Paid one million Norwegian kroner to live in Anders Jahre's magnificent villa for a year
Morten Christensen has sold everything he owned three times in the pursuit of building a hotel chain. Friends and free time have been replaced by ten hotels and NOK 450 million.
With a blue suit, proud eyes and combed hair, Morten Christensen (52) stands in the front door of the magnificent villa Midtåsen in Sandefjord. He points the way into the hall, past the portrait of shipowner Anders Jahre that hangs over the fireplace. The steps continue towards the end of the hall, where he is greeted by a striking view of the city and the sea that just disappears into the horizon.
With a cup of coffee in his hand, he can look down at Sandefjord church, Park Hotell and Jahre's factories, and know that he has become the businessman he dreamed of becoming when he was a teenager. When he walked around with a stress case on his way to the stamp club …
Growing with new large great halls
Unique Hotels has bought Seljord Hotel and two summer restaurants in Vestfold. Now the growing hotel chain is talking to possible growth partners.
– We have made a number of strategic moves during the pandemic which have meant that we have come out stronger, at least as it looks now, says Morten Christensen, general manager and co-founder of the hotel group Unique Hotels.
With Fjellsport and Komplett founder Eric Sandtrø as co-owner, Christensen has built up a group with 11 hotels …
Anders Jahre's spectacular shipowner's villa has become a hotel
The legacy of Anders Jahre is perhaps best known for the 30-year hunt in tax havens. Now his venerable villa has become a hotel destination. This is probably the only hotel in Norway with its own butler.
Midtåsen, Sandefjord: When Anders Jahre was named the world's most influential shipowner by Life Magazine in 1962, he was on top of the world. The sea was emptied of whales and the worldwide shipping conglomerate had conquered the seven seas. For those who grew up after the 1980s, perhaps the story of the shipowner is associated with the 30-year hunt for hidden fortunes in foreign tax havens …
Started with zero - owns premium hotels for 300 million
With Fjellsport and Komplett founder Eric Sandtrø as a partner, Morten Christensen is building up a new hotel group. The ground pillars are small towns in Eastern Norway.
Sandefjord: - I have started my tenth summer in this group. It has gone from nothing to a medium-sized group, says Morten Christensen, general manager and one of two major owners in the hotel group Unique Hotels.
With Fjellsport and Komplett founder Eric Sandtrø as co-owner and co-founder, Christensen has built up a group of ten hotels …
Midtåsen has become one of the country's most exclusive hotels: - You have to be approved. We don't let everybody in
If you want a hotel experience completely out of the ordinary, you can now rent at Villa Midtåsen. With the fee you get, among other things, your own butler.
There is a very special atmosphere at Midtåsen. You notice it as soon as you walk up the red carpet and enter the entrance hall of Anders Jahre's old villa. Here you are pulled back in time and it almost smells of ancient times and history sits in the walls.
Here we meet Morten Christensen, the hotel director himself and CEO of the hotel chain Unique Hotels.
– We have long offered accommodation for bridal couples and wedding guests, as well as other groups. The new thing now is that we offer a hotel experience for people who want something out of the ordinary, he says.
Morten bought Jahre's old watch and yearns for a Bentley
Unique Hotels have Jahre's old villa on Midtåsen in their portfolio. CEO Morten Christensen aims to return several of Anders Jahre's old valuables to the hotel concept at Midtåsen.
This week, Christensen got his hands on an Omega watch from 1944, and is considering a Bentley car from 1951 …