day…or stay into the evening for a chance to glimpse the northern lights while you soak.

Simple, rustic and beautiful – the dining room has a warm, cosy, Scandi feel where everyone on island gathers for delicious, fresh, locally sourced food, cooked by creative chefs in an open kitchen concept.

Local, sustainably caught fish – it’s literally sea to table here –incredibly fresh and seasonal best define the cuisine at Manshausen.

The sea cabins were designed to allow guests to fully appreciate the unique landscape where mountains meet the sea.

In the land of the midnight sun, the sun will still set at certain times of the year, and either the cabins will be light up, or the sky will reward you with a show of luminescent colors.

Whale bones for decoration – the hotel uses the available resources in some of the most creative ways.

Highs & Lows

  • This hotel is like no other – arctic circle, private island, sea cabins. Just being there is an experience in and of itself. The highlight of my stay was seeing a shooting star, followed by the green glisten of the northern lights, and then the moon rise…pure magic.

  • The remoteness of this place allows for pretty incredible adventures – kayaking, hiking, diving, fishing, etc. There is so much to do in the surrounding area that I could have spent weeks here exploring. On the flip side, I would be perfectly content doing nothing here for weeks…Manshausen is the most peaceful, inspiring place to just fully relax – with a sauna, a good novel, a sketch book, or simply sitting quietly in awe of the abounding beauty.

  • The staff at Manshausen is what really enhances your stay. The staff hails from Norway, as well various other countries around the world. They have interesting stories to share, and they make you feel so well taken care of when you are on island.

  • It is evident that the hotel makes environmentally conscious decisions that are both intentional as well as necessary. From the building design to the sourcing of materials and food products, their emphasis on local and sustainable is woven into each aspect of their operations and guest experience.

  • No WIFI in the cabins however, this allows you to totally disconnect and embrace the remoteness and peacefulness of the natural surroundings. BUT if you do need to connect, you can go to the comfortable reading room in the main house.

  • Pack light – it’s remote location is hard to get to – it involves a flight, a ferry and a boat ride, at the least. And once you get to the island, the gravel pathways don’t lend themselves well to the typical rolling suit case. Fortunately, the staff is strong and hearty and will help bring the bags to your room…but you won’t need much here in the way of fancy clothes. Just comfy, cosy, casual wear.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Plastic Free

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 41/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Unique sea cabins on a private Nordic island.

  • Vibe

    Minimalist, natural style that aims to allow guests to be immersed in nature – and fully experience this incredible location where the mountains meet the sea.

  • Location

    Well off the beaten path - just north of the arctic circle and south of the famous Lofoten Islands. Feels like the definition of remote. Hard to get to but well worth the effort.

  • Rooms

    Six sea cabins (as well as additional accommodations in their “Expedition Loft”).

  • Music

    So many great Scandinavian / New Nordic beats to choose from – a prime example is Oslo’s Hanne Mjøen who sums it up with her Scandi-pop song “Perfect Noise.”

  • Year Opened

    In the 1800’s Manshausen was one of three islands that became the largest trading post in Nordland. Manshause is a 55-acre island with a protected harbor that was originally used for storage and export of fish. The main house, which still stands today, was called “bødtkerboligen” because it was were the barrelmaker lived. In the early 1900’s the booming trade here stopped and the island became dilapidated. In 2010, a famous Norwegian explorer, Børge Ousland, and developed it into what Manshausen is today.

  • Designed By

    Stinessen Arkitekter from Tromsø designed all the new huts and houses.

  • Pool/Gym

    There is a small saltwater swimming area, as well as a hot tub (that can fit up to 14 people) and a sauna – perfect for the Scandinavian tradition of hydrotherapy in which the combination of hot-cold-relax energizes and detoxifies the body. And no need for a gym – there is no shortage of active ventures – hike, climb, kayak, dive, etc.

  • Restaurant

    All meals are served in the main house at the “Hovedhuset” – the food is healthy, seasonal and delicious. Emphasis is placed on sourcing locally and sustainably. A wonderful opportunity to try some of the Nordic specialities including incredibly fresh seafood, or local reindeer, lamb, wild sheep or elk. Much of the produce is grown in the garden situated right next to the restaurant.

  • Bar

    The bar is open in the evenings with a nice, simple selection of beverages – wine, beer, cocktails, all served in the main house.

  • Minibar

    No mini bar – but tea and coffee is available in each sea cabin.

  • Children

    Yes, families are welcome.

  • Price

    Priced appropriately given that it’s in a remote location in one of the most expensive countries in the world. Its more than just a hotel – it’s an experience worth paying for.

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