Despite a pre-booking of NOK 100 million: the new Peter Stordalen hotel is not designed to be a cash machine.
– A little at the last minute, right?
An E24 photographer climbs a ladder to reach the main entrance to the new Peter Stordalen Hotel in Oslo.
A craftsman wearing a reflective jacket and helmet quickly signs:
– what?! , shouts another person wearing a helmet and reflectors as he rushes into the room.
There is exactly one day until Hotel Sommerro in the center of Solli plass opens its doors. 231 hotel rooms and 12 suites will be accommodated in the old buildings of the Oslo Light Works, as well as Villa Incognito and the old West Bath. But there is still a bit of work to do, as E24 has to wade through crates, building materials and people at work to find Stordalen and Nordic Choice CEO Torgeir Silseth at the pub.
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– It would be fine, but it should have been a little over…as usual, says Selseth.
His daughter, Caroline Bernander Selseth, is the hotel manager at the new hotel. Henrik Anker Stordalen, son of Stordalen, is also working closely with the project. Having children who are in complete control of the state of things brings with it advantages and disadvantages purely in terms of stress management.
You get more unfiltered reports than you might get from employees, says Selseth.
– Which of you is more worried now?
– We’re equally concerned. Stordalen says it’s evenly distributed with butterflies in my stomach and turgier now, and assures rooms are ready. Guests should not notice anything, if tomorrow everything is not completely in place.
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– Not for quick gains
Profitability was not the first idea during the development of Sommerro.
– This is an investment in urban development. We have tall glasses — that’s not going to zero anytime soon,” says Celseth.
Such hotels are not built to make quick profits. But then you have a gem of a hotel. When Torger and I retire, we’ll stand in Sully Square and look at this hotel—and be proud, Sturdalen says.
He points out that his Villa Copenhagen in Copenhagen – a hotel of a similar nature with a massive restoration to what used to be the city’s old main post office – will be profitable this year. The hotel opened in summer 2020.
– When we opened, we didn’t think it would be profitable in my life, says Stordalen.
2.5 billion investment
Huge sums have been poured into restoring the building, which is owned 50/50 by Stordalen’s Strawberry Brothers with property developer Aspelin Ramm. 2.5 billion NOK has been invested. By comparison, Stordalen’s flagship hotel in Oslo with 800 rooms, The Hub, cost NOK three billion. Divided into rooms: 10 million in Sommerro and 2.5 million in The Hub.
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There was no room for industrial simplicity here. Hotels should retain the style of the year of construction – 1929. There was no shortage of meetings with Byantikvaren.
Stordalen’s enthusiasm is as great as the interest in opening day. It is directed in all directions. On the restored giant fresco at the end of the room, the painter Per Krogh signed. On specially designed chairs upholstered in velor.
– Details here! We see!
Stordalen leans under the bar counter and points out the carvings in the wood. Reminder that it matches the stage, where the jazz band Dark Roast does an acoustic check. Live music will be played here several times a week.
– And the elevators … It almost pains me to think of the people who bring their bags there, says Stordalen to Celseth with a sigh.
So far, Sumero has advance bookings of NOK 100 million. Selseth says the bank is cheering for the projects. After two years of a difficult pandemic, in which the group lost nearly four billion Norwegian kroner, Stordalen and the CEO are looking to the future.
We have gone through every crisis imaginable now. High interest rates, inflation and everything you read about in the newspaper now.. We think we are ready for that, and we will deal with it. It looks good now. We’ve had some very good months,” says Selseth.
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