“A familiar hotel and restaurant with that little extra something”

Eckerö Hotel and Restaurant is a little oasis on the west coast of Eckerö, known for its hospitality and its food, for example fatányéros. But most of all it is known for a voice so similar to Elvis Presley’s that the word has spread all over the world.

In today’s hectic world it is hard to imagine that a place has been run by the same family since the 1960s, but it is true. The foundation of Eckerö Tourist hotel was built by Christina and Alex Karlsson in the same era as the cruise traffic started to Åland. Since 1974 the hotel is run by the son Ronny Karlsson and his wife Sirpa.
– When we took over we were the youngest couple to run a hotel in Åland. Today we should be the oldest, says Ronny, who also has expanded and built in phases since then. The name has also changed to Eckerö Hotel and Restaurant.

Sirpa is a qualified head waiter and hotel boss and Ronny is both a chef, a pastry cook, and a baker. “We’ve got the whole package” as Ronny says. On the menu you find classics like pepper steak, fatányéros, Roquefort steak, and Wiener schnitzel, dishes that have been loved since the hotel started and today are celebrated as retro. Here they have always been, spiced with Ronny’s own and secret herb recipes.
– All the sauces, compound butter, and herb mixes I make myself, our cooks only have to get them from the cans and buckets. I can’t give you my recipes, otherwise the food would taste the same everywhere.

Ronny is also a full-fledged entertainer. He started playing the accordion when he was nine years old and played music throughout his youth, both in Stockholm and in Åland. He has an amazing voice span, once it reached 3,8 octaves, and plays everything from traditional music to Bob Dylan and The Shadows. But his own niche he found in the beginning of the 1990s.
– One evening I sang an Elvis song, and suddenly the audience went silent, then they started cheering. It was a success and the word began to spread. There the hotel’s extra name Grace Åland came to be. The show was held regularly for almost 20 years. Despite inquiries from various places Ronny did not want to move his show anywhere – his Elvis belonged in Eckerö, at his own hotel.

Today Ronny’s Elvis is part-time retired, but maybe he will be brought back to life again, one never knows. Ronny and Sirpa are doing their 42nd season.
– People sometimes ask how we can work so closely together. But it is like two hearts are beating like one. How long we will keep on going? Let’s make it clear; it won’t be for another 42 seasons, but how long it will last, no one can say.