The Selje Hotel, located on a picturesque beach near Norway’s West Cape, was heavily damaged in a fire during the night. The hotel was closed for the winter and there were no injuries, but the fire is a major loss for the local community.
The hotel attracted visitors to its relatively remote location in the county of Sogn og Fjordane for its spa facilities and its proximity not only to the scenic if blustery West Cape but also the nearby island of Selja, which contains some of the best preserved cloister ruins in Norway.
The cause of the fire remained unclear. It forced the evacuation of around 30 local residents because of fears the fire would be spread by strong winds in the area. Firefighters from three districts were called in to battle the blaze.
The hotel was sold just two years ago by its long-time owners, Harald and Gerd-Kjellaug Berge. Its new owner was in Stockholm when the fire broke out and was on his way back to the small west coast community that was mourning the loss of the hotel on Friday.
“This is gruesome, a shock,” Gunnar Sunde, who helped build the hotel 40 years ago and worked there until 18 months ago. “Selje needs a hotel, it’s been an important gathering place and Selje also needs to be able to offer overnight accommodation.” Others were already calling for the hotel to be rebuilt, as quickly as possible.