The history behind
Kronen Gaard Hotell
A timber merchant named Gabriel Block Watne, born in 1859, was endowed 4 acres of his parents’ sprawling farm in Vatne, where he built a country house that is now known as Kronen Gaard Hotell.
The yellow main house was the first Block Watne house that was built, and there began the great
Block Watne adventure.
Gabriel, being an industrious timber merchant, traveled to the USA to study something called pre-cut, i.e. ready-made construction kits delivered from the factory and assembled on site. The yellow main house was the first Block Watne house that was built, and there began the great Block Watne adventure.
Gabriel and Beate Block Watne were renowned for their parties. They had six children and stayed in the country house all summer long. The journey from their house in Langgata in the center of Sandnes to Vatne was about half an hour in those days. Unfortunately, due to the recession, the family sold the property in 1920.
An Austrian named Frans Salerius Faydt bought the property from the Block Watne family. He and a friend arrived in Norway in 1911, after escaping their home country to avoid being drafted in the army. In 1920, Faydt worked as a skilled weaver at Sandnes Uldvarefabrikk. He and his first wife had two children. Following his wife’s death while in labor with their second child, he then married his housekeeper. He died shortly after this, and the housekeeper sold the property, placed the two girls in foster homes and moved back to her home town, Haugesund. One of the girls went on to live with a butcher called Nygård in Sandnes, and the other girl went to live with her mother’s family in Ålgård.
The property was then sold to Gudrun Baade Jensen, who at the time worked at Dale Psychiatric Hospital. She used the farm as a nursing home for older women who were diagnosed with dementia, since she thought that the idyllic surrounding in Vatne were a perfect place for rest and rehabilitation.
Finally, in 1953, Kjell and Sygni Steinsvåg purchased Kronen Gaard, or “Trødne” as it was known at the time. The word “trødne” is derived from the word for “to step” or to walk” in dialect, and the property was given the name because the cows used the area as a refuge from marshy earth when the rain and springs caused flooding.
Kjell and Sygni continued to run the property as a psychiatric institution, but also rented the property to Rogaland Psychiatric Hospital in the 1980s, for use as a psychiatric nursing home.
In 1986, Kjell and Sygni officially changed the name to Kronen Gaard Hotell. They refurbished the buildings and opened it up for socializing and celebrations, yet again, after so many years. Given their religious background, they did not apply for an alcohol license, thus deciding to keep a teetotal profile. This proved difficult at the end of the eighties when the yuppies popped champagne left and right. In 1993, their son Helmer Steinsvåg became the new owner of Kronen Gaard Hotell. He applied for an alcohol license, marking the beginning of a new era.
After several extensions, Kronen Gaard Hotell currently has 32 historical rooms, beautiful function rooms, and a restaurant renowned for traditional, honest, Norwegian cuisine.
History of the different rooms at Kronen Gaard
When the place was run as a psychiatric home for elderly women, their study was in Kronesalen. Here, they sat and did needlework, and you could hear the sewing machines and “chatter” from a long way off.
Room 116 (Gaardsuiten)
This suite used to be the chicken coop back when the Block Watne family owned the property.
This room was originally the stables and pig pen, but when the property was a psychiatric home, this was the laundry room.
After the Second World War, Bryggerhuset was built to be a bomb shelter for people in the Vatne area – you can see this today in the thickness of its walls. The existing windows were added at a later stage. The photos found on the wall are of Faydt and his two daughters.
Room 203, Block Watne Suite
The Block Watne family continued to leave its mark on Kronen Gaard Hotell. Gabriel’s grandson, Gunnar Block Watne, a cabinetmaker, made some of the furniture found in this suite, and he also made the wooden chairs found outside Kronesalen.
Laura Watne lived in the small attic room, she was the Ingrid Espelid Hovig of the time and wrote a cookbook. The menus and food philosophy of Kronen Gaard Hotell today are inspired by Laura.
Good to know
Arrival & Departure
You may check in from 15:00 on the day of arrival. On the day of departure, you must check out by 12:00.
The room is reserved until 18:00 on the day of arrival. If you arrive later than 18:00, you must guarantee your reservation with a credit card. If the reservation is neither prepaid nor guaranteed for late arrival, the hotel reserves the right to cancel your booking at 18:00.
Cancellations and No-shows
Unless otherwise agreed upon, cancellations must be made by 18:00 on the day of arrival. In the event of a
no-show or a cancellation that is made past the deadline, the rate of the first night will be charged.