The History of Hardanger Hotel
In 1881 Jakob O. Jordal built Jordals Hotel. He ran the hotel until 1899, and sold it to "Odda Handelsforening", which sold it to Sjur Birkeland in 1907.
The 1st. of April 1917 the brothers Ole and Karl Melkeraaen bought Jordals Hotel from Mr. Sjur Birkeland. They changed the name of the hotel to Hardanger Hotel. The brothers initially came from Salhus outside Bergen . The family was poor and Ole had to move from the farm Sørgard in Salhus when he was quite young. He establishes a butchers store in Tysse. When the plant in Tysse was closed, the market disappeared, and Ole decided to move to Odda. In Odda he establishes a new butcher’s store. His brother soon moves after him.
In 1917 they buy Jordals Hotel, and they run it together until the Second World War. In 1953 four of Ole's children take over the hotel. The brothers and sisters Borghild, Gunnar, Johan and Martin run the hotel together until the mid seventies. A lot of things happen during these years. Due to new fire regulations they had to tear down the old hotel, a destiny the hotel suffers together with other wooden buildings in Odda. After the demolition in 1962, the family faces the opportunity to build a new and modern hotel. The new hotel in funkis style, architected by Ulf Haslev, opens 13th of June 1963.
Hardanger Hotel blossoms in the 60's and to the middle of the 70's. In this period the hotel is the leading hotel in the district. The guests experience entertainment with famous international artists. The restaurant is always crowded, and is the most popular place in Odda.
Martin and Johan get most involved in the running of the hotel. They share the tasks between themselves. Martin takes care of the administrative work, while his youngest brother does the practical part. In 1974 they decide to expand, something which results in 16 new double rooms. The expansion is motivated by the increasing amount of bus tourists. With the new rooms Hardanger Hotel is capable to serve two buses at the same time.
Johan never experiences to see the new hotel. A day in February 1977 he dies while he is working at the hotel. His death results in a change in the way the family is running the hotel. From then until 1986 Hardanger Hotel is run like a "Bed & Breakfast Hotel". During this period the old part of the hotel is refurbished, and the family examines the market to get a company to run the hotel. In 1986 the hotel is run on a lease.
This is the start of a turbulent period for the hotel. Keywords are bankruptcy and lack of maintenance.
In 1997 the company OddaHotellene takes over. At the same time the Melkeraaen family wishes to sell the hotel. Johan’s oldest twin son, Ole, is willing to buy. The 1st. of April 1998, exactly 81 years after Ole and Karl started in the hotel business, Ole’s grandchild buys the hotel through his company "Hardanger Hotel Company AS".
OddaHotellene runs the hotel to the 1.st. of September 2002. Another company, Hardanger Hotel AS takes over the management the 1st. of September 2002, and runs the hotel till 29.th of July 2005.
During the period 1998 - 2005 the hotel faces a complete renovation, and now the hotel is ready to meet new demands from the market.
Today the hotel is run and owned by the company Geminix AS.
The Hotel Manager is Mr. Ole Melkeraaen.