LOSBY GODS MANOR, near Oslo, Norway
Steeped in history and drama, Losby Gods Manor has evolved over the years from a private mansion owned by moneyed lumber barons to a lovely small hotel, restaurant, golf club and conference center.
The hotel itself is small, only 70 guest rooms, but it is situated on 10,000 acres of beautiful landscape just minutes from the capital city of Oslo.
The original manor house has been refurbished to reflect its elegant past, using the same flooring and wainscoting, stone and decorative woodwork. Modern plumbing and electrical systems have been installed; this wing of the resort has only one guest room, the luxurious bridal suite with its in-room Jacuzzi and sauna. The other historic rooms are used for weddings, conferences, and social gatherings.
The modern hotel wing, built in 1998, has 65 double rooms and four "conference suites" designed for business gatherings. Most of the double rooms have shower stalls; some have balconies looking over the driving range, the country road leading to the resort, or the golf courses at the rear of the property.
The "conference suites" have meeting and dining space in the upstairs loft, with double sleeping quarters and a Jacuzzi bath on the main level. Access between the floors is via a circular staircase crafted of clear pine; coated with a matte varnish, it's bright and open, evoking modern Scandinavia amidst the richly detailed inlaid woods of the rooms.
The second floor of the guest-room wing houses a large and elaborate lounge, with sofa groupings, intimate alcoves à deux, conference areas and candlelit tables. In the center of it all is a coffee bar serving complimentary coffee and fresh fruit all day, plus pastries for purchase. (According to Lars Christian Krog, Losby Manor's general manager, Norwegians have the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world. Odd that the brew of choice is instant Nescafé Gull [Gold], but it's actually very good. Norwegians also have no use for decaffeinated coffee; only those establishments with a North American following even keep any at hand-- and yes, it's instant Nescafé Gull Decaf.) A wood-burning fireplace, separate smoking lounge and complimentary Internet room make this an inviting place to relax and converse.
Breakfast is included in the rate; served buffet-style, it offers an array of cold cuts, fish, yogurts, juices, breads and hot items.
The main restaurant at Losby Manor is casually elegant, serving typical Norwegian fare of fish, beef, and game. A member of the prestigious Châine des Rotisseurs, the restaurant assures that the meals are beautifully prepared and impeccably served.
Service is, in fact, a hallmark of the resort. Lars Christian Krog has scoured the globe for the most professional and customer-oriented staff that he can find, and has received assistance from the Norwegian government in securing visas and work permits. "We have a special place here," he says. "We want the guests to know, absolutely, that they are not in a chain hotel. We are different. Our staff knows this and exemplifies the spirit of Losby Gods."
Boasting two golf courses, a 75-bay drive range, an instruction center, an indoor golf center with simulators and a golf pro shop, the resort can and does accommodate all levels of play.
The Peter Norwald-designed championship course, Ostmork, follows the bed of the River Losbyelven and offers a challenging par 72. The resort's nine-hole course, Vestmork, is more tightly constructed but offers plenty of challenges at par 33. A complete pro shop is on the premises.
It's almost anticlimactic to mention the two new tennis courts, the riding stables or the fishing lake.
Losby Gods' proximity to Oslo makes it an ideal location for both the business and pleasure traveler. It's romantic enough for a honeymoon, close enough to both the airport and the city for sightseeing, has conference facilities for meetings, all manner of activities and a unique and beautiful setting.