Britannia Hotel Reborn

Norwegian icon gets a major face-lift
BY HILARY NANGLE — Fall 2019

ince 1870, the venerable Britannia Hotel in Trondheim, Norway, has welcomed British salmon lords, Arctic explorers, and visiting royals and heads of state, and has served as a gathering spot for local socialites and dignitaries. In 2015, Norwegian billionaire and Trondheim native Odd Reitan purchased the 257-room property, then shut it down for a $160 million rejuvenation. It reopened last April as one of Europe’s northernmost luxury hotels, and with no detail overlooked — from the exclusive Ayala Brut Champagne Britannia selection to the Norway-exclusive Maison Francis Kurkdjian amenities, the Carrara marble baths to the hand-sewn Hästens’ beds, and the spa’s mineral pool to the Tower Suite’s grand piano. The neo-baroque icon now tempers contemporary chic with Old World elegance, and a storied past infuses modern style.

Head chef Christopher Davidsen, a Bocuse d’Or silver medalist, oversees Speilsalen, his signature restaurant, one of six in-house dining venues. “My philosophy is to use local ingredients, with a twist of fun flavors from around the world, and high techniques. Every dish has a history: ingredients, my life, the hotel’s life,” he says.

Øyvind Lindgjerdet, Britannia Bar’s head bartender, dove into the hotel’s history to create the storybook-style menu’s signature cocktails. Likewise, in the Vinbaren wine bar, among the 10,000 bottles, many rare or exclusive, lining the walls is a Barbeito Madeira 1870. “It was important to find a wine for the year the hotel opened,” sommelier Thomas Andersen says.

It’s likely in Palmehaven, the marble-floored restaurant long considered Trondheim’s living room, where dreamers and dignitaries will imagine the next chapters in Britannia’s — and perhaps Trondheim’s or Norway’s — stories. Rooms from $259. 800-745-8883; britannia.no/en/

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