International p.r. guy Geoffrey Weill said, “Let’s visit Trondheim.” Not knowing where that is, I guessed it’s somewhere outside Iowa. He marched me to Norwegian Airlines, which does 10 flights daily from JFK to the capitals of Europe — including Norway.
Definitely waythehell outside Iowa, Trondheim is in Norway. An icicle outside the Arctic Circle, it snowed. Forget reindeer, in May, even I wore fur.
Trondheim is historic. Norway’s ancient capital. Locals say it begat Leif Erikson, the Norse Viking, who discovered America sometime around the 10th century — weeks before that Italian gent Columbus.
It also boasts the planet’s most exquisite just-opened five-star Hotel Britannia.
The genius behind it is Odd Reitan. He owns international real estate, his own aircraft, a shack in Marbella, Spain, and invited — give or take a guest — 1,500 to his recent wedding.
He says, “As a kid, my family couldn’t afford a place like this.”
One year, Forbes named him the richest man in richest country Norway.
Reitan dreamt of owning and redoing this hotel in childhood and spent four years with $115-plus million rebuilding it.
During the 20th century, Norway’s kings were crowned in its original edifice. In 1969, Queen Elizabeth’s dinner there was oxtail soup, trout, saddle of lamb and cheesecake. Her Majesty eats good.
Europe’s usual Paris, London, Brussels stops are all, like your great-grandma, into miseries. Trondheim, new, untouched, doesn’t need NYC’s plastic surgeon god Dr. Daniel Baker to smooth it over. No demonstrations, no riots, this is a brand-new hotel in an untouched epochal city. A must for new visitors.
The country’s shrine is Nidaros Cathedral, built over the tomb of Viking king St. Olav, their national saint. Its stone bears the date 1161. Give or take a few weeks, it’s 900 years old.
The crucifix contains 70 kg of silver. The organ dates to the 12th century. The Middle Ages used it as a school.
Fjords and waterways being a sardine away, seafood is delivered daily to the Britannia.
In the 1800s, an Irishman, casting on the Nid river that flows through the city, began the story of salmon lords.
The globe’s industry of salmon fishing began in Trondheim.
A superelegant restaurant with a dozen designer courses is under the spatula of multistarred, multiaward-winning master chef — onetime foster child Christopher William Davidsen. It starts at $200 a person. Spirits and wine, extra. Speilsalen boasts a Chef’s Table, where one can sit at a counter overlooking the kitchen.
Shopping’s not too shabby
The goodies. Once European aristocracy’s playground, its new Britannia Hotel and Spa retains the specialties. Soaps, fragrances and creams come from D.R. Harris, St. James’ chemist and London’s oldest pharmacy and prized by faces from Naomi Campbell to the British royal family.
En route to and fro, the stopover after flying internationally on Norwegian Air, could be Copenhagen. Hotel D’Angleterre — circa 1755 — referred to as “the finest hotel in Denmark” is next door to Chanel, steps from the Palace and has Michelin-star chef Andreas Bagh, who serves you at your table turbot in a turbotiere, which I never saw before, don’t exactly own and is not like my kitchen’s frying pan.
In October, Reitan makes his first trip to NYC and the St. Regis — a name his English strangled slightly. For daily weather checks, I told him Channel 1’s Stacy-Ann Gooden looks good, dresses well and gets it right when predicting rain.
For a Broadway treat, even if his English develops the aroma of a herring, he should see “Tootsie” at the Marquis. Whateverthehell, either way, I’m back.
Me, it’s only in New York, kids, only in New York.
Source: Read Full Article