Introduction: An Arctic Summer
Review: SAS Business Class A330 Los Angeles To Stockholm
Review: SAS Lounge Stockholm Airport
Review: Hotel Continental Oslo
Review: Radisson Blu Longyearbyen Hotel
Review: SAS Lounge Oslo Airport
Review: SAS Lounge Copenhagen Airport
Review: W Hotel St. Petersburg
Review: St. Regis Moscow
Review: Business Lounge Moscow Domodedovo Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines First Class 777 Moscow To Houston
We had one night in Oslo, as we were landing shortly before 3PM, and departing shortly after 9AM the following morning to Longyearbyen. Initially I had booked the Radisson Blu Oslo Airport, figuring we’d be super tired after a redeye, and would just want to be well rested before heading to the Arctic.
However, Ford and I had both been to Stockholm and Copenhagen, but neither of us had been to Oslo. Given that it was summer and it would be light outside until late, we both thought it would be fun to experience a new city for the afternoon. We’re so happy we did.
Nordic countries have a lack of hotels from many of the major chains (Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood, etc.), though do have a ton of Radisson Blu properties. In the case of Oslo, there were no Hyatt or Starwood properties, so we decided to book Hotel Continental Oslo, which is a Virtuoso hotel.
The rate at the hotel was 2340NOK (~275USD) for the one night stay, and for booking through a Virtuoso advisor (aka Ford) we received the following benefits:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests
- $100 USD Equivalent Food & Beverage credit, at our legendary Theatercafeen, our lobby bar Dagligstuen or in Room Service (exclusive of alcohol, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
That seemed like a good rate in the peak of summer with Virtuoso benefits.
We landed in Oslo shortly after 2PM, and took the express train into the city. The train only takes about 20 minutes. From the train station it was a further 15 minute walk to the hotel. The walk was super easy, as it was mainly down a beautiful pedestrian street. With weather as nice as it is in Oslo in summer, there’s no reason not to walk.
Hotel Continental has a charming exterior, though it’s almost tough to identify which hotel it is. That’s because from the front side it’s not branded as Hotel Continental, but rather only from the entrance on the right side.
As we walked towards the entrance we were greeted by the bellman, though given that we had just carry-ons, we didn’t need any help.
This is a fairly small hotel with just 155 rooms, so the lobby reflects that. Reception was located immediately inside the entrance, with a staircase to one of the restaurants on the left, and the hotel’s lobby bar on the right.
The associate who checked us in was extremely friendly. She took care of check-in formalities quickly, and explained we were entitled to complimentary breakfast in Caroline Restaurants starting at 6:30AM.
She also gave us a food & beverage voucher valid for 800NOK (~95USD). The catch is that for the month of July, the hotel’s signature restaurant is closed, as is often the case in Europe. So we could only really use it in the lobby bar or through room service.
She also gave us a great upgrade since we were only staying for one night (or so she said), to a junior suite which she claimed has the best balcony in the entire hotel.
She also gave us a city map and recommended a few spots for us to check out. The elevators were located to the right of reception, so we took one of the two elevators up to the eighth floor, where our room was located.
The elevators were super snazzy, and even had a small bench in them.
Upon exiting the elevator we turned left and walked to the far end of the hallway.
That’s where our room, 816, was located.
I thought the room was beautiful. No, it wasn’t a newly built super luxe Mandarin Oriental, but it was charming and well maintained.
Near the entrance was the bed, which featured a surprisingly soft mattress (for Europe). I loved the fact that the bed had two duvets, as is the norm in Europe. While I enjoy sleeping with Ford, this avoids any duvet tugging wars in the middle of the night. 😉
On the opposite end of the room was a sitting area with two chairs as well as a two person couch, all surrounding a coffee table.
Between the bed and sitting area was the TV and desk. I don’t really watch TV, though I did find it to be a bit oddly placed, since it was positioned in such a way that you couldn’t practically watch it from bed or the sitting area.
Also in the desk area was the minibar, which was well stocked.
The entrance to the bathroom was located near the sitting area. The bathroom featured double sinks, a bathtub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet.
For the shower, the temperature control and water pressure were excellent.
Hotel Continental uses Molton Brown toiletries, which are very nice.
While the room as such was gorgeous, the highlight no doubt was the balcony, which was stunning. The balcony wrapped around the room, and featured nearly 270 degree views.
I can’t even say how lovely it was to sit on the balcony at 10PM watching the sun slowly set, and sitting there at 5AM as people were just starting their morning. To top it all off we had perfect weather.
Since the main restaurant was closed, there were limited options for using our food & beverage voucher. For what it’s worth, the room service menu read as follows:
We ended up mostly letting our voucher go to waste. On one hand I hate “wasting” a benefit like that, though on the other hand I don’t really think overeating just for the sake of spending a food & beverage credit gives you much value either.
We walked around in the evening and had a snack, so by the time we got back we didn’t want to really order food anymore. We ended up waking up at around 4AM, so ordered a small snack then. The hotel advertises that they have 24 hour room service, though as it turns out the overnight menu is limited to three types of sandwiches. There are no other options — no dessert, no salad, no soup, etc.
I realize it’s a function of personal preference, but we strongly disliked the sandwiches we got. But that’s probably just because we’re not fans of Nordic food in general. I ordered the “shrimp sandwich,” which consisted of bay shrimp in a thick mayonnaise sauce on pumpernickel bread. Yuck.
While breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant only starts at 6:30AM, they have a complimentary coffee setup starting at 5:30AM. As long time readers will know, hotel coffee is something that’s very important to me, and this has to be one of my favorite setups ever.
In the lobby they have a beautiful display with coffee, tea, croissants, etc.
We grabbed a couple of cups of coffee and headed back to our balcony, where we watched the city slowly waking up.
Though we didn’t use it, the hotel bar is located off the lobby. It’s a nice space.
At 6:30AM sharp we headed to Caroline Restaurant, which is the hotel’s restaurant that serves breakfast.
We had a seat by the window, and were among the first people there.
The food spread was reasonably good, especially for a boutique hotel. Personally I don’t love Nordic cuisine and am typically a vegetarian until at least noon, which can be tough to do in much of Europe. 😉
The spread consisted of several types of fruit juice as well as fresh fruit.
There were several types of cold cuts, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
There were several types of cheese and fish.
Then there was cereal and yogurt, as well as muffins, croissants, rolls, etc.
There were also a few hot dishes, including scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes, etc.
In addition to the buffet, there was a menu with a few things you could order to complement the breakfast buffet.
The menu read as follows:
I ordered the “pancakes,” which were what I’d call crepes. They were tasty, as you’d expect.
While I didn’t have a chance to use it, the hotel has a small but functional gym. The equipment is modern and limited, though given the size of the hotel that seemed sufficient.
By 7AM we were checked out of the hotel, and made our way to the airport via the train, with plenty of time to spare before our 9:25AM flight to Longyearbyen.
Hotel Continental Oslo bottom line
This property was lovely, and I’d absolutely return if visiting Oslo. There aren’t many luxury hotels in Oslo, and this is actually the only Virtuoso property. I thought the rate was very reasonable for one of the best hotels in the city during peak tourist season, even though we didn’t get to fully use our food & beverage voucher.
The staff were friendly, the hotel was charming, and the location was great, as it was just a short walk from both the train station and waterfront.
I’d highly recommend Hotel Continental, especially with Virtuoso benefits.