The hotel was founded in 1844

The hotel was founded in 1844 by a Russian clerk from Riga, Michael Wassilioff (1814-1875), who had fled before 1840 to avoid serving in the Russian military and boarded the ship of a Captain Wurschmidt who was sailing to Stavern. He married there in 1841 with Anne Marie Jacobsdatter, by two years his junior, who then was a farm owner there on the quay. Michael turned it into a bakery and an hotel, and also established a steamboat company.

Three stars in Baedeker’s travel guide

Tatjana og Ingebrigt WassilioffThe siblings Tatjana and Ingebrigt Wassilioff.

His son Ingebrigt Wassilioff (1842–1905) was a trained engineer, but he took over the hotel in 1867 and made it more widely known, with his sister Tatiana Wassilioff (1843–1898) working as the chef. They received three stars in Baedeker’s travel guide (the 1800s equivalent of today’s Michelin guide), which published its first edition covering Norway and Sweden in 1878. This was the guide’s highest award and was only given to two hotels in Norway, Chistiania Hotel in Christiania and Hotel Wassilioff in Stavern. The Wassilioff family died in 1898 and 1905, but the hotel continued to be renown throughout the 20th century and to this day.

Hotel Wassilioff around 1890

The hotel burned down

The hotel burned down in 1922. During the reconstruction in 1923, decorations in the so-called “Aamodtsalen” were performed by the artist Asbjørn Aamodt (1893–1966) from Larvik, who then moved to the artist colony on Citadelløya outside Stavern in 1925. His friends Herman Wildenwey (1885–1959) and Gunnar Reiss-Andersen (1896–1964) were frequent tenants in the hotel until they found a permanent home in Stavern.

Hotel Wassilioff ca 1925

Hotel Wassilioff ca 1935

Wassilioff’s spirit and hospitality live on

The Wassilioff, who passed away around the turn of the century, had no descendants. The steamship expedition was directed by Peder Pedersen after Ingebrigt died in 1905, while the hotel was taken over by Miss Marie Steinert (born 1878) from Larvik. Its next owners were Johan Fridmann Jensen and then Gerd Johansen, who in 1967 sold to the couple Anne Gerd and Gunnar Lossius Berseth.

King Haakon visited Stavern and the Hotel Wassilioff in 1938

Today, the hotel is owned by Camilla and Morten Christensen and run by hotel director Morten Christensen.