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A design boutique hotel above the Arctic Circle in Norway

A bucket-list worthy getaway

Owned by famed polar explorer Børge Ousland, Manshausen Island Resort is perfect for those yearning for a stunning island sanctuary packed with serene wilderness, adventure and a high dose of modern style. Located just across the fjord from Lofoten, this design boutique hotel is a contemporary yet private escape situated on a remote island above the Arctic Circle in Norway. Wrapped in a dream-like setting of intimate seclusion and adventurous activities, Manshausen Island is the ideal destination for style-conscious travellers and outdoor lovers. The modern aesthetic beauty of the seven sleek sea cabins, and exciting outdoor pursuits in the magnificent natural surroundings, are combined with great dining. From rock-climbing to Arctic ocean activities and gazing at the ethereal Northern Lights, Manshausen Island is a magical destination that should be experienced at least once in your lifetime.

An oasis of untamed natural splendour awaits at the stylish, sleek and sustainable Manshausen Island Resort. An idyllic hideaway bordered by Norway’s Lofoten Islands, this 55-acre private island is located above the Arctic Circle. Once an important trading post, the remote island is now owned by the most acclaimed polar explorer of our generation, Børge Ousland, who was the first person to cross the Arctic solo.

This former 17th-century harbour has been transformed into a unique island resort that combines unspoiled natural beauty with the brilliance of modern design. Escape to a world of serenity and wonder.

Not only is Manshausen Island Resort one of the best hotels to stay at during a trip to northern Norway, thanks to its immense natural beauty that is surrounded by an outdoor wonderland for endless adventures, but it is also perfect for off-the-beaten-track, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Sea cabin on Manshausen Island

Manshausen Island is located in the Steigen archipelago. With nothing but you and the wilderness on this majestic island, you will feel as though you have ventured to an entirely different world where crystalline waters and epic landscapes beckon to be explored.

With its unique location between small islands, sandy beaches and high mountains, Manshausen is one of Norway’s best adventure playgrounds. Here you can do everything from kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, trekking, hiking or rock-climbing, to enjoying the Northern Lights or the midnight sun from the hot tub.

Manshausen Island Resort is also a place where soothing minimalist design and architecture have taken hold in exciting new ways. Having won 40 architectural awards, the seven designer cabins feature expanses of glass walls, allowing for a stunning panorama that embraces the full glory of the island’s natural splendour. With an emphasis on a clean design aesthetic, the sea cabins feature modern simplicity yet an organic style that soothes the soul. Here, the transparency of glass and the warmth of wood come together in each private sea cabin while offering the stunning visual experience of the outdoors that range from the glistening sea to the lustrous landscapes to the ever-changing lights.

Long exciting adventure days are best complemented with long and relaxing evenings, luxuriating in the bliss of calmness and serenity. A restaurant, a professional kitchen and a cosy library are housed in a converted farmhouse that dates from the 18th century. Manshausen Island Resort also offers a wellness area with a hot tub and a sauna.

Manshausen Island Resort takes guests to a different world, one where relaxation and adventure flourish.

The owner – Børge Ousland, the most celebrated polar explorer of our generation

Owned by a polar explorer, writer and photographer, Børge Ousland, Manshausen Island Resort has a taste of real adventure.

From working as a diver in the North Sea in the 80s to writing eleven books, making eight documentaries/movies and, most significantly, completing solo crossings of both the Arctic and Antarctic from coast to coast, Børge Ousland is one of the most accomplished and famous polar explorers of our time.

For more than 30 years, Børge Ousland has accomplished many Arctic and Antarctic expeditions – pioneering treks that have pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible. In 2019, together with Mike Horn, he carried out one of the most groundbreaking polar expeditions in modern times: a trek across the frozen Arctic Ocean via the North Pole during the months-long Arctic winter night.

As Børge Ousland ventured on expeditions into the Arctic and the Antarctic, he cherished a dream: an island of his own in the high north…In 2010, Børge purchased Manshausen island and soon decided to share his island in this pristine and little-visited part of northern Norway with others.

View from Sea cabin at boutique hotel above the arctic circle in Norway

Accommodation at Manshausen Island Resort

Børge Ousland, polar explorer and brainchild behind the Manshausen Island Resort, had the vision to create a space that guarantees a permanent connection with the surrounding nature, sea and light. This vision was brought to fruition with seven stunning sea cabins seductively staged in the area’s magical dreamscape.

Cantilevered over the water on the island’s old stone jetty, rocky northern shore, or natural ledges higher up, the design’s elegant simplicity complements the real star of the show – the views. Sandwiched between the dramatic mountainous landscape and the sea, there is nothing quite like it.

All cabins boast expansive glass walls, which invite guests to lose themselves in the immersive vistas over deep-blue fjords and towering mountains. Here, guests can witness the power of nature and the magic of the Northern Lights as you are given a front-row seat to the most spectacular light show dancing across the Arctic night sky.

The Zen interiors incorporate straight lines, a calm and neutral colour palette and minimalistic furnishings. The natural larch wood interiors and Corian kitchen and bathrooms give the cabins an airy atmosphere.

Each 30m2 cabin has been designed to be as compact as possible but still comfortably accommodate two couples or a family with up to three children. Each cabin consists of the main bedroom, an extra bedroom, bathroom, shower, a lounge area and a kitchenette/dining area. The master bedroom is graced with a grand view.

Each cabin has a private outdoor deck open to the sky, providing the perfect place to land after a long day of adventures. The deck also provides an intimate space to watch the northern lights and to stargaze at night.

Each of the sea cabins showcases stunning views that are breathtaking, calming, and otherworldly.

The floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows offer an unobstructed vista of the magnificent scenery and ever-changing light.

Comfortable chairs, beds with warm duvets, the sounds of the wind and the waves, the stylish sea cabins provide a tranquil sanctuary amidst the spectacular scenery. With no TV, Manshausen Island Resort is where guests get to enjoy a truly relaxing retreat with the beauty of the landscape as a backdrop. Enjoy the views while lying in bed, lounging in comfortable chairs, or preparing a meal in the kitchen. There is no better place for Aurora watching than your private sea cabin at Manshausen Island.

In addition to the seven designer cabins, the boathouse contains the Expedition Loft, dormitory-style accommodation. There are shared bathrooms and showers, as well as a fully-equipped kitchen with a fridge and stove.

Collage showing the main building and restaurant at Manshausen Island resort along with images of restaurant table

Culinary

All meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are served in the restaurant in the Main House, originally an  18th-century farmhouse, which is home to the charming and characterful dining area. The open kitchen allows diners to watch the chef working at his craft and witness each plate’s step-by-step preparation.

For a relaxed dining experience, the restaurant celebrates the taste of the place. The ingredients are local, fresh and most often caught and produced right here at Manshausen. The meals are not only delicious but nourishing and satisfying. Unlocking the area’s culinary treasure chest, the cuisine is heavily based on fresh seafood, such as bacalao, lutefisk, halibut and cod, as well as Norwegian delicacies such as reindeer, elk, lamb and wild sheep from Steigen. The varied food is sourced locally or grown in the old farmhouse’s kitchen garden.

Prepared with just a few selected high-quality ingredients, the chef’s dishes are authentic, seasonal and at the same time, distinctive and innovative.

The chef’s focus is finding the best way to prepare the key ingredient that emphasises its taste and texture. When combining this with freshly-caught seafood, or what Manshausen Resort harvests from the island and its shore, as well as the game and other world-class ingredients acquired from the forests on the mainland, guests are guaranteed to be treated to something very special. Diners will be able to let the astonishing array of flavours take them through a culinary journey of Manshausen and its surroundings.

If you prefer a more intimate and private dining setting, small kitchens are available in your private sea cabin for you to prepare a feast of your choice. There are also three barbecue grills available for guests to use.

Facilities & services at Manshausen Island Resort

Manshausen Island Resort was carefully planned and laid out considering the island´s topography and the two main existing structures – the large 18th-century farmhouse and the listed old stone jetties on the quayside.

The Main House (Hovedhuset) has been sympathetically restored. It is at the heart of the island resort community. This is where you meet others, whether in the library-lounge area, the open kitchen or restaurant. All meals are served here, and guests can drop by anytime for a chat and a coffee, get information, or have a drink in the evening after your day’s adventures.

Main house at Manshausen Resort

Upstairs are the Library and Lounge, with soft couches and chairs. Guests will find lots of inspiration in Børge’s personal book collection in the well-stocked library. Here is an extensive collection of the history of polar expeditions, National Geographic magazines, travel books from around the world, and a wide range of other literature. The library-lounge area has been opened up with large glass windows, affording stunning views towards the Lofoten in the north. This is the perfect place for an aperitif or an after-dinner drink along with a good conversation. Or just sit in silence watching the ever-changing light, or curl up in a chair with a warm blanket and a good book. Furniture in the Main House is from the Italian brand Cassina and the Norwegian brand Fjordfiesta, while the kitchen is from the Italian brand Varenna.

Visitors to Manshausen Island Resort are treated like friends and not like hotel guests; this experience is really unique. Your hosts, chef, adventure guides and the rest of the staff are proud of the region itself, its amazing scenery, and not least the surrounding sea.

With sustainability at its core, Manshausen Island became the first plastic-free ocean island in Scandinavia and the first White Flag certified macro area (the complete marine area around the whole island has been entirely inspected and cleaned from plastic), which will be maintained and cleaned twice a year.

Wellness area

Manshausen Island Resort provides a sublime setting for pure bliss and deep tranquillity. It features a pond that is filled with seawater that is continuously being refreshed. There are the hot tub and the sauna by this pond, making it a wonderful place to relax.

Sauna and fresh water pond at Manshausen Island Resort

The sauna’s special design reflects that of the sea cabin, and like the cabins, it has a large window that makes you feel at one with the surrounding scenery. Detoxify your body in the reinvigorating sauna and leave with an overall feeling of calm, peace and purity.

An open-air, wood-fired hot tub is also available for guests. Unwind with a soothing soak in the hot tub and watch the sun sets, which transforms the sky into shades of pink, orange, and yellow swirled together like a carefully painted masterpiece. After having warmed up in the hot tub, retreat to the cool and refreshing saltwater pond just steps away.

So, leave the stress of everyday life behind and immerse yourself into the peace and pristinity of nature, and re-emerge refreshed and rejuvenated.

Activities – a pristine wonderland for true wilderness adventures

Manshausen Island’s location offers a rich year-round environment for adventure enthusiasts and explorers. The beautiful region is laced with white beaches, towering mountains and clear waters. Here, the seasons and nature play the leading roles.

Manshausen is a sought-after destination for thrill-seekers, nature enthusiasts and lovers of the outdoors who are looking to experience high-impact fun and adventure-filled days. Whether you spend warm sunny days kayaking, snorkelling and biking, or you are braving the winter beauty whizzing down snow-covered slopes, the area is a multi-activity Mecca.

Manshausen Island Resort offers guests sets of diving masks, snorkels and flippers, fishing rod sets, kayaks (both singles and doubles), sets of harnesses, helper and safety equipment, rowboats, and drysuits. A wonderful outdoor playground all year-round, activities include:

Collage of a few of the activities that are available while staying at Manshausen boutique resort in Norway

Arctic expeditions: Embark on expeditions to neighbouring islands where fine beaches, trails, and unique rock formations await

Kayaking: Regardless of the season, kayaking is something that everyone can enjoy, with or without a guide. Kayak in crystal-clear waters or explore the pristine archipelago. Manshausen Island Resort has plenty of single and double kayaks, paddles and life-jackets.

Snorkelling & scuba diving: Possibilities for diving are many especially snorkelling, since the waters are protected and relatively shallow and therefore accessible with just a mask and snorkel.

Rowing: Rowing is a simple, almost-silent and pure way to enjoy the waters around Manshausen. Feel free to borrow one of the hotel’s rowboats anytime, either just to relax or to try your luck dropping a fishing line over the gunwale.

Sailing and island hopping: For a unique experience, go for the incredible island-hopping sailing adventure through the Steigen Archipelago.

Swimming: Swim in the fjord’s crystal-clear waters or relax on the white sandy beaches where you can enjoy balmy breezes and beautiful sunsets.

Fishing: Fishing here is spectacular. Since time immemorial, its sheltered waters and rich fishing grounds have attracted people to Manshausen. Migrating cod, halibut, mackerel, pollock and sea trout are plentiful. The boutique hotel can tell you where the best fishing spots are and provide you with all the equipment you need.

Hiking: The surrounding area, both on land and on the bigger islands nearby, offers great hikes for all levels and difficulties. Hikers will be rewarded, even at lower elevations, with incredible vistas and views of the extraordinary and rugged beauty of Steigen and the Lofoten Islands. Moreover, since these coastal areas rarely receive much snow, you can enjoy mountain hikes all year. Worst case? You may have to don snowshoes.

The Nordskot Traverse: One of our most popular challenges is the spectacular and breathtaking Nordskot Traverse. It is technically demanding, but a lot of fun and you will be rewarded by an incredible panorama of the Vestfjord. Unless you are an experienced climber, it is strongly recommended that you take this trek with one of the hotel’s guides.

Climbing and rappelling: Make your way up and around the mountain crags on an adrenaline-inducing rock climbing adventure. The cliffs at Nordskot consist of red granite and offers superb rock climbing and rappelling.

Walks: Manshausen Island is large enough for lovely walks, and there is plenty to discover. Also, the neighbouring islands are worth exploring; some of them have old buildings that are of historic interest.

Aurora borealis above arctic circle in Norway

Skiing: Here, unnamed peaks are waiting to be skied. From March through April, alpine skiing is possible in the mountains surrounding Steigen. For those truly adventurous, there is skiing on pristine ski trails that are only accessible by boat (you probably will not see another skier all day long) or take a ski tour to Helldalisen mountain for some glacier skiing. Snowshoeing is also possible amongst frozen rivers, scenic views and pure wilderness.

Bird-watching: The Steigen Archipelago is home to the world´s largest population of sea eagles. These majestic birds can have a wingspan of over two meters. If you are interested in bird-watching and wish to learn more about sea eagles, the boutique hotel has a resident expert who would be happy to take you on a Sea Eagle Safari.

Wildlife photography: Guests can spot wildlife, including moose, sea eagles, otters, seals, dolphins, foxes and hare.

Northern Lights: Perhaps one of the items on your bucket list is to witness the heavenly dance of the Northern Lights. The prime season for this is the winter, between October and March.

Manshausen Island Resort is the perfect way for guests to experience the Norwegian wilderness and Arctic environment – nature always has something to offer, regardless of the season.

Manshausen in the Steigen Archipelago, a destination like no other

Set in remote and breathtakingly beautiful surroundings, Manshausen is a scenic jewel of an island.

Located in northern Norway, it is almost as remote as it gets in Europe, lying 100 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle.

Manshausen’s spectacular position between dramatic mountains and the Barents Sea was in itself the inspiration for celebrated Polar Explorer Børge Ousland´s adventure and exploration resort, Manshausen Island Resort.

There are two different archipelagos in the area – the more famous Lofoten Mountains and Archipelago as well as the less known Steigen Archipelago. Both are magnificent and can be experienced as part of your stay at Manshausen Island Resort.

Aerial of the Steigen Archipelago in Norway

From Manshausen Island you have a direct view of the Lofoten archipelago, whose jagged peaks rise as a protective wall. Steigen has its own coastline and archipelago that is dotted with hundreds of islands and islets, white sandy beaches and spectacular mountains.

Every season offers something different. Here, one finds excellent beaches, jagged mountains, dense forests, wild valleys, waterfalls and coastline full of fjords and islands. Nature is breathtaking. It is the perfect playground for all kind of outdoor activities and an impressive area to explore new trails, hardly visited areas and tempting mountain summits.

Strategically placed to command the Grøtøya Strait, Manshausen Island was historically part of one of northern Norway´s largest trading posts for the fishing industry. Every year, up to a thousand fishermen would gather at Grøtøy and Manshausen for Lofoten’s lucrative winter cod fishing.

Today only visible in the massive stone quays on the Island. Manshausen overlooks the Grøtøyleia strait, and across the water just 500 metres away is the friendly village of Nordskot, which has shops, bars and museums.

How to get to Manshausen Island

Getting to Manshausen is surprisingly easy, and you have many travel options, whether you are travelling by express boat, private boat, car, bus, train or plane.

From the airport on Bodø island to Nordskot, it is a 90-minute scenic journey by boat through one of the world’s most stunning landscapes. This is followed by a quick boat transfer that can be arranged by Manshausen Island Resort.

If you are in Lofoten, you can take the express boat from the town of Svolvær to Nordskot, which takes about two hours.

Fly: There are regular flights each day from Oslo to Bodø Airport. The express boat terminal is in the city centre and is only a relaxed 15-minute walk from the airport. You can be at Oslo Airport Gardermoen a mere 3.5 hours after leaving Manshausen.

Car: The drive from Narvik to Nordskot takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes. In good weather, the drive from Bodø takes just over three hours. Manshausen Island Resort can pick you up by shuttle boat at Nordskot.

By train: Travelling by train is a great and relaxing way to see Norway. Bodø, situated 18 hours from Oslo and 10 hours from Trondheim, is the last stop on the Nordland Line (Nordlandsbanen). From Bodø, you can take the express boat to Nordskot. If you let the boutique hotel know when you arrive at Nordskot, they can pick you up by shuttle boat.

The hotel’s GPS position is 67°50.163’N, 14°46.462’E.

This article was published on and some information may have changed.
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