I myself was born and raised in the sailing ship town of Risør, and together with my Swedish wife, Barbro, we ran dental practice in the city for many years.
However, we not only worked with fixing teeth, but also started fixing on old, historically important Risør houses. We started with a house from 1863 that would eventually become the hotel's first suite, "The Sailor's Suite" in Trekta beside reception.
Dagens Næringsliv newspaper came to visit and wrote about Norway's smallest hotel with one room.
My interest in charming maritime things and sailing and Barbro's interest in finer antiques and décor, as well as common interest in historic Risør, has resulted in that over 40 years we have restored more than 15 listed houses in Risør town centre.
We feel true love for what we think are uncut diamonds; derelict historic houses with soul and character. Slowly but surely, Det Lille Hotel has grown into that today we can offer our guests 16 different suites with a total of 66 beds.
Each suite has its own maritime history. 12 suites located in the heart of Risør, 150 metres from Torvet and Risør's inner harbour. The other four are located 800 metres from the harbour, in Buvika, in an 18th-century house.
"A hidden gem of a hotel with rooms all over town"
Local people smiled and wondered if we were crazy - this was something new!
Such a hotel must be built stone on stone over a long period of time. There have been many long working days for us, but the interest in rehabilitation combined with the desire to create has driven the work forward in all years.
"The hardworking couple" became our nickname and we enjoyed trawling all of Scandinavia for antiques and maritime curiosities, and so the hotel grew, slowly but surely.
We have always been careful that the different parts of the hotel will blend in as a natural part of Risør's historic environment. Most suites are decorated with fine furniture and antiques and have their own distinct atmosphere based on the individual theme chosen.
A difficult period
We didn't really know where this was going to end. And Barbro thought in 2012 that we should think about selling as we approached retirement age. We decided not to sell, but in 2015 Barbro became seriously ill and died in June 2016.
It was, of course, a difficult period for me and the hotel, and I considered closing down in 2016.
The adventure lives on
However, with the help of my new girlfriend Kari Hannemyr and general manager David Arnesen, from 2018 we have set new speed in the hotel business and expanded the Lille Hotel with the property Consulate - my and Barbro's home from 1864 - and now the hotel's centerpiece. We have completed the Cluster in Kragsgaten with the 16th suite Sailing Ship Suite.
On 1 January 2019 we became a member of «De Historiske». Kari is the hotel's quality manager and is responsible for meeting the high standards of membership of De Historisk. This is no hotel chain, it is an independent collection of Norway's most charming hotels and eateries. Here you will find something for everyone. There are 65 hotels, 26 eateries and two boats that are members of the group.
I hope that we welcome you to Risør and Det Lille Hotel soon, and am sure that you will thrive as a Risør citizen and as part of a living history.
With best wishes,