A new hotel will be ready to welcome visitors to Skálavík this summer, according to husband-and-wife owners Martin Karl Olsen and Birita Dalsgaard Olsen.
The couple have since 2018 run the ‘á Mølini’ cafe in the Sandoy village and last year began work on the new hotel that is set to open this summer.
Opening a hotel has always been a dream of theirs, the Olsens told Portal.fo’s online news magazine Blaðið Vikuskifti — something they became more urgently aware of when Hotel Skálavík closed its doors in December 2019.
“We’ve noticed a demand for rooms on Sandoy ever since the hotel closed, which is why we decided to do this,” the couple were quoted as saying. “We probably wouldn’t have started construction already had the old hotel still been open for business.”
Construction of the new hotel building began in October 2020. The Olsens are counting on the hotel to be completed and ready to open around mid June, however it’s too early at this point to say for certain.
The new hotel will include ten rooms at about 22 square meters each. Every room will include a private bathroom and a seaside view, with all the rooms having windows facing the ocean.
“Around mid-May I think we’ll be able to tell for sure whether or not we’ll manage to open by mid-June,” Mr. Olsen said, adding that they’ll likely start promoting the hotel by mid May.
The Olsens say they are already receiving numerous inquiries from people eager to book a room with cafe guests dropping by to query about the hotel and others expressing their interest via e-mail and text messages.
Most of the inquiries have come from other Faroe Islanders, but the Olsens’ hospitality business has also been featured in foreign magazines, qith the couple also having received queries from foreign cafe guests. Mr. Olsen said he expects more foreigners to show interest in the hotel once it’s up and running but added that he expects their clientele to be mostly Faroese.
“I expect foreigners will one day notice us and choose to stay in Skálavík rather than in Tórshavn,” he said. “Once the new subsea tunnel is completed, maybe that will happen; but we’re not placing our bets on foreign visitors as we expect most of our guests to be domestic.”
The cafe is doing well, certainly keeping the couple busy, according to Mr. Olsen.
The historic building that houses the café has been home to several businesses over the years and the building has been in constant use ever since 1889, we’re told. The building has been used as a general store, post office, liqueur store, and warehouse.
The person who originally started the business some 132 years ago was none other than Mrs. Olsen’s great grandfather, making her generation the fourth to run a business from the premises.
“It’s historic,” Mr. Olsen noted. “We’re only doing what the previous generations have done, expanded on what came before and making the business grow. That is what it’s all about.”
The Olsen, however, do not run their cafe on a full-time basis, as they both work at a primary and secondary school in Tórshavn as vice principal and teacher respectively. Still, Mr. Olsen said, it is not entirely unlikely this hospitality business might one day turn into a full-time occupation for them. Right now a major effort is made to build that 10-room hotel, yet the couple have plans of adding more rooms in the future.
“What we’re doing now should only be considered phase one,” Mr. Olsen added.