14 Sep On a small island in the Arctic Circle, polar explorer Børge Ousland has created a holiday resort for those who find beauty in nature.
Floor to ceiling windows offer panoramic views over the still water of the fjord during the day, and at night, the Northern lights dance across the sky.
Welcome to the sea cabins of Manshausen, an island situated in the remote Steigen Archipelago in Northern Norway. The resort and activity center was designed by award-winning Tromsø-based studio, Stinessen, who explain of their concept, that: “The cabins are designed to offer their guests shelter and comfort while at the same time underlining the dramatic experience of the elements outside; the sea, landscape, changing lights, weather and different seasons”. Constructed from larch wood, the dominant feature of the modular cabins is the floating glass frontage that offers sweeping views of the sea and mountains beyond.
Manshausen is a world in its own. 55 acres, situated in the middle of the Grøtøya strait, only 500 meters from the small village Nordskot. With its well-protected harbour, Manshausen was in its time an important and busy part of the old trading post Grøtøy, which was established in 1698. Fish is still important, but kayaking, diving, cycling, climbing and summer and winter hiking has now taken over as the most popular activities. Steigen represent a unique destination for such activities, with hundreds of small islands, white sandy beaches, spectacular mountains, and to the north the Loftoten islands act as a protective wall.
There are there seacabins along the old stone jetty, two more on the rocky Northern side of the Island, and the last two units situated above the others on natural ledges in the terrain, with beautiful views overlooking the sea and mountains.
Through the large glass windows you can enjoy the elements from the bed or comfortable chairs. Each hut has two separate bedrooms: The master bedroom has a 160 cm double bed, and the guest room is a 140 cm bed and another “trundle” single bed (90 cm x 2.00) underneath. All huts have a specially designed bathroom and kitchen in corian. Architect Snorre Stinessen is the designer of the huts. Breakfast is served in the main house, along with lunch and dinner.
The main house
The main house is originally from the 1800s, but has been through a total makeover, both inside and out. In the old days, there were 9 bedrooms, now the house consist of one large open kitchen and dining area on the first floor and a spacious library with relaxing seating areas on the second floor. Most of the books in the library are from Borges personal expedition collection, including a few shelves with National Geographic Magazine. With an opened up the roof and a glass front all the way to the top to let the nature inside.
Hot tub, the dam and sauna
The dam is filled with saltwater that is pumped in so its always fresh. Next to the dam they is a hot-tub for 12-14 people, and with stairs down into the dam you can easily cool off when needed. The Sauna has been recently finished in similar design as the cabins so it fits right in !
Food and drinks
Breakfast is included for anyone who rents on Manshausen. They serve lunch and dinner at the “Hovedhuset” but distribution is not easy here so meals have to be ordered in advance (at least 24 hours). The menu is typically seasonal and will consist mainly of local produce such as seafood, reindeer, lamb or elk. Specialties, when in season, are bacalao, “lutefisk”, fresh cod and wild sheep from Steigen. The bar is open in the evenings with all rights for our guests and for closed groups according liquor license.
The surrounding area, both on land and on the bigger islands nearby offers great hikes for all levels and difficulties. Trips range from easy strolls on the islands Måløya and Grøtøya to spectacular and breath-taking traverses. All within the immediate vicinity of Manshausen.
Best season for alpine ski trips is March – April. The area around Norfolda, only half an hour by boat from Manshausen, offers great conditions for long days up and down snow-covered mountain slopes. Typical height of the mountains in Steigen is 700-1000 metres. There is even a glacier in Steigen, Helldalsisen, at 1320 metres. Several of the summits nearby are only accessible by boat.
Ski & Sail
Manshausen is an ideal base for a spring ski trip by boat. Several peaks are only accessible this way.
Possibilities for diving are many, especially snorkelling, since the locations are protected and the water is relatively shallow and accessible with just mask and snorkel. The water is quite clear most of the year, and clearest during winter and springtime. We have equipment for rent if you want to go snorkelling. If you want to go scuba diving you need to bring your own personal diving equipment (and certificate), but they have a diving compressor, diving led and bottles for rent.