Monday, October 24, 2011

Aurora Hunting: Exploring Oslo - The Hotels


We spent two nights in Oslo. Hotels as with everything else in Oslo is EXPENSIVE. A room at a decent hotel would cost about $200-$300 USD per night. We ended up splitting the two nights with the first night at the cheaper Radisson Blu Plaza thanks to a friends & family rate and the second night at the Doubletree to get a stay count to eventually get a free night as part of Hilton's Q4 Promo.

Radisson Blu Plaza
The Radisson is conveniently located 5 minutes by the main train station. This is the train station that you arrive in if you take the express from the airport. Check-in was prompt and efficient but we were not offered any upgrades as a Club Carlson Silver member. I didn't pursue the upgrade as I was using a friends & family rate and wanted to keep a low profile.

The rooms were pretty small but adequate. As with the other hotels we stayed in Norway, the beds were on the soft side. Free internet access was included in all rooms in this hotel. The bathroom was stocked with pretty good amenities and best of all, there was a bathtub.

What we liked most about this hotel was the gym and pool on the top few floors of the hotel. It was somewhat difficult to get to it having to take the elevator to the 33rd floor and walking the rest of the way up. Even though the gym was pretty small and pretty basic, it was great having a run enjoying the view from up top in the morning. The pool was just nicely heated and was a great way to stretch out the body after the long flight from Malaysia.

View from the pool/gym

Our room came with buffet breakfast the next morning. This was one of the best buffet breakfasts we've had in Europe and could rival the buffets in Asia. The choices were extensive and included a wide selection of breads, cheeses, cured fish, eggs, pastries, etc. This was much appreciated considering how expensive eating out in Oslo is. Sorry for the lack of pictures - forgot to bring the camera down for breakfast!

Overall, we would not hesitate returning to this hotel especially for the rate we were paying. Some may complain about the location in that it's not right in the city center but Oslo itself is compact and the public transport is efficient. 

Doubletree by Hilton Oslo City Center
Our second night in Oslo was spent at the Doubletree. The Doubletree is located much more in the city center than the Radisson where we earlier had stayed in. It was right next to the National Theatre and Karl Johan Street where the shopping and restaurants are. It was also a short 5 minute walk to the water front area of Aker Brygge. There are also a couple tram and bus stops close by to the hotel.

There were no lines when we arrived for check-in. As with other Doubletree hotels, we were given a warm, soft and delicious chocolate chip cookie during check-in. There was no mention of an upgraded room during check-in but we were informed that breakfast was included as part of my Hilton Honors Gold Status. We were also provided the password to the wireless internet.

The rooms at the Doubletree was much more spacious and new. We checked out the floor plan and it looked like we were given one of the larger rooms. We liked the layout and the furniture of the room. The bed was still on the soft side but much firmer than the beds at the Radisson. We were also provided 2 bottles of complimentary water and some candy and chocolate. Nice touch!

The bathroom however was somewhat spare.  There was no bathtub.

Breakfast the next day at the hotel restaurant was decent and the spread not as extensive as the the Radisson. The cooked to order omelets were very good and might have been one of the best that we've had. It was fluffy, creamy and simply delicious.

The Doubletree lacks in facilities. There's no gym or pool. More importantly for Hilton Honors premium customers, there's no executive lounge.

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