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Hotel town is coming to Elvesletta

FOTO: LPO Arktitekter

Hotel town is coming to Elvesletta

Po Lin Lee will build a hotel with spa facilities and an ice rink. Kroa is also building a new location, probably in collaboration with another hotel.

The blueprints of the new hotels planned at Elvesletta are now clear.
Last year, Store Norske distributed three plots of the land it owns to three applicants. Two of the sites will feature hotels. Kroa will build a new facility at the third.

Ice rink and spa
One of the hotel builders is Po Lin Lee from Hong Kong. She has the lot closest to Sportscenteret.

In late October, LPO Akritekter submitted a planning application for a facility named the Svalbard International Hotel. It will be built in two wings. Between them will be a winter garden, playground and a water surface that can be converted into a skating rink during winter.

On the ground floor there will be a lobby, restaurant, bar, spa facilities, and rooms for pilates and tai chi. The two upper floors will feature 64 hotel rooms. Planned for the roof is a bar and roof terrace. Solar panels will also be attached to the roof.

In January, Lee said the hotel is part of an effort to attract more Asian tourists to Longyearbyen, which includes her opening of the giant Santa's mailbox at Sjøområdet last year. The hotel is designed by LPO Arkitekter in Longyearbyen, while parts of the interior will be designed by Hong Kong-based architects.

Po Lin Lee is not in Svalbard now, but in an e-mail to Svalbardposten she wrote she does not want to reveal anything more about the property before the hotel's opening. She stated she wants to keep most of the details secret, so it is a surprise on par with the mailbox.

Kroa relocating
Steakers Svalbard AS, doing business as Kroa, is planning to build a new premises for the restaurant on the plot adjacent to the international hotel.

"We have not agreed with the owners of the Basecamp Hotel on a further lease and found that it's easier to do it this way," said Ernst Myrbakk, chairman of the board of directors for Steakers Svalbard AS.

He said that the original plan was to build a hotel and a new tavern on the same plot. They applied for the top corner lot, but got the middle of the three that were distributed.

"At the same time there has been an interested party who wants to build a hotel on our land, possibly next door," Myrbakk said. "Therefore, we need a little more time to get our plans ready. We've got time over the New Year, and I hope and believe that they will be in order."

He said it is certain there will be a new building for Kroa and 80 percent certain a hotel will also be part of the project, as others engage in, adjoin or connect with Kroa.

"We want Kroa to stand out and look more Svalbard-like," he said.

130 guest rooms
The hotel being developed in collaboration with Kroa will be built by Sandmo & Svenkerud, which has already received approval for its planning application.

They plan to build 130 guest rooms spread over three floors. The hotel will also feature conference rooms, a restaurant and an accompanying kitchen.

There have long been rumors Thon Hotels will operate hotel. Sources contacted by Svalbardposten increasingly believe that will be the case.

When Svalbardposten spoke with Thon Hotels Administrative Director Morten Thorvaldsen in January he said he did not know about the hotel plans in Longyearbyen. Svalbardposten was unable to get a current update from Thorvaldsen.

Tollef Svenkerud, chairman of Sandmo & Svenkerud, is holding the company's cards close to its chest as the hotel's builder.

"We are working to put in place the final concept," he wrote in an e-mail to Svalbardposten.

He stated the construction company envisions starting work next spring.

"It is not possible to say anything more specific at this stage," he wrote.

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