We were disappointed in the Dr. Holms Hotel. During our 13-day driving trip around Norway, we stayed in several similar resort hotels, including the Fretheim in Flam and the Union in Geiranger, and found them to be a better value than the Dr. Holms. My spouse and I later agreed that the Dr. Holms had been our least-favorite hotel on the trip, even though we had paid more because of the hotel's reputation.
Some of our disappointment may be due to the atmosphere in Geilo -- in the summer, the town was quite lifeless, as some of the restaurants and shops were closed for the season, and the village streets were largely deserted. I could see how the winter environment could be much different, with more people and snow-covered mountain sides.
However, the hotel itself also had some shortcomings. When we arrived, the drive up to the front lobby was blocked by tourist coaches. We parked down the hill and I walked up to reception. Room key in hand, I walked back to the car, and after a short wait, the coaches moved out, and we were able to drive up the hill to unload our baggage (ourselves, as there was no porter to assist).
The room we were assigned was quite small, about 13x18 feet, so it was difficult to find spots to open our cases. The room overlooked the rear courtyard with the trash bins. Since we had paid the full rate, I went back to reception and asked if a better location might be available, and was told the hotel was quite full but reluctantly was given a different room to inspect. The reception employee did try to reassure me by stating that there should be little noise from activity or trash pickup until the morning. The alternative room had a better view, but was smaller yet, and seemed to be dark inside, so we decided to take our chances on the original room. This seemed to annoy the reception employee, as she had to again encode the electronic key.
Our room did have classic furniture, although it was showing wear. The room had been equipped with track lighting in an attempt to modernize and brighten it, and when turned on, the room did have sufficient light. The bathroom was very small, and had the single drain in the floor for the shower (no tub), which didn't drain correctly, so that the water from the shower puddled into most of the bathroom floor. After the first shower, we had the use a towel to form a "dam" to keep the remaining part of the floor dry (see photos).
There were no shampoos, soaps, conditioners, etc. in the bathroom -- only a wall-mounted liquid soap dispenser.
A mounting wheel atop the shower door was missing and the bracket for it was cracked, so that the door was askew, difficult to slide, and had a gap that allowed water to leak. From the deposits on the mechanism, it appeared that this was not a recent problem. The glass shelf above the sink was missing, although the brackets were still there.
The white tile walls had numerous black hairs stuck on it, clearly a sign of a poor cleaning job. Where the floor met the wall, and on the exposed part of the bed pads, there was debris -- accumulated dust, crumbs and hair. When we opened the cabinet door to see what was in the minibar, there wasn't even a refrigerator, just a big, empty space.
The corridors were in need of vacuuming. There was also an elevator "incident"; when we attempted to go up to our room with luggage, an employee stopped us and said that a guest had become sick in the single elevator, and he pointed down a hallway. We walked in the indicated direction, and found another elevator, but it had a key-card slot that didn't respond to our room keys. We went back to reception and inquired about the keys and were told we should use the main elevator. We mentioned that it was shut off, and she apologized, but gave no alternatives. After a short wait, the elevator was reopened, and we were able to use it, although the odor of vomit was strongly present, and the clean-up had left particulate evidence of the accident. We avoided the elevator the remainder of the evening, and just used the steps since we weren't carrying luggage. The next morning, it had been more throughly cleaned.
Although we didn't hear much through the opened windows at night, there was banging and truck noise from the trash area early the next morning.
On the other hand, the public rooms were unique and represented the proud history of the hotel. The atmosphere in the library was charming, and all of the lobby rooms were more upscale than the guest room we were assigned. We sensed a desire to build on the history of the hotel, but somehow, it just fell short, especially in the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance, and that doesn't merit a premium price or a good review.
The included breakfast buffet was adequate but not outstanding, with the typical scrambled eggs, bacon/sausage, potatoes, cereals, yoghurt, etc. The free Internet service in our room was very responsive.
As for the location, the hotel is just 100-200 metres up the hill from the town center and the rail station. Geilo isn't that big, although there are some ski resorts south, just outside of town. We had dinner at the commended Hallingstuene Restaurant, which was largely empty when we arrived; by the time we were served, the only other table that was occupied was next to ours, and the owner/chef and a couple of his friends were drinking and loudly laughing and talking. However, the waiter was friendly and the food was reasonably good. When we drove back to the hotel, there was a parking space right near the front door, simplifying our loading the next day, after the tour coaches had departed.
I hope that management can address the problems, because the hotel has both history and future potential.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dr Holms Hotel - for your comfort and well-being. Dr Holms Hotel has been a source of recuperation, comfort and well-being since the beginning of the 20th century. Dr Holms is situated in the heart of the beautiful mountain scenery, and is a starting point for inspiring and exciting adventures. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dr Holms Hotel