For my stay in Åre, I chose a hotel located in the mountains for ski-in/ski=out access. As the hotel was not near the train station in the village, it requires passengers not driving up to take the Bergbanen or the Åre funicular. The funicular is free for anyone to take with departures every 20 minutes and the hotel is just right beside the mountain station.
I arrived at the hotel at about 6pm, with the after ski crowd no longer there. This meant it was quiet as I passed by the restaurant to the reception lobby at the further end from the funiclar station.
At check-in, I handed over my passport and was provided a traditional key and given times for breakfast and the spa. Next to the reception counter, there was the bar area and thus this space can get noisy and crowded during the apres-ski hours. Do note that there will be security personnel supervising guests during these times.
However my assigned room was actually only accessible by the stairs located beside the restaurant. This meant I had to lug my luggage down the stairs. Fortunately the receptionist offered to help me out as there was no bell desk in this ski hotel. Looking at the floor plan, the rooms 301-321 were all located on the other side of the building with the rooms beginning with 35x located near the only elevator in the hotel that is placed underneath the curved stairway.
Room No: 309 Category: Classic Room with 2 Singles
Once I was inside the room, I immediately noticed it was quite small, with a rustic country feel. By the entryway, there is an open coat hanger with a cupboard and several baskets. This makes it handy for storing ski gear and luggage while staying here.
Along the walls, there are also hangers for ski jackets and outerwear. As a skier, I find these useful to allow the outerwear to dry sufficiently and get some air to prevent mold.
To the right side of the entryway lies the bathroom. Space was a constraint here and the design of the bathroom shows with a Euro-style wall mount toilet and the upper shelf becoming a storage area of sorts for the hair dryer, glasses and the tissue box.
The freestanding sink itself has nearly no countertop space at all and this meant the shelving above the toilet is the only useful ledge to place your toiletries.
Towards the left side of the bathroom is a standing shower cubicle with glass doors. It does have a rainshower and a hand-held shower head which is good for any hotel. Bath amenities, though are wall mounted with an all-in-one shampoo/conditioner/shower gel. There is another wall mounter dispenser for the hand soap.
Inside the bedroom was 2 single beds placed side by side. The room does feel small, like the bathroom. In fact the whole situation seems to be like my last stay at the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort in Trysil. At the end of the room, there is an alcove where there was some seating space.
The alcove has a ledge by the window that functions as a small table with a square stool that can be moved around. Beside the bed was a couch with pillows with hangers by the wall. The furniture here was very versatile and works surprisingly well for this small space since guests could lounge on the corner couch and use the stool as a foot rest and get comfortable. The room’s heater is located below the ledge by the window.
Being a small room, do not expect a work desk here, though for a ski hotel, I would say one is not quite necessary. There is no large TV either, with the small flat-screen TV being mounted on the cabinetry that makes use of the corner past the entryway. The cabinet also functions as more storage space with an open shelf above the TV and an enclosed storage below the TV.
The view out of the window is that of the funicular railway and the valley so it is not bad. The noise from the funicular did not bother me at all as it was not running until late night, and started only in the morning when I am already up for breakfast and skiing.
Breakfast in the Hotel Restaurant
Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 10:30am in the restaurant, and the selections on the buffet was mainly Continental items.
There was 4 types of cheese and 3 kinds of cold cuts on the main buffet island. With the cheese slicer supplied, it was easy to get some cheese for breakfast.
A standard choice of white and whole wheat toast was available though there was no croissant or sweet pastries. Bread rolls was available too but being hard and cold, it was not enticing for me.
Condiments like fruit jams and Nutella can be found beside the bread basket.
At the upper tier was fruits with oranges and grapefruit wedges being the variety offered. Fresh fruits like banana and apple was provided as well.
By the side buffet counter was a selection of yogurt and sour milk with various berries compote and granola to make your own muesli mix.
The side buffet counter has some fresh vegetables like lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes which makes for a healthy salad in the morning. Toppings like slcied almond, flax seeds, dried bananas, desiccated coconut and raisins are placed by the side of the salad area.
On the kitchen counter diners can find the hot food selection with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and baked beans available from the casseroles. Pancakes was placed next to the casseroles.
Soft and hard boiled eggs were provided along with the caviar from the tube which is common in Scandinavian breakfast .
There is a small allergy corner for gluten and lactose free products set up next to the stairs to the second floor.
For beverages there was an espresso machine located at the beverage section. However the machine was out of order during my stay. Instead I had to rely on brewed coffee provided beside it. Orange and apple juice is also offered in the beverage corner.
Breakfast in the restaurant was average but as expected for a small town in Scandinavia. I would consider the food to be the basics of a local breakfast with a little bit more stuff for foreign visitors but they were otherwise unimpressive.
Spa and Sauna Facilities
As expected of a ski hotel in Scandinavia there is a sauna and steam room in the lower floor of the hotel. Again, the space is very basic with open showers outside the chambers for cooling down, and towel racks by the walls. Towels are provided on the shelf for guests to use.
There was also 2 hot tubs outside on the deck, and these are accessible by the fire escape stairway from the corridor outside my room. They are also accessible from the spa and sauna area.
Other than the spa and sauna facilities, the hotel has the restaurant and bar which are open for dinner and drinks at night. Guests could also get ice from the hotel bar.
Aside from the dining facilities, there is a lounge space for guests past the reception desk. With a fireplace at the end of the lounge and plenty of comfortable armchairs, this is a nice space for guests to relax in the evening since the guest rooms themselves are quite small.
Partitions in the middle of the lounge creates a separate area for reading. There is a bookshelf stocked with novels and magazines at the side.
For skiers, there is a separate room for storage of your ski boots and gear. It is located in a separate building just outside of the main entrance. The space is heated though there are no private lockers but only hotel guests can access the room. There are also open parking spaces right outside the hotel for guests who drive. And finally the hotel’s ski-in/ski-out location right on the mountain slopes was fantastic as I could ski back to the hotel without going all the way to the base.
While staying at this boutique hotel, I received very personalized service from the staff such as the assistance with the luggage. On the day of departure, I need to leave at 4am so I settled the room bills the night before and they were able to pack breakfast to go for me, where they left it by the restaurant.
The room rate for this stay came down to around SEK1,740 (~$180) per night inclusive of taxes. For a ski-in/ski-out resort stay in the peak winter weekend right after New Years’ Day, it was a good value even though the rooms are a bit small. If your main purpose was to ski in Åre, I would definitely recommend to book this hotel!