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“Gålå Grend Cabin, July 2014”

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Gala Hogfjellshotel
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Gala
Reviewed 30 July 2014

We were a family of 6, four adults and two children and the four bedroom cabin worked well for us for the four nights we stayed in July. All four bedrooms are on the ground level -- two with two single beds and two with bunk beds. The cabin was about twenty years old as were the furnishings, but it was neat and clean. There are great views from the cabins, but you are in a ski area in summer. There's not much going on so you have to find your own activities, such as hiking or kayaking on the local lake.

There is one toilet room, and one shower/sink room which we had to work out sharing with six people.

The wi-fi was only available in the hotel reception area. The cabin did have a TV with a choice of stations, most in Norwegian. The hotel has a pool, but it's not heated. The kids didn't mind but the adults thought it was too cold.

The kitchen was small but had enough kitchen items to get us through the stay. It did have a small dishwasher and a stove with oven and broiler.

There's an outdoor deck with chairs, which was a great place to have a happy hour at the end of the day and view the snow covered mountains.

There wasn't a washing machine.

Since we visited in July, sunrise was at 4AM and sunset was at 11PM but it never really got dark. It would have helped to have curtains with blackout lining and also window screens, as we needed to leave the windows open for ventilation but it let the bugs in.

In the summer, both sheep and cows graze throughout the resort area, which is quaint at first, but the bells they wear ring all day and night and they all leave droppings everywhere.

There was a grocery store right at the top of the road, very convenient but a bit limited.The main hotel did serve meals and offered breakfast, and a dinner buffet for 300 Kroner a person. Bring money, it's expensive in Norway!

We took a day trip to Lillehammer and saw the Maihaugen open air museum of 200 historic Norwegian buildings. Highly recommended for adults as well as children.

You need to clean the cabin before you leave, including emptying the dish washer, which took a long time to cycle through, so plan on spending some time on this.

Room Tip: The hotel staff was helpful, providing hiking maps and kayak and bike rentals.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank Marty_CT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 13 of 25 reviews

Reviewed 27 June 2014

This is a beautiful, away from it all, mountain resort in Norway. About 3 hours from Oslo airport. be sure you rent a car,because you will want to drive and you will go stir crazy. The resort is actually in shoulder season, offers meals only every other day, and none of the activities are open (no biking, no canoes, no swimming, no nothin). If you want to get away from it all, be around no people, be freezing cold, and take care of yourself, then this place is for you in June. Dont get me wrong - there are super cute sheep everywhere and the lake is very pretty. But it is not a vacation. It is camping in a cabin that is close to nothing. So be ready for that! Oh, and if you want to buy wine? Take a trip to the town Vinstra which is about 20 minutes away. Look for the shopping mall as that is the only place in town you can buy a bottle of wine.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Chowsmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2014

We stayed at the cabin mid January for a week. It is difficult to give one rating for the property, as the cabins are wonderful - well equipped kitchen, toasty heated cabins (it was on average -14 degrees the week we were there), heated bathroom floor, hot/cold water on demand (no waiting!), super quiet at night, and within walking distance to the ski area. The cross country ski trails around and by the lake were well-maintained and the area was just lovely...

...but the experience dealing with the staff trying to get information to prepare for the trip, however, left a lot to be desired.

So we are giving an "average" of the two.

We did not read any negative reviews regarding contacting the hotel/staff, so we were (unpleasantly) surprised by our experience… and wondered if it was just bad timing... Christmas, new year, staff getting sick (we were told this by the reception)

Gala seemed very under-staffed, disorganized, and frazzled throughout our contact and stay with them, and the only thing that was consistent with our experience trying to get information from them was inconsistency.


*No- or severely delayed email response/couldn't get important info in writing:

We had to call for the more urgent information, such as transportation etc. the rest of the details (what came with the cabin, ski rental...) we used email, and we finally got some of our questions answered the morning of our departure (we read the reply in the airport departure lounge). Luckily we decided to be over-prepared.

The cabin was booked through interval vacation exchange early December. Since we were flying 20+ hours to Norway, we wanted to make sure we bring everything we needed. However, we were only able to get partial responses to our questions the weeks prior to Christmas, and no response from emails after Dec 16 (we tried all the ones we could find, and there were three emails addresses total). We figured it was the Christmas holiday, and sent polite reminders shortly after - but even after that the responses were slow to non-existent. (Our email from 12/16/2013 was responded to 1/8/2014, after I followed up twice, and even then it was only partially answered. The emails after that were not answered until the day of our departure, 1/17/2014. All information in between were acquired via phone call, but even then things were problematic: see below)

*Unclear transportation charges:

When we called the hotel to arrange for transportation (information provided by Interval), the hotel gave us another number and told us to call and arrange it ourselves. We did, and after confirming the date and time of pick up, the guy quoted us a different (higher) rate than the one the hotel told us. When we asked the hotel, they told us it was 2014 and they didn't have a new contract with the taxi company, so whatever the taxi company told us was "probably correct."

What both of them had neglected to tell us (and we don't have any of this in writing because we had to call to get this info - hotel did not respond to emails, taxi company did not have email) was there was an additional weekend/after hour surcharge. We found that out on the day we checked out of the place.

On top of that, the receptionist told us he just "rounded it up" to a whole number - we were not given an itemized charge for the transportation. We don't have a problem adding a tip to the bill, but felt at least we should have been given the option to do so (especially since the driver who drove us to the cabin left us to walk with our luggage to the cabin in the dark - because there was a car that stalled and was partially blocking the road to the cabin. He simply pointed, “it’s just up there” without giving us a map. We had to ask him for the map he had, but even then it was no help because once we were out of the van, we couldn’t read the map in the dark, and the driver promptly took off without waiting until we found our cabin.

We later found out the hotel was supposed to have given us a map as the "welcoming package" - we didn't feel welcome...). And the “just up there” had three other cabins, each with an uphill walkway, and one of us had to walk up to each to see the cabin number while the other stood in the snow with all the luggage, trying to decipher the map in the dark.

The driver who was supposed to pick us up to take us to the train station showed up on time, though, which was nice. And the hotel actually arranged it for us without telling us to call the taxi ourselves - wish they would have done that also when we were still half way across the globe and had to work out the time difference to make international calls).

Because we had a train to catch, we did not have time to stand there to argue and sort things out with this "rounded up" bill with unspecified weekend/after hour charge which was "a lot" (exact words from the person at the reception) . It was a bit frustrating and left us pretty stunned, wondering if that was what we had to expect for the rest of the trip (since it was our first time in Norway – we weren’t sure if this was how things normally were. Luckily our experience with lodging and transportation after Gala were MUCH better, so we didn’t leave Norway with an overall bad impression of the lovely country and its people).

*Consistently Inconsistent quotes in cost of activities:

Ski rental: again, the hotel told us a price that the ski rental said was incorrect and "that price is for kids only". There did not seem to be a lot of communication between the hotel and the business they associate with to provide service to the guests.

But the rental equipment was well maintained and the 24-hour rental period was pretty relaxed/flexible. Great cross country ski tracks around the lake.

*Glitches in Services

The info channel on TV was down until the last 2 days of our stay, so we didn't know about a lot of the activities Gala provided, and the staff did not bother to tell us (or give us the "welcome letter"). But it was fine - skiing, exploring the area, and relaxing in the toasty cabin was enough for us.

The linens from the previous guests (left in a big bag outside of the cabin door) were not picked up until four days after our stay began.

Found a couple of long, light-colored strands of hair in the shower – barely noticeable but still…

*Other Confusions:

When we arrived at the reception to get the key, we were told there were two cabins reserved for us. (???) When we said we only have reservation for one, we were asked which one we wanted, the one higher up or the one closer to the cafe - with hand gestures, not a map of the layout of the cabins and what "higher" "closer" meant. Since the email response we got (in the departure lounge) mentioned "the people at the cafe can probably help you with this", we figured (based on how _not_ helpful the staff had been) we wanted to be closer to people who “could help us” rather than a "higher" place we knew nothing about (it turned out the "higher" place was closer to a grocery store, which would be convenient for people without cars - but we packed enough food for the week, (since we had no idea what was around the area based on the lack of response from the hotel), so we were fine staying in the cabin closer to the cafe).

For future reference, here's general Cabin location info:

The cabins closest to the Gala Hogfjellshotel (the red "barn" looking building shown in the official photo where people check in, dine, and use wi-fi) are called Gala Lid Hytter. The "higher up" ones on the same main road from there with a grocery store are Gala Grend Hytter. The "lower" ones (on a separate road) closest to the Peer Gynt Cafe (near the lake and cross country ski trails) are Peer Gynt Hytter, and where we stayed, just a little farther up the road, is called Gala Fjellgrend.

If you do not drive, the closest train station is Vinstra. From there you must (pre)arrange for a taxi (van) to take you up to the resort. There were three other people from the train that were in the van with us, two got off at the hotel, one at the "higher" cabin, dropped off at the cabin door, and then us (left in the dark, literally).

We were determined not to let this experience ruin our vacation, and focused on enjoying the nice cabin and the surrounding environment, and did manage to have a good time despite all that. It's a great _place_. Too bad we can’t say the same about our experience with the people.

Room Tip: The cabins closest to the Gala Hogfjellshotel (the red "barn" looking building shown in th...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank dimsumcafe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2013

Stayed there for three days over Christmas 2013. Very nice cosy hotel. Rooms are simple but very good. No safe or minibar though.

Plus points for having around 5 English movie channels on the TV for free. The morning buffet is good, evening dinner menu seems to be very much only 1 or 2 things one can choose from - still good though but perhaps not for everyone.

Wifi only works in the reception which is annoying beyond words as it would be simple and cheap to install a few wifi extenders.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank wulffeld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2013

We stayed in the warm comfort of Gala cabins, and had a lot of trips in the beautiful surroundings.
The area is particularly relevant for national parks (Rondane, Jothunheim) and magnificent landscapes. After so many km by car, we loved the cosy athmosphere of our cottage in the woods.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Laura G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2013

We didn't know what to expect, as we could not find the hotel by the name we had (Gålå Fjellgrend), and went hoping it wouldn't be a miserable Christmas. The cabins were absolutely lovely, and far more comfortable than we expected! It was decorated very nicely, and was well supplied with all things needed to cook for a family. They even allow pets (in the cabins), so we were able to bring our two small dogs (requested to keep off furniture and beds, but that was no problem.)
There are few dining options anywhere nearby, except the main hotel dining facilities (again not a problem, as we had brought cooked meals with us) and there is also a well supplied grocery store in the area. For our cabin location, it was necessary to drive to both of these, as this is a remote area, very spread out. Also there are plenty of television stations showing English speaking shows, but there is no internet in the cabins (free wi-fi in the hotel lobby area). Amazing skiing as well!

  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank OddieShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2013

23/12-26/12

Our family has spent christmas here since the late 1930`s until the mid-80`s when my grandfather passed.

6 of us came back this christmas to have a good time and check out the hotel and the surroundings. 1 child, 2 older children in their 40`s and three even older visitors. We had a good time. Much of the old charm was definetly gone. That was expected.

But it was a nice experience. The rooms were good. And the dinner was surpringsly excellent christmas eve and on christmas day. Buffet with a lot of local food and traditional norwegian christmas meat.

However, there was a lot of details here that wasn`t quite up to par. There was an extensive christmas program on the web-site. Not much of it played out. (Which was quite understandable since there wasn`t a lot of guests. Maybe 35 including dinner guests.)
And I was not impressed by the fact that I couldn`t rent skies from the hotel even though they state that you can on their web-site.

But the overall experience was definetley pleasant. The local guy in the reception (Steinar?) was quite helpful and knowledgeable.

And maybe most important of all, this is a particurlarly beautiful place. Golå was just as pretty as I rembered it from the old days. Lots of snow on the trees and the odd german car stuck in the snow on the road up. :-)

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the "villa".
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  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank hsmi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Gala Hogfjellshotel

Address: Gudbrandsdalen valley, Gala 2646, Norway
Region: Norway > Eastern Norway > Oppland > Sor-Fron Municipality > Gala
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Gala
Number of rooms: 43
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gala Hogfjellshotell & Cabins is located in the heart of Gudbrandsdalen, some 930 metres above sea level. With stunning views over lake Galavannet and the Jotunheimen mountains, it is ideal for mountain adventures - all year round. At Gala you can enjoy skiing in winter, explore the lush, green scenery in spring, breathe fresh mountain air in summer or take in the spectacular colours of autumn. If you opt for a cabin holiday or short-break, you are guaranteed plenty of atmosphere mixed with the comfort of modern facilities. You can then return to everyday life feeling refreshed and rested, with renewed energy and wonderful memories. All cabins are within easy reach of Gala’s skiing facilities. Simply step outside, put on your skis and enjoy the 15 alpine runs or 230 kilometres of cross-country ski trails. Galaseter offers Gala’s most affordable accommodation. From Rondane and Jotunheimen, the two apartment types available, you can enjoy breathtaking views over Gala’s vast countryside, lake Galavannet or the Jotunheimen mountains. All apartments are newly refurbished and are equipped with everything required for a self-catering holiday. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gala Hogfjellshotel Hotel Gala

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