Advantages Location location..! Contemporary style, amazing service, clean rooms, great breakfast & facilities
Disadvantages Slight issue with wetroom shower, honestly can think of nothing else!
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I have not travelled much in my years and it was a conscious decision I made one New Years to try very hard to find a way to travel somewhere new in the world every so often. I have a real preoccupation with the Nordic countries and had set my heart on going to one of them on last years jaunt. My partner and I decided that we would go together on a short-break to Oslo, the reason being simply that I do have to travel as much on a shoestring as I can, and we were able to get very cheap flights out to Oslo Rygge airport with Ryanair from Stansted. I was a bit nervous however at how expensive it might be when we were over there-as it is rather renowned for that! We travelled in December 2011 in order to enjoy Oslo at Christmastime!
When we landed in Rygge we were well aware that there was an organised transfer bus Rygge-ekspressen into the city, and joined the majority of our fellow plane passengers aboard this journey which would take about 65 minutes. Well the journey flew more than I had expected-personally I was engrossed at looking at every passing view, be they roads, countryside, stations, people or shops. I absolutely love to immerse myself and just take everything I possibly can in visually. Soon enough we pulled up at the Bus station in Oslo city centre, and little did we know we were mere minutes from our hotel which is set in Oslo's Central station.
We had not spent a great deal of time selecting the hotel for its location, features or any of that keeping quite an open-mind as to what we wanted...I had simply wanted a double room with en-suite for the best possible price. Having scanned various comparison sites I found a few budget options which were contenders, however when I came to look at one website-lastminute.com- they offered a great deal on mystery/secret hotel locations. The premise is that instead of hotel rooms going unsold as time nears, they can sell them at a much discounted price through a Vendor like Last minute, so that they are getting some money back, and it means the consumer gets a good last minute deal if they are not too fussy with what they want. Looking at the features and benefits of the secret hotel offered on the dates we needed accommodation for, they far outweighed the ‘budget’ contenders I had selected for just a bit more money so I took the plunge, and it of course turned out to be the Scandic Byporten. 3 nights for 2 people in our room set us back £260, for bed and breakfast effectively.
When we arrived it was not urgent that we found our accommodation fast yet we had not known how close we were so went straight there. Interestingly we found that the complex which housed the railway station, a large shopping mall complex (Byporten Shopping Centre) also linked to our hotel-the Scandic Byporten- and was stumbled upon just over an overpass from the bus station. So once we had, we decided then to check in, take our luggage to our room and settle in before going off exploring the city. We came through a back entrance but if you know Oslo at all, you would normally access the hotel at the Jernbanetorget underground station entrance to the shopping centre.
We were greeted in a beautiful, clean, welcoming, if simple, reception by a really friendly staff member, who was immediately responsive to our presence and offering to check us in and help with our bags. Sadly in our case there had been a mix-up and we hadn’t a room reserved despite our print out of confirmation from the company we had booked through! This worried us for about 2 minutes, before it became apparent it didn’t matter to them one jot, and she solved the issue immediately offering us a room with a view of the fjord/boats. There was a simple check-in form and they took credit card details in case of expenses on the room account, and we were each given a keycard. We were also told a few of the things going on in the city and advised about certain places to visit, we got a map from the front desk, were informed about domestic and eating arrangements and we were set to go.
Our room was a couple of floors up, and once we managed to take the lift which was a puzzler at first (keycard activated!), we were pleasantly surprised when we entered our room just a couple of doors down the modern and pleasantly decorated corridor. My initial reaction was that it wasn’t a large room however with just the 2 of us on a (dare-I say romantic?!) weekend away it absolutely didn’t matter. Had I been with family or friends I may have preferred a little more space but I am sure that there are more suitably sized rooms depending on your needs-there are 239 rooms in total. Ours was a standard double non-smoking room and an en-suite (a must for me).
Instantly, I went over to the window and admired the view over lots of rooftops and stuff... but beyond that what I would come to know as the inner fjord docks. The room was clean and quite attractive with pretty pictures on the wall, fairly contemporary in style. The bathroom was just basic but nicely decorated and again very clean, with the WC, a shower and washbasin. When I came to use the shower, sadly I did have issues as, although it was a wetroom-style arrangement because the plughole was blocked and backing up I actually half flooded the room, wading though an inch of water back into our room. This couldn’t be helped and when reported to reception they hadn’t known beforehand, they were prompt in offering assistance to get it sorted out so I was most satisfied with that. The bed was comfortable and well-dressed with traditional sheets and blankets rather than a duvet (personal choice I would have liked a duvet but this was more than adequate), we each had a bedside table, and bedside lights and there was adequate storage space in drawers and a wardrobe, had we been staying longer this would have been essential. We also had a TV in the room with a variety of channels, some of which Norwegian some English. At some point on the first evening I did decide I would really like another pillow and asked for one at reception-they immediately sent someone along to me from housekeeping to accommodate the request which I was really pleased with.
We had been told breakfast times and that it was served in next doors Egon Restaurant. You simply exit the main lobby (but remain in the same building), and on your right you would enter into the shopping mall next to a sushi place and to the left ahead of you is the restaurant. When we went through there next morning we were incredibly pleasantly surprised. For breakfast it was only open to the hotel residents and the buffet-style spread for breakfast was unbelievable. There was about 100 items! There was cooked Norwegian style breakfast options, salads, fruits, breads, yoghurts, juices, cereals, pastries and everything you could think of and possibly want. You simply found yourself a lovely table wherever you want and tuck in to all you can eat-I’m not ashamed to say this was very much to my liking and it sure did set us up for the days exploring. The restaurant itself is quite dark in decoration, rustic almost country-style with wooden features, decorative maritime pieces around, and I must say though we didn’t eat there of an evening, looking in, candlelit it looked so very inviting and romantic. Needless to say we went back for breakfast the next day too!
When checkout time came we were sad to say goodbye to the Scandic, but we did still have a days exploring ahead of us before our flight home. We asked at reception whether we could store our luggage somewhere for the day and this was no problem at all-we popped it into a secured store with many other peoples and could come back at anytime for it (Reception was open 24 hours, although entry to the lobby was restricted by keycard after a certain time at night when the shopping mall was closed.)
I'd very much recommend anyone stay at the Scandic Byporten. It is humble and not too high-end, but fairly competitively priced and a decent place to stay. The novelty of being in the shopping complex is fun, and you are literally central-no travel is necessary into the city you just step out. If you do ever stay here I hope you enjoy it as much as we did-would definitely return!
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Scandic Byporten is located in the heart of Oslo, just a 2-minute walk from Karl Johans Gate shopping street. It offers rooms with Scandinavian...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked