Perfectly located in the heart of Tórshavn, Hotel Hafnia — the Faroe Islands’ most historical, best located hotel — gets a facelift as it gears up for more business, with revamped reception hall, new conference facilities and new rooms.
[By B. Tyril]
There is nothing quite like staying at the Hotel Hafnia. The friendly business hotel in the very center of Tórshavn oozes with history and charm, yet its recent refurbishment has clearly added to its attraction. The makeover features an increase of the hotel’s room capacity from 57 to 74, a magnificent new Panorama conference venue on the top floor plus a series of other items ranging from new lifts and stairways to a completely renovated reception hall and a new facade.
“The hotel was due for an upgrade and we’re very pleased with the result,” said General Manager Oddbjørg Højgaard.
Her clients will doubtlessly agree. While the hotel retains its unmistakable atmosphere of something that is at once timeless, age-old and contemporary, it remains a decent place to stay, and more so than ever.
Besides the completely renewed Panorama conference facility, a new meeting room has been added on the ground floor, with two additional function rooms elsewhere in the eight-floor building. Thus with a significantly upgraded capacity for hosting meetings, conferences, and other types of events, Hotel Hafnia is looking to attract more event bookings. The hotel is a member of the official Visit Faroe Islands MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, events) network and has specially trained ‘meetovator’ staff to assist clients.
“Many know exactly how to make their events engaging and successful,” Ms. Højgaard said.
“For others, however, the ‘meetovator’ can be of great help to make sure that happens through adding an element of entertainment and a layer of professionalism.”
She noted that the Faroe Islands is emerging as an up and coming conference destination and that Hafnia is well positioned in this context. Among the competitive advantages offered is the ready availability of anything from action-packed adventures to breathtaking sightseeing tours whether by land, sea or air. And with a growing supply of excursions and related services, the Faroese have been able to demonstrate their ability to lure conference goers.
As Ms. Højgaard further pointed out, meetings and conferences can obviously be enhanced through refreshments as well as proper meals.
“We collaborate with tour operators and agents who offer all-inclusive packages that include air tickets, accommodation and conference facilities, with optional add-ons such as hiking or sightseeing by boat or helicopter. Our key role is of course to offer accommodation and conference venues and besides, our restaurant offers local and international cuisine and serves delicious dishes, both in the restaurant itself and also by special arrangement in connection with, for example, meetings or conferences that we host.”
“I think it’s safe to say that the Faroe Islands has become better at this and one of the things that really amazes visitors is the ease with which we can move from one experience to the next,” she said. “The islands are very tightly interconnected and most people here are so flexible that you can virtually get to anything anywhere in the country within the next hour or two. That is something that many find incredible, and I guess it is.”
The renovation of Hafnia’s lobby, meanwhile, has been received with enthusiasm. Compared to the previous one, the two new elevators are much more spacious and offer easy access including for persons in a wheelchair. With 19 new rooms added, the perfectly located hotel is ready to receive more guests than ever.
Hotel Hafnia’s origins date back to the early 20th century with the hotel as such built and opened in 1951 by businessman and musician Christian Restorff, who owned and managed it for decades together with his sons Martin and M. C. Restorff, until they sold it, in 2005, to its present owners, a group led by Osmund Justinussen and two of his sons, Tummas and Gunnar Justinussen.
As for the hotel’s historic links, the founder was the grandson of M. C. Restorff senior, also known as Old Restorff, a baker who immigrated from Copenhagen and became a pioneer in the Faroese fishing industry in the mid 19th century when the royal trade monopoly was abolished. His granddaughter was the mother of internationally acclaimed writer-poet-composer-artist William Heinesen (1900-1991), whose novels contain vivid recollections of the very environment in which Hotel Hafnia eventually came into being.
“This hotel has always had strong links to music and local history and we are proud of this heritage,” Ms. Højgaard added.