"The hotel is homely, and the food is homemade. I find that there is more of an industrial feel at other hotels. The food tastes great here, there is a big selection and they prepare the food in a way that also makes it look very nice too," says regular guest Mats Jensen.
Jensen commutes between Kongsberg and Bergen several times a month, and explains that in addition to service, the food is the most important reason why both he and his colleagues choose to stay here.
Local and homemade food
When the customers of the Berg-Hansen travel agency voted on their favourite hotels in Norway in 2018, Thon Hotels had as many as seven hotels on the top ten list. At the top of the list is the newly opened Thon Hotel Storo, which gets a lot of praise for its breakfast.
Berg has previously worked at the Michelin restaurant Statholdergården, and believes one of the success factors is to make food that people can associate with.
"We are not going to serve just international dishes that people don't have a relationship with. The food we make must be handmade. It should preferably be homemade, organic and local, and the recipes we have developed should ensure that the right ingredients are used.
Berg says that basically everything they serve at Thon Hotels is homemade, and that they use a lot of colour in the presentation, because people eat with their eyes first.
"Welcome to the cookery course! Today we will make tapas, and it is the management of the hotel who have put together the menu," says the head chef at Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz Bergen.
Once in a while, several of the Thon hotels gather some of their most loyal guests for a social evening, to give something back to those who travel the most. This time cooking is on the agenda at the Bergen hotel, and seven regular guests and a corresponding number of employees will compete with the chefs to make the best tapas.
The recipes include hotel manager Kristine’s chilli poppers, the receptionist's ceviche with scallops and the restaurant manager’s duck breast with apple and pickled red onion. The ingredients are seasonal and come from local producers and farms. The duck is from Holte farm and the apples from Hardanger.
"I think the key to winning is love for food," says regular guest Kristine Ræder, while she tastes the ceviche marinade.
Ræder works in the educational institution of Sonans, and regularly commutes between Trondheim and Bergen.
"It’s often very boring to be alone in a hotel. You eat alone, work alone, and spend a lot of time alone in the hotel room. I think evenings like this are a really good initiative, and when the invitation came I thought, "Oh, finally I don't have to sit alone with my food," she laughs.
Ræder boasts the hotel’s atmosphere and describes the breakfast as fantastic.
"It’s varied, and a lot is homemade. In addition, there are many healthy and tasty options, such as fresh smoothies, yoghurt and chia porridge. It’s important when you travel a lot."
"What distinguishes this hotel from the others you have stayed at?"
"You feel at home here. People look after you and you feel seen. It is important to see each guest and that there is no conveyor belt of people coming and going. It might be a bit like pupils – everyone has different needs and goals for their stay," she adds.
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