I've been staying in 5-6 different rooms at Skjærgården during the last couple of months, most of which were just okay.
Bathrooms are very tired, with chipped tiles, stained toilets and rotten sinks where new porcelain ones haven't been retrofitted atop the old composite ones. The only bathroom amenities available are two plastic cups and two ugly soap dispensers with cheap smelling soap more on par with what you'd get in a hostel. This is sadly the same in all but the most exclusive Choice Hotels, and one of the reasons I use this chain only when absolutely necessary.
The rooms are quite large, and has a properly sized desk, which is great. The decor is dated, and a couple of the rooms I've stayed in had a stale smell to them. The dusty and stiff curtains are hard to completely close, specially in the rooms where one or two curtains seem to be missing altogether.
Bed quality varies from average to great, and pillows are lumpy but comfortable. A few odd things; instead of a good-night treat on your pillow, they've placed a crumpled card with a picture of a tribal girl with a stick through her nose on it, proudly claiming "By staying one night at a Nordic Choice Hotel you will save 100 m2 of rain forest for one year". On the bathroom mirror there's a sticker saying "If mom's angry, I don't dare telling anyone about it (Marius, 8 yrs)" and the weblink to some save-the-children organisation which Choice Hotels apparently support. I don't get it. They're good causes, but I prefer to decide whether to support them or not myself. When I'm staying at hotels I like to relax and forget about what happens elsewhere in the world.
The minibar is now just an empty fridge, if you're lucky enough to get one. The front desk ladies told me they were throwing them out one after another when they malfunction. I usually ask for a room with a fridge and bring my own beer since I don't particularly like paying the exorbitant NOK 85 they charge for a small bottle of Carlsberg, the only beer available in the hotel, in the microscopic makeshift bar which has been erected during the refurb of the 1st floor conference and bar area. The ladies have always arranged a fridge for me, or offered to bring ice to my room if they were unable to.
Breakfast is mostly standard Choice fare, complete with the mandatory eco-food-selection gimmick. Good choice of breads, but I've had to go through 2-3 crispbreads a couple of mornings before I found some that were actually crisp. I haven't seen the egg station which last year's reviewers talk about, the pulpy powdered eggs now available seem like a sad substitute. Coffee is great, but i would love to see some espresso cups. Service could be more attentive, drinks dispensers are often empty, and a few mornings there haven't been any butter available at all, only diet margarine. The dining room itself is very run down. Large patches of carpet have completely disintegrated under the most popular tables by the window, chairs look old and tatty and the tables have been cleaned so many times the lacquer on them have gone ugly and sticky.
Annoyances aside, I find the rooms comfortable, and have always had a good night's sleep at Skjærgården. Maybe it's the fresh sea air and overall laid-back feeling of the place that works it's magic?
The staff is very friendly and helpful, and apart from somewhat overgrown gardens at the back and front of hotel, the general upkeep of the property seems good. Cleanliness is top-notch. I hope the upcoming renovation runs smoothly, and will probably be back with my kids when it's done.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- All the 161 pleasant rooms in the hotel have a shower. TV, telephone and minibar. Special family and handicap rooms. The hotel with all facilities hav a lot to offer both family and buisness guests - whether the purpose is recreation, events or conferences. Your room key allows access to all the facilities the large indoor and outdoor park of 4000 m2 - swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam bath, saunas,solariums and waveball. Imagine a swim in 31 C - outdoor - midwinter, when the frost mist surrounds the Langoytangen lighthouse. ... more less
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