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“Unexpected Luxury in the Arctic 78°13′N 15°33′E”
Review of Spitsbergen Hotel

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Spitsbergen Hotel
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Longyearbyen
Reviewed March 2, 2014

Spitsbergen Hotel, Longyearbyen

Unexpected Luxury in the Arctic

This hotel is situated on the island of Spitsbergen, in Norway’s Arctic Archipelago, Svalbard. It offers stunning views, free Wi-Fi and free afternoon waffles. Access to a relaxation area is also free.

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What to Do in Svalbard? Svalbard has only been open to tourists since the early 1990s. There is an effort to create tourist activities, but at this point the industry has a long way to go with minimal offerings in midsummer. We went to Svalbard in August of 2013 on a whim with minimal planning with hopes that we would get to see exciting wildlife including polar bears. As we were landing in Longyearbyen we realized that it was much too warm to see polar bear. The sparse vegetation was green and there was no ice visible from the plane.

We spent two nights in Longyearbyen the largest town on Svalbard. Longyearbyen is the city farthest North in the world. During out stay we went on one boat tour that included a close up visit to a glacier and a short stop at the Russian coal mining community of Barentsburg. .

The Hotel
• Facility: The hotel was modern with historical reminders of the original use of the building as housing for the “White Collar” staff at the coal mines. The building has been remodeled in a nice manner. There was free Wi-Fi that worked surprisingly well. The Wi-Fi worked better than what we experienced in hotels in Norway.

• Food; The breakfast was wonderful and typical for a hotel in Norway. 75-80 items offered in a pleasantly arranged self-serve buffet. Wonderful breads, the typical assortment of cheeses, bacon, several varieties of smoked fish, yogurts and great coffee. Complementary waffles were served in the afternoon.

• Service: The service at the hotel was good. Friendly attentive staff.

• Cost: Everything in Norway is expensive. Expect prices to be 2 ½ to 3 times what you would expect in the US. Don’t complain about prices to the Norwegians. They are accustomed to the high costs and have heard all of the complaints.
Tips for Americans Making their first trip to Norway

• Light Switches in Hotels: All of the hotels in Norway had a slot just inside the room that was used to control the lights in the room. The room key card needs to be slid into the slot and left there as long as you are in the room. The lights will not work if the key card is not in the slot. This key card process was never explained to us at the desk of any hotel, so we had to figure it out ourselves. I hope this strange little tip will save you a little time and frustration.

• Hotel Key Cards: The key cards sometimes were used to lock the room as well as open the door and start the lighting system. In some hotels we found that the door to the room did not lock automatically when leaving the room. It is necessary to wave the room key across the sensor and wait for a red light to appear to indicate that the room is locked.

• Cost: Norway is very expensive by US standards. If you think something is cheap there mostly likely is an error. The math is wrong or you do not understand what you purchased.

• Food: If this is your first trip to Norway you will encounter two unique issues with food:

1. Breakfast will be served smorgasbord style with a wide range of offerings of breads, fruit, cheese, fruit juice and coffee. Even when you eat at someone’s house they will serve the meal in the same style with a wide selection of food. Every breakfast we had in Norway was wonderful.

2. Complementary waffles are served in the afternoon in the hotels we stayed at. In most situations the customers were left on their own to cook the waffles and serve themselves with the array of jellies and toppings.

• VAT: As noted above there is a 25% Value Added Tax (VAT) built into nearly everything that you buy in Norway. If you buy something that you are taking home (jewelry, sweaters) take the items and the receipts to the tax office in the airport before you clear security. You can claim a refund on the VAT with minimal paperwork. The refund will be credited to your credit card in a matter of days.

• Hotels in Norway: On our August 2013 trip we stayed in different hotels in Norway and one cruise ship. All of the rooms were clean, modern and small based on US standards.

• Tip – Sauna as an Alternative: As noted above rooms and bathrooms in Norwegian hotels tend to be small. We found that the Saunas were spacious and underused, but have wonderful large showers and large bathrooms. We used the Saunas as much as possible as a larger substitute for the small bath rooms in the hotel rooms. We did not see a bath tub in any of our lodging.

• Wearing Shoes in Doors: Take a pair of slippers on your trip. It is common to be asked to remove your shoes when entering a residence and sometimes when entering a hotel or associated eating area. At this hotel there is a mud room that provides storage for your shoes when entering the property.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank ARK1947
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 7, 2014

Just one night prior to our expedition cruise and it was a good introduction to the Arctic.
Nothing extraordinary about the room but it was very clean with a good bed and nice view towards the harbour.
We enjoyed the stroll down to the “town” and back in light snow. It was fun to get out and walk around so I wouldn’t consider this a down-side to staying here. The benefit of being a bit further away is also the better views this hotel gets compared to being in town.
We had both dinner and lunch in the bar area which was warm and welcoming, it was a good place to spend the evening and all the food was good. The chicken that was undercooked was quickly replaced and removed from our bill. Appreciate that service. Breakfast was a very good buffet and the view from the breakfast room was lovely.
We were not able to get a late check-out and we weren’t being collected for our ship until 3pm but the hotel is happy to hold luggage and has a day room with showers etc we were able to use after our dog-sledding trip.
I would love to return to the Arctic one day and will stay here again when we get the chance.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ozkiwis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2014

We stayed at the Spitsbergen Hotel for one night on 25 June 2013 after our Arctic Expedition on M/S Expedition by G Adventures. The hotel was very clean because all the guests had to take out their shoes and wore their sandals or slippers or socks on the ground floor before walking up the staircase to the reception counter and rooms. The counter and the service staff were friendly and helpful. The accommodation and breakfast were perfect. We could spend the night and day enjoying the midnight sun, taking photographs outside the hotel at 3 am freely. It was convenient to go to downtown or Longyearbyen airport because FlyBuss Shuttle was available. The staff was able to tell us when the FlyBuss Shuttle would be arriving. The only disadvantage for this hotel was that if we walked downhill to downtown to shop, we would need more energy to walk uphill back to the hotel. We could see reindeers roaming and grazing around at the front of the hotel.

Room Tip: room facing the road to enjoy happenings outside the window.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Seng Hing N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2013

I know central location is probably not the first you look for when you go to a remote place in the arctic region. But since Longyearbyen actually have a few shops and restaurants in some sort of a town center, you might want to be able to walk there. Rica Hotel Longyearbyen aka Spitsbergen Hotel aka Funken is 15-20 minute walk uphill from the town. And that can be a very chilly experience. So if central is important for you choose Svalbard Hotel or Radisson Blue.

That said, Spitsbergen Hotel is the most affordable place of the three and arguably the most comfortable place to stay. The rooms are good, the service is good and it is a good atmosphere. They have a fitness room and and a sauna. And between 16 and 18 there is a waffle buffet.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank Antstro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2013

Staff very friendly and helpful with finding suitable excursions, booking the transfer bus, selecting items in the well stocked souvenir shop. Breakfast fab - lots of choice. Bar meals superb. Room comfy. Bathroom clean and lots of hot water. Lounge very comfortable, warm and luxurious with open fire.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank LiverpoolRuthie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

We stayed only one night here before boarding our ship, but it did the job nicely. Nice breakfast buffet including make your own waffles in a restaurant with great views across the town and fjord.
Just a 5 minute walk in to the small town centre.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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1  Thank Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

This is an international class hotel with all the facilities you would expect. It has a cosy bar with a log cabin feel. However, it is very expensive, and it is an inconvenient 20 minute walk uphill from the town centre, harbour and museum - not fun if it is raining. If you want to save money and don't mind shared facilities, probably Mary Ann's Polarrig would be a better deal, and it is more central.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank christine r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Spitsbergen Hotel

Address: P.O. Box 500, Longyearbyen 9171, Norway
Phone Number:
Location: Norway > Svalbard > Spitsbergen > Longyearbyen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Longyearbyen
Price Range: $180 - $383 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Spitsbergen Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 88
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With modern comfort in historic surroundings, Spitsbergen Hotel offers a unique Svalbard experience. Situated on "The Hill", it gives you great views of Longyearbyen, the Lars- and Longyear glacier. The hotel was constructed in 1947, but has been extensively refurbished over the years. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Spitsbergen Hotel Longyearbyen, Svalbard

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