Family-run for 4 generations

Great grandma and great grandpa Brita and Per Eikum were pioneers in their field. They started small and attracted the first visitors to Eikums Hotel, as it was then known. The hotel opened in 1919, and the first tourists to check in were English. Then as now, the biggest attractions were the Jostedalsbreen glacier and the Sognefjord.

Grandma and grandpa Ella and Sigmund Kjos-Wenjum carried on the legacy of Ella’s parents. Sigmund was a taxi owner and horseman, while Ella was the hotel’s hostess. The hotel changed its name to Eikum Gjestgiveri when the government introduced the Hotel Act.

Mum and dad Aud and Birger Kjos-Wenjum moved back to Hafslo after graduating in 1967 and took over Eikum Gjestgiveri in 1977, when they changed the name back to Eikum Hotel. Since Birger had obtained a trade certificate, he was permitted to use the word “hotel”. Birger worked at Smestad Hotel in Oslo before attending hotel college in Stavanger. Aud served as a housekeeper at Hotel Continental is Oslo and later at the KNA hotel in Stavanger.

Ståle, the present owner, has wide-ranging and varied experience of the hotel industry. Every school holiday he would work at Eikum Hotel, and after studying business he enrolled on a 1-year cookery course before becoming an apprentice at the SAS Scandinavia Hotel in Oslo. There he worked under chefs such as Lars Erik Underthun, silver medallist at the 1991 Bocuse d’Or. Ståle obtained his trade certificate at the SAS. He then gained further experience in Germany, where he worked as a chef at the Radisson SAS Plaza in Hamburg. After a year in Germany he enrolled at hotel college in Stavanger, specialising in hotel administration. Alongside his studies he worked at the Radisson SAS in Stavanger as well as the restaurant Jans Mat- og Vinhus. During two summer holidays he worked as general manager at Hafslo Gjestehus. After his stay in Stavanger he was appointed chef at Schwatzwald Hotel in Titisee, Germany, before becoming a receptionist at Storefjell Høgfjellshotell in Golsfjellet. Ståle also had a second job in the restaurant at Pers Hotel in Gol at the same time. He took up a full-time position at Eikum Hotel in 1998 before taking over the running of the hotel in 2000.

Hotel van and taxi

Sigmund Kjos-Wenjum, grandfather of the present owner Ståle, in a characteristic pose at Eikum Hotel, circa 1966/67. Cars and horses were an important part of grandpa’s life, and the current dining hall previously housed stables, a barn and a garage under the same roof.

The green car in the photo was his taxi, and the red car was the hotel van. Both vehicles were used to carry tourists. A third taxi would also be hired in from one of the other taxi owners in the village, either Johannes Fredheim or Olav Hillestad. The tourists were taken to the Jostedalen valley, the Sognefjellet mountain pass, the Tungestølen mountain lodge, the Heiberg Collections, Urnes Stave Church and Råadn.

Grandpa Sigmund and dad Birger would ferry tourists to the attractions in the region every day during the summer season. Occasionally they would also make the journey to Feivall, where Mons Feivall accompanied the group to the vantage point while telling local stories. The Dutch and German tourists were left speechless with fear and wonderment.

Looking at the picture, we can tell that it was taken before 1 May because grandpa is wearing a grey cap. He would always change the cover on his chauffeur’s cap to a white one on 1 May every year. He would wear the white cap until the end of the summer.

The buildings

In 1919 Brita and Per Eikum bought an old house from the farm next door, in which they opened a guest house with the name Eikums Hotel.

In 1927 the hotel changed its name to Eikum Gjestgiveri.

By 1956 the hotel had 15 rooms. That year the hotel burnt to the ground. The only item that was salvaged from the fire was the cash register in the café. The fire also consumed four other buildings in the village, including the town hall.

The hotel reopened only a year after the fire, in 1957, with 19 rooms and 35 beds.

In the 1970s the hotel was expanded with a new wing, while the old rooms were refurbished to make them all en-suite.

In 1980 the new dining hall was completed, seating around 200 people. The hotel has since been further expanded, and the old rooms have been repeatedly renovated.