Disclaimer: I visited this hotel some time ago, and posted a review that was not entirely favourable – in particular, I had negative remarks about the standard of the bathroom and the noise level from passing trams. The hotel management responded to my review, apologised and offered an upgrade on my next visit. A few days before my present stay, I did contact the hotel management with this in mind. I did get a (significant) room upgrade – please have this in mind when reading this review.
The hotel's location is good – close to the Royal castle, Oslo's main street and a 5 minutes (brisk) walk from Nationaltheatret train/subway station. Several tram lines operate just outside the hotel. The buses servicing the airport stop nearby as well, but the train is a faster and more comfortable option, and at somewhat lower cost if you choose standard (non-express) trains.
The receptionist was welcoming and friendly. A credit card authorisation was required even if the room was paid for and guaranteed by my employer.
The room was a major upgrade compared to my previous stay. I assume the booked room was a standard one, but I got the key to a corner suite on the 8th floor (room 808). The room had a entrance area with a wardrobe (with a safe and a real ironing board) and doors leading to the bedroom and the bathroom. Walking through the bedroom you could enter a large sitting room. This room had a dinner/meeting table suitable for six people, and a sitting area with a large sofa (probably convertible into a bed?, several comfortable chairs, a flat-screen TV (rather small compared to the room – 26-30 inches?). What really caught my eye was the Nespresso espresso maker and the box of chocolates next to it. There were also fresh flowers in the room.
The bathroom was rather small compared to the overall size of the room – especially if several people were to use it. Its amenities (WC, shower behind a glass screen, washbasin, mirror, hair-drier) were modern and looked OK – far from the rusty, cracked impression I got in my previous room.
The bed was very good and the views from the rooms were great – the royal castle just outside the bedroom window and the town centre with the city hall in the other direction. Noise was not an issue. There was free and decently fast (1 Mb/s) wireless Internet access in the room (there are also two guest computers (with printers) in the reception area, for those not bringing their own equipment).
So this should be perfect, right? Unfortunately I do have a few minor remarks that, when combined, makes me not give the room a 5-”dot” rating:
- Even if the bathroom looked recently refurbished, the door to this room was obviously quite old, its inside having major dents and cracks. This is a minor, cosmetic issue, but it destroys the impression of a “new” bathroom. It could have been fixed easily with a coat of paint.
- The layout of the suite could have been better. If I had specifically booked a suite I would maybe be planning to have visitors, which the sitting room would be great for. However, I would have to lead the guests through my bedroom on their way in – this could be awkward in some situations. In my opinion, switching the locations of the bed and the meeting table would give more privacy and an overall better layout..
- The Nespresso coffe maker was out of order. First I struggled a bit to turn it on (I had to locate a hidden main switch – this should be turned on before the guest's arrival), then I realised that the spent coffee capsules from previous visitors were jammed inside the machine. After some minutes fiddling with a multitool I was able to remove the bags left by previous visitors.
- The chocolate box on the table was a nice gesture – I am not sure if it was included in the room or not (a price list for the mini bar was not to be found). However, the chocolates inside were stale and had a half-melted, whitish appearance. I did point this out to receptionist when leaving the room an hour or so after check-in. He looked very puzzled, did not apologise or offer a replacement, only told me I would not be charged for it.
- There was no night table adjacent to the bed. Being dependent on using glasses, I do prefer to keep them as close as possible to where I sleep, as I struggle a lot to locate them if they get “lost” on the floor or in the bedding. My phone, bedside glass of water and glasses had to rest on a small table nearby (but not reachable from a sleeping position).
- Even if the room had several light fixtures, I did find the lighting insufficient after dark even after turning them all on. The ambient light was uncomfortable for reading without sitting directly below one of the lamps.
The breakfast was as expected from a decent Scandinavian hotel, but nothing more – a standard selection of bread, meats, jams, muesli, eggs, yoghurt etc. There were not many newspapers available (1 each of Aftenposten, VG and Dagbladet), so you had to be fast grabbing one of those returned to the shelf if you wanted something to read.
Staff was friendly and efficient. On checkout the reception was unstaffed, I had to hang around there for half a minute or so before an employee arrived to receive my keys and payment.
All in all, I'd like to come back. I do understand that I was spoiled with a very good room on this stay – far better than what was paid for. However, if I had paid the full price for this room, the annoyances mentioned above would harm my impression quite a bit. Most of the issues can be dealt by easily – I hope the management makes sure their best rooms aren't blemished by such minor issues.
- Also Known As:
- Thon Hotel Oslo
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