Fjellro was built as a private residence by the local eccentric and master joiner Carl I. Hoel, and was completed in 1919. Its original name was “New Home”.
Hoel also schooled people in the profession of fine carpentry and woodworking. Around 1940, the local health association bought the premises and turned it into a guest house and dormitory for pupils. As a curiosity, it was my grandmother Nickoline Døving who came up with the name, Fjellro. This building is the source of many a story involving guests and owners through the years. In 1975 the business was sold again, this time to Aud and Umberto Minutella, who ran it until 1985. From 1985, Michael Boatwright and I were the new proud owners. I am from the same street in Valldal, a genuine “Sylte girl”. Mike is from England, but has lived in Valldal since 1975. Before we started running this place, we had one of Møre and Romsdal municipality’s first ceramic workshops: Syltekrukka Pottery, just down the street from Fjellro. We believe that we have transfered many of our creative ideas, and especially colours, to the Fjellro buildings. Fjellro has once again undergone change, and now it is a fully fledged tourist hotel with new accommodation facilities close to the original building. These are situated in the garden, which also has an outdoor stage, abundance of flowers, solid wooden seating and tables, and a cascading water feature beside a garden pub and grill – all in all a suitable place to enjoy life. On some summer weekends, when the weather is nice, the garden is buzzing with life, live music from the stage and occasional pig roasts.
We are deeply thankful to Mike’s and my parents for all their help in so many ways. Without them, Fjellro would not be what it is today. Through the seasons, they helped us repair houses, build a bar, wash dishes, clean rooms, serve people and babysit – all that and more in a typical old-fashioned family business. The children, Arador and Sean Eivind, grew up in this environment and are thoroughly schooled in the hospitality/service industry. They are more or less born and bred at Fjellro, and have been faithful contributors the whole way.
Mike is a skilled handyman and full of ideas. Fjellro has therefore been improved and redesigned several times, and there is always an ongoing project, sometimes one too many. It is not an exaggeration to say that besides laying down plans he is also the hotel gardener, carpenter, mason, paperhanger, painter and chef. Even though he has recently become a pensioner, he refuses to act like one. I am a devoted companion and assistant, and I am also a seasoned multitasker within this line of work. Moreover, I am the front-woman of the business – and if you catch me in the right mood, I might just tell you a tale from the eventful history of this house.
In addition to our own family, we have also got an extended hotel family. Young, cheerful people, many of whom are from Sweden, have been our faithful co-workers for many a season. In turn, they have helped us extend the branches of our family tree, as they know what it takes to be part of the hotel and service lifestyle. Not only are they excellent co-workers, they are also avid Valldal patriots, who explore the village, mountains and fiord at any chance they get – and they are not shy about sharing their experience and advice with our hotel guests.
If you have read this far, we sincerely hope that you stop by Fjellro. You are more than welcome!
Eli Linge Boatwright