A farm was located on this site in the distant past. The last farmer here was Mogens Koch’s widow, Madame Koch, who also ran a grocer’s shop and did a little inn-keeping.
She sold the property to merchant Vilhelm Rønne, of Rønne, in 1872. He tore down most of the farm buildings and built a new one. He traded with farmers and fishermen, and also owned ships which traded with various goods in Copenhagen. He also exported fish (including salmon) to Germany.
Vilhelm Rønne was a very enterprising man who ran several branches, which he operated through managers. For a while, he leased the entire island of Christiansø, except for the houses and buildings required by the Lighthouse Authority, and ran a business on Christiansø and rented to fishermen from Bornholm (Vilhelm Rønne lived in the town of Rønne). He did not have access to the pilot’s house on Christiansø either.
One of the managers in Gudhjem was named Andreas Hansen Brandt, and he managed the Gudhjem branch until 1894, when he purchased it. He ran it until 1918, when he sold it to Gudhjem Haandværker og Afholdsforening (Gudhjem Craftsmen’s Guild and Temperance Society) for DKK 25,000. Brant had earned a handsome profit from his merchant’s business and other activities, and, because he wanted to continue living in Gudhjem, he built a large house above Gudhjem which is now called Pension Koch. Back then, it was named “Højvang”.
The Craftsman’s Guild and Temperance Society built a new two-storey wing extending into the courtyard, with a hall and stage on the ground floor and rooms on the first floor. The building housed a technical school for many years.
A local museum was also housed in the loft storey. The hall and stage were used for plays and physical exercises during the winter. The shop and warehouse located in the building was leased to the Gudhjem Co-operative Society.
The first hotel-keeper at Afholdshotellet (Temperance Hotel), which it was called, was named Grundtmann Svendsen, and he ran the hotel until 1933, when Hansigne Koch took it over, after relinquishing the operation of the inn and grocer’s shop on Christiansø. She ran the hotel until 1939, when it was taken over by Aage and Esther Tranberg.
They ran the hotel until 1 April 1970, when Ruben and Birte Wolfsberg bought the venue, and changed the name from Afholdshotellet to Hotel Gudhjem, which it is still called to this day. Under Ruben and Birte Wolfsberg’s ownership, the hotel underwent its most sweeping refurbishment and expansion with all the features that belong to a modern hotel.
They originally ran the venue as an ordinary hotel, but after a few years, they entered into a contract with EGV, which used the hotel for a few years until 1975, when the couple signed a contract with 65-Ferie (the then “Pensionistrejser”, charter travel for senior citizens). In 1993, first Ruben Wolfsberg and then Birte Wolfsberg passed away, after which their sons Morten and Michael Wolfsberg, and wives Marianne and Stine, took over the hotel and continued to refurbish it. They jointly ran the hotel until 2003, when Michael and Stine Wolfsberg took over sole ownership of the hotel. The hotel is undergoing improvements all the time, and is now Gudhjem’s biggest hotel venue.