The Nordic countries are not the easiest region to find a SPG/Hyatt/Hilton property and that was the reason I went with Radisson, which is one of the larger hotel groups in Europe. There are several Radisson Hotel properties in Oslo and the Radisson Blu Plaza is walking distance from the train station, as it is just across the road and linked via an overpass. As the tallest building in Oslo, the hotel is pretty easy to spot from outside.
With my arrival late at night, the main entrance to the hotel was locked and requires guests staying over with a keycard to enter, though I was able to buzz the door to gain access.
Upon arriving at the reception desk, I handed over my passport and credit card and was quickly checked in, without much fuss or welcome. There was also no note of my Club Carlson status which I had status matched earlier with my SPG Platinum. Breakfast was included in my rate, though I had to ask the receptionist on where and when it would be served at.
The lobby of the hotel is large but the use of dark marble did not particularly feel inviting. Access to the rooms is via a set of elevators located on the right of the reception, while there was plenty of seats by the lobby that would be useful in the day as the hotel can be busy with tour groups checking in with a relatively small reception area.
Room No: 2308 Category: Standard Queen Room
I had been assigned a room in a high floor but there was no upgrades to be had even for a Gold card member as there was a ‘Business Class’ rooms located on floors 27 to 32 in the hotel, with the hotel facilities occupying the floors above 32, topping out at floor 37. Based on the hotel’s website, the difference between a standard and business room was the premium amenities inside the room such as a Nespresso machine and ability to have the included breakfast in the room. On entering the standard room, I immediately noticed hangers by the door and these came in handy for Oslo where guests probably have to wear coats for more than half of the year.
On the right side of the entrance, there is the bathroom which seems to be older than the rest of the room. The bathroom was standard sized with a bathtub and glass partition – a common type in Europe. This bathtub setup is not my preference as water tends to splash out and could make the tiles slippery after shower.
What was useful and much appreciated was that the bathroom has heated floors and heated towel hangers. This made for a comfortable setup in winter as the room can still be cold. Heated towel racks also allows the wet towels to dry faster and easily.
Bath amenities provided was by a company called thisworks, and the scent is pleasant and plain in a good way. The small containers made it easy to bring them in your travels if you ever need to keep one set on the road.
Along the wall to the room, there was a closet and a cabinet where an electric kettle was located with coffee and tea sachets. Next to the cabinet was a small bench that guests could use to place their luggage with a flatscreen TV mounted above it.
Inside the room was a comfortable Queen sized bed with clean sheets. Both sides of the bed, guests can find a large side table and a reading light in addition to bedside lights. Electrical outlets can also be found on both ends of the bed making it easy to charge your devices. Beside the bed, there was a sofa that seems like an extension of the bedside table. This sitting area has a swivelling and adjustable reading lamp and is a comfortable spot to watch the TV when not in bed. It was furnished with a black table and seems to replace the normal work desk, since there was no desk anywhere in the room. Found underneath the sofa was a couple of electrical outlets as well that makes plugging in your laptops easy.
Instead of placing a desk, the hotel has opted for a very comfortable lounge chair that can recline and a small side table. This furniture does exude a certain Scandinavian design element that makes this room feel smart and is definitely the most comfortable spot besides the bed for relaxing!
Placed on the coffee/work table was a welcome note with a plate containing 2 slices of chocolate cake. However, I arrived really late into the hotel such that I wonder how long it has been out in the open. And that was why I barely touched the cake at all.
While I did not exactly get upgraded to a higher category of room, I had a room facing the bay and the train station, along with a partial view of the Opera House in the distance. I believe this was a preferred view in the hotel and being the tallest building in the city, most rooms here should have a good view either way.
As I mentioned, breakfast was included and it was served in the hotel’s restaurant located on the 2nd floor. On the first morning, I woke up later and it was busy during breakfast time with the space outside the restaurant being setup for an additional buffet area with extra seats. It seems to be most guests here have breakfast included in their room rate.
Breakfast was served buffet style and there was plenty of food available though the buffet counter was quite spread out as the restaurant has plenty of nooks and corners. For the hot and cooked food, guests can look forward to scrambled eggs, crepes, sausages and bacon. Potatoes and baked beans are available on the sides as well.
There was vegetables as well with an assortment of pickles, tomatoes and olives.
In the Continental selection, there was the usual muesli and cereals, with yogurt and berry compote. On top of hams, there was some smoked salmon to choose from.
As this is in Norway, there was brown cheese and local butter. Both of them were great touches of local specialties that certainly was interesting!
There was a variety of bread and pastries on one corner of the buffet too, with several choices of preserves as spread on top of the toast.
With the fruits, there was a fruit cocktail with some berry smoothie. But the most popular thing in the buffet seems to be the manual orange presser that allows diners to make their own fresh orange juice. This was in addition to the espresso machine and variety of tea to choose from.
The breakfast served here was very good for a city hotel and the local specialties was a nice touch to have as I would otherwise not have tried things like brown cheese.
The hotel has a conference center on the 33rd floor, with access to the a restaurant on the 34th floor located via the 33d floor too. In addition, all other facilities in the hotel requires stopping at the 33rd storey and taking the stairs up. This was definitely not an ideal way to get to the facilities at all! However the hotel does have an indoor swimming pool on the 34th floor.
While an indoor pool ensures it can be used in the winter time, it was more like a lap pool that was suitable only for one or 2 people at a time and that figures why it was rarely used.
Another floor up above the pool was a small spa area with 2 shower area and a sauna chamber. Towels are provided here and again this was a very small area that would not really attract much guests considering it was quite out of the way to access and the shower and sauna are lacking in some renovation.
On the top most floor, guests could find a nice fitness area. This was a very cool place to work out in and it was open even at night with the nice ambient light. Its top floor location also means the view from here is spectacular!
While a nice space, the space was lacking and thus the exercise machines are limited with only several treadmills and cycling stations. In the morning the space can get quite crowded so come either really early or later in the evening for a workout.
During my stay, the rate came down to around NOK1,400 (~$180) per night with taxes. At this price point, I certainly do not look for a luxury hotel stay and the Radisson Blu was alright for a premium hotel in the city, especially considering the convenience of its location next to the train station. Being part of a hotel chain made sure it has a standard level of room quality and I was not disappointed by the furnishings in the bedroom. My only disappointment here was the lack of any upgrades as a first time guest trying out the Radisson Gold status. That certainly did not win any favours for the Radisson Hotel Group and one of the reasons why I remain loyal to hotel chains that treats me better as a guest.