An airport hotel between the clouds of expectations

Normally when you book an airport hotel you don’t have to many expectations: a comfy bed, a quiet room and a short distance to the terminal. Enough to make you time before, after or between the flights as much stress free as possible.

Radisson Blu Airport Hotel in Oslo Gardermoen Airport offered me a different experience, exceeding all my expectations and placing itself far above similar hotels which I used in Heathrow or Gatwick.

The hotel’s location makes it the perfect accommodation for those, like me, on a short stop-over between two flights. Linked to the Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (OSL) terminal by a covered walkway, the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel is just steps from bus and train stations makes it the perfect place to stay if you prefer a short journey to reach your flight, but still want to explore the many attractions of the Norwegian Capital. Experience the buzzling life on the former wharf of Aker Brygge, which is full of shopping, dining and entertainment possibilities. For a calm and relaxing day, bring your camera to take stunning snapshots in the Botanical Gardens, visit the Sunday market on Birkelunden or have a nice picnic in the Frogner Park. You can also take advantage of the hotel’s proximity to attractions such as the Norwegian Armed Forces Aircraft Collection and the expansive Jessheim Storsenter shopping mall, with 145 stores, cafés and restaurants. The hotel’s surroundings are abundant with restaurants and cultural attractions.

A short train ride takes you to the city centre, ready to discover popular attractions such as the Vigeland Park and Museum, the Frogner Park and the Astrup Fearnley Museum. Of course you can reach the vibrant city centre in about 20 minutes via Flytoget (https://flytoget.no/) , the Airport Express train or you can choose a less expensive options via normal trains (https://www.nsb.no/en/our-destinations/airport-by-train)  or buses (https://ruter.no/en/)  to Oslo, all just walking distance from the hotel.

The upscale Radisson Blu Airport Hotel offers lots of open space and natural light in the common areas, all decorated with metallic touches that echo the industrial design. Each of the 500 rooms and suites includes convenient amenities such Free high-speed, wireless Internet and soundproof windows for a restful stay. Rooms feature New Scandinavian, Chili and Naturally Cool design themes that lend a cozy atmosphere.

Needless to say, starting my day at 3.30AM in South east England and flying to Oslo via Helsinki, I was praying there would be no hiccups between the time I touched ground and bedtime and there wasn’t. Could not be easier…. 5-minute walk from the moment I picked my luggage. The check-in was done in 3 minutes in a very efficient and friendly manner with the basic information about hotel’s facilities offered with a genuine smile.

My room, 4315, a standard one (approximate room size: 22 m²) had everything I needed for a comfortable stay and a good night’s sleep. Even with its proximity to the airport, I was not aware of planes landing or taking off and was no noticeable noise despite the fact that I slept with the window open. In the room a flat-screen TV comes with digital channels (not a great choice but having a very strong WIFI signal I didn’t need the television). The beds sport premium bedding and the bathroom offers a hairdryer and free toiletries. Other standard amenities include a minibar, a coffee maker and a safe. I requested a double bed and in the room, I found 2 single beds with individual bedding put together, which was a little bit weird, but manageable.

One piece of advice regarding the minibar in your room: in a bid to foil cost-conscious travellers who replace high-priced sweets and soft drinks for those bought at a fraction of the price at a airport shop, Radisson Blu Airport Hotel fitted the minibar fridge with motion and weight sensors. Even just pulling out a can of Coke to check how cold it is or moving items around in order to store your own items could cost you. Is a small notice somewhere in the room warning guests about this feature but, at the end of the day, you can dispute payment for items that have not been consumed when you check-out. And the charming girl on duty the next morning did that for me with no fuss. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to check your bill before you check out.

The “air conditioning” the hotel advertised on some internet sites is actually not air conditioning as we know it; it’s just old-fashioned ventilation. So, on that warm night in Oslo, dreaming for a temperature under 17⁰C, I needed to open the window. And since this is an airport, was not fresh air that rushes into my room…

The cleaning was average (I discovered the last night pizza boxes and room-service trays in front of some doors on my way to breakfast) and the attention to details were more or less non-existing.

Wake-up call service and Free high-speed, wireless Internet are just a few of the conveniences offered at this airport hotel, added on top of their key services: 24-hour reception service, bicycle rental (free of charge), luggage room, room service.

The Super Breakfast Buffet at Toot’s International features a wide selection of hot and cold items, including fresh fruit, pastries and organic options The buffet had great variety complete with every imaginable food, opened at 5 am so you can eat before an early flight and the school cafeteria style layout didn’t bother me. The breakfast buffet is however as busy as the number of rooms in this hotel is high. So it is recommended to avoid the rush hour if you want to find a seat at a table, which will be most likely shared with others guests.

Opening hours for breakfast

05:00 – 09:30 (Mon – Fri)

05:00 – 10:30 (Sat – Sun)

As I didn’t want an early night I decided to try 26 NORTH RESTAURANT & SOCIAL CLUB – the hotel’s restaurant promoted as inspired by the Nordic countries, their nature, culinary treasures and design. The real experience was a little bit under my expectations: food was okay, but nothing special, typical of hotel restaurants with a quite slow and not very attentive service. Although the restaurant closed at 11:00pm and had at least 20 visible unoccupied tables (most of which remained vacant), I had to wait more than 20 minutes for a table at 10pm. During the meal, I noted several times that the waiters were chatting with each other for extended periods, while customers tried to place orders, get checks, etc. Bottom line: the restaurant seems to not care about service since it is the only option once airport terminal food options are closed. The hotel has to work with their restaurant staff. Running around like headless chicken, not cleaning the tables, replacing items, fill up things is not 4-star standard. And when you asked for something the answer was mainly “rude” which I feel was because the staff was stressed (and the restaurant was not full of people). And having one person standing at the entrance only to say Hi and Goodbye is a waste of staff, when the rest is not up to speed. Would I come back for dinner next time? Yes, but please give the restaurant manager a friendly kick in the behind.

The only good reason to stay at an airport hotel is to ease the pain of a late-night flight arrival, or an early morning departure. Radisson Blu Airport Hotel in Oslo Gardermoen Airport, unlike some, is well aware of its role, and fulfils it quite competently. And I am sure that, if they will adjust the little “cons”, I will check-in here again in the future.

~ by leonard69 on August 11, 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: