Review: Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret Oslo

Introduction: Oslo In Winter
Review: United “Polaris” Business Class 787 Houston To Frankfurt
Review: Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt Airport Terminal A
Review: Lufthansa A321 Business Class Frankfurt To Oslo
Review: Park Inn By Radisson Oslo Airport
Review: SAS Museum Oslo Airport
Review: Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret Oslo
How To Sled Oslo’s Korketrekkeren Like A Boss
Review: Clarion Collection Hotel Bastion Oslo
Top 10 Things To Do With Kids In Oslo
Review: Radisson Blu Oslo Airport
Review: SAS Lounge Oslo Airport
Review: SAS Plus Oslo To London Heathrow On A 737
Review: United Club London Heathrow
Review: United Polaris Lounge Chicago


We had a bit of trouble deciding where to stay in Oslo. The two most useful loyalty programs in this part of the world are probably Choice Hotels and Club Carlson, both of which have a slew of properties in Oslo. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to pick one.

Food in Norway can be pretty expensive so we decided that Choice’s Clarion Collection properties in Olso would be a good deal for our family of five as they include breakfast, afternoon snacks, and dinner in the room rate. That’s real savings. We narrowed the candidates to three Clarion Collections: Hotel Folketeateret, Hotel Bastion, and Hotel Savoy. I would probably have chosen the cheapest one, but they all cost 16,000 points so choosing based on price wasn’t going to work. I don’t usually put that much stock in TripAdvisor ratings, but I had to decide somehow, so we went with Hotel Folketeateret. At least for now.

We booked the Hotel Folketeateret using Choice points, some of which I outright purchased using the cash-and-points strategy. Based on that approach, the hotel costs $120 which is an incredible value considering that you’re getting two meals a day included.

The hotel’s location is excellent, maybe 5-10 minutes away from the train station and walkable to pretty much everything in the city center. There’s a good amount of activity in the vicinity with plenty of places to shop and eat nearby. The Hotel Folketeateret is located next to the folk theater, which gives it its name.

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Folketeateret in Oslo, Norway

The theater building has something of an arcade running down the middle of it, with the theater on one side and the hotel on the other, along with a couple other shops, restaurants, and the entrance to the folk theater.

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Folketeateret

The fact that the hotel opens into the arcade, and not the street, is particularly convenient in the winter as it gives you a place to gear-up and transition into the cold.

Anyway, the first thing that we noticed upon arriving at the hotel was the sculpture of Kate Moss in what looks like it could be a yoga pose, but the sculpture is just called “Tangled.”

It’s quite an interesting piece of work that certainly draws your attention. Even in the low tourist season of winter, we saw multiple people each day stopping to have their picture taken with her.

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Kate Moss sculpture in front of the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret

She’s positioned such that as you exit the hotel, you really can’t help but look at her. I’m not saying I liked being greeted by Kate Moss each morning. But I’m also not saying I didn’t.

At any rate, we proceeded inside to registration.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret lobby

The lobby is of modest size but nicely decorated with ample places to sit.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret lobby

There was one person on duty and she quickly found my reservation and got us checked in. She explained that breakfast was included and would be served in the adjoining restaurant and that there was a complimentary evening dinner each day in the lounge on the 7th floor. The lounge would also have a mid-afternoon snack.

While chatting with her, she mentioned that they even provide sandwiches to guests who check-in after dinner is over. That’s impressive.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret sandwich if you check-in after dinner

She also reminded me that there was a charge of 100 Krone per night for a crib. I didn’t need one, however, as we had decided to bring our own pack-and-play to save that cost.

We then headed up to the room which was on the 5th floor. There were two elevators just off the lobby, and about three sets of usable stairwells, scattered in different corners of the building.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret hallway

The room itself is probably one of the smallest rooms I’ve ever stayed in, and definitely the smallest that we’ve had to shoehorn the family into.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret entrance to room

The bed had two individual duvets and was nice enough. But the pillows. Check out the size of the big ones. It seemed like they filled about half the room. I love pillows more than most guys, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with these.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret bed. Note the huge pillow.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret bed

The room was literally about 10 feet wide and you could barely walk around the foot of the bed. Judging by the floor plan, it seemed that our room was one of the smaller ones, but then again, none of them looked large. I’m not sure if the small room was because we booked the room on points, or if it was just the luck of the draw. I guess my Gold status with Choice didn’t mean much….

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret floor plan

Making matters worse was a built-in wood cabinet that protruded about a foot into the room for most of the entire length. It was tricky to squeeze around the foot of the bed due to this.

This wood cabinet of sorts contained just about everything you’d expect to find in a hotel room. It had a fold-out “murphy” desk…

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret “murphy” desk

…a shallow fridge (which was unfortunately stocked)…

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret fridge

…a small ironing board closet…

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret “murphy” ironing board

…and a place for hanging clothes. (I refuse to call it a closet since it had no door.)

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret place for hanging clothes

In some ways it was a cool design, but on the other it seemed like it had a lot of wasted space. Like I wasn’t sure what was behind the wood in some places, and that starts to matter in a room that is only 10 feet wide. We actually ended up storing some of our bags up on top of this thing to conserve space.

The bathroom was of the split design with the shower, tub, and sink in one room, and a toilet and slimline sink in the other. There was a heated floor which was pretty cool.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret bathroom

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret bathroom

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret toiletries

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret toilet room

They were positioned next to each other off the entrance to the room. Again, I’d probably rather they conserved some space by combing these into one room, though I admit there are certain benefits to having them separate, especially when you have multiple people in the room.

The room was quite warm upon arrival and we immediately turned the thermostat down as low as we could. That didn’t help much, and the first night it was roasting to the point that we had to open the window (which did open, but not that much).

The next day I discovered that the radiator itself had a valve on it such that you could completely turn it off. That solved the problem.

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If all else fails, twist this knob to shut off the heat

Our room faced the street which gave us a lovely view…. of the all-glass office building across the street!

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View from our room at the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret

No really, it was lovely, especially with the snow.

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View from our room at the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret

Complimentary Breakfast

Breakfast is in the restaurant that adjoins the hotel, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that they aren’t the same establishment. It was a sizable space but had a cozy feel due to the low lighting and candles at every table. It seemed like they celebrated the fact that the sun wasn’t rising until half past 9.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast room

The breakfast options seemed to be the same each day and included scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and a simple omelet. Then a variety of breakfast meats, including liver paste which I had to try and actually liked. Then there was a cheese station which of course included brunost (Norwegian brown cheese) which I remembered enjoying on our trip to Bergen a few years ago.

My wife particularly liked the cured salmon and commented that she could just eat that all day. There was also smoked salmon and herring. Then a vast array of breads, yogurts, and even a tube of caviar.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret breakfast

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret granola station

Each day at 3pm the hotel serves a snack in the lounge. The first day it consisted of a chocolate pastry. This was fine, and appreciated, but paled in comparison to the make-your-own pancakes that we had been spoiled by at the Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret in Bergen.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret snack 

The Hotel Folketeateret Lounge

Clarion Collection hotels are known for serving a complimentary meal each evening. In fact, the Hotel Folketeateret prominently displayed signs advertising it as “dinner on us” which was served from 6pm to 9pm daily. The menu below doesn’t show the weekend. I asked the manager about this and he said they hadn’t received their shipment of food and were sort of planning what to make on the fly. But he assured me that dinner is a daily occurrence.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner menu (weekends are included, just not shown)

My experience with Norway is that the entire country is like a farm-to-table restaurant. It seems that the country as a whole just doesn’t tolerate the garbage that too often masquerades as food here in the US, so basically everything you eat is real, simple, fresh, and so-damn-good. This was no exception.

Each night there was a salad area with both lettuce and prepared salads, a soup, several loaves of bread, and then dessert. Note that some of the pictures show small quantities in the serving pans. This was never an issue as the staff quickly replenished the buffet, right up until closing time.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner buffet

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret cheese and dessert

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret dinner

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret soup

Water was included, though there was a charge for other drinks.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret drinks

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret drink menu

The lounge itself consists of two floors. The main dining area is on the lower level and has a number of tables and can probably seat around 40.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret lounge dining area

It was never very busy during our stay, though I can imagine the place is hopping during the summer.

Then there is a staircase that leads to the upper level. It’s a pretty cool space with several sitting areas and an outdoor patio which, unsurprisingly, was not seeing a lot of activity in January. Then again, the inside was rather quiet too.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret lounge upper level

My wife and I taught the kids checkers and backgammon one evening, which was a really nice family moment with the snow gently falling outside.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret lounge upper level

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View from the lounge with the Radisson Blu Plaza in background

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret outdoor terrace

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Even the views are complimentary for all guests at the Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret

Later I checked out the gym in the basement though, as usual, I didn’t have time to squeeze in a workout. That was unfortunate as it seemed like a gym where you could actually train, not just try to burn off a few calories.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret gym

Loyalty Traveler had noted back in 2014 that there was a granola dispenser in the gym and that this could be a good option if you miss breakfast or need some calories at other times of the day.

Well, the granola seems to have turned into mixed nuts which frankly seems odd to me — I don’t think I’ve ever eaten nuts before, during, or immediately after a workout. But maybe that’s just me.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret nut dispenser in the gym

Speaking of complimentary food and beverages, the lobby has a fancy espresso machine that will make coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, or hot water for tea. My family may well have gotten our money’s worth each day right here. There was also a fruit basket.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret coffee machine in the lobby

There is a room for unsecured luggage storage near the lobby. There are safes so you can lock up small items.

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Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret coffee machine in the lobby

After a few nights, we decided to give the Hotel Bastion a try. I inquired about a late check-out and was given until 1 PM with no charge. Beyond that it would have cost 100 Krone per hour, with seemingly no limit.

Bottom Line

The Clarion Collection Hotel Folketeateret is an excellent choice for lodging in Oslo. Not only is it a lovely boutique hotel, but it’s also a real value with breakfast, dinner, and an afternoon snack included in your room rate. For a family of five like mine, that’s hard to beat.

We booked the rooms using points that I purchased for $120 and I estimate that the meals were worth at least half that. The biggest downside to the hotel is the small size of the rooms, some of which I would describe as tiny.

But if you can live with that, everything else was fantastic, from the location, to the service, to the food, to the decor.

Oh, and for most of us, this is as close as we’ll ever get to being greeted by Kate Moss each morning….

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Good morning Kate….

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Comments

  1. I don’t know how you do it sir… I only have one kid and can picture the struggles of just hauling him around, let alone three. If your pack-and-play is like ours, it is very heavy and not that small when stored….I wonder where they would have put the $80 crib?

  2. Certainly seems like a great deal! For one that room would be great….but for 5. Yikes! Did you ever think about going back down and refusing that room? Certainly the hotel could not have been fully booked. There’s never any harm in asking is my motto–especially when you’ve got a little status.

  3. I understand your reasoning for the “getting 2 free meals” with the price of the hotel room, but isn’t half the fun of traveling actually leaving the hotel and trying local restaurants? Rarely, if ever, do I eat in a hotel, unless it’s a renowned restaurant that’s part of the hotel (not looking at your, Trump Grill). Regardless, sure, you may save a buck, but instead of traveling, aren’t you really just flying thousands of miles to stay in a far-too-small hotel room and eat dinner at a hotel?

    Personally, that type of traveling isn’t for me.

  4. Are the clarion hotels an exception? it seems that most chain European hotels don’t allow more than two in a room.

  5. I loved both Bastion and Savoy in July 2016 before and after our family trip to Svalbard.I think that Clarion is the best deal in Norway!

  6. Donald — I generally agree with you. My motto is “you don’t get what you don’t ask for”.

    But this time I actually didn’t try. I guess looking at the floor plan it wasn’t really obvious to me that our room was significantly smaller than average. There seemed to be number of rooms of that size, so I didn’t feel like they singled us out or anything. Then I sort of expected that there would be an up-charge for a bigger room, which I probably didn’t want to pay. 😉

  7. Keith —

    I’m guessing you don’t have kids. They kind of change the equation. We all travel differently.

    Cheers.

  8. Joanna — Agree on the Bastion! And agree on Clarion Collection being the best deal in Norway. We love them.

  9. Travis,
    Very nice review. Sounds like a great place — the hotel and the city the country — to visit with the family.

    Was your wife okay with your obsessing over the statue? Just saying.

  10. Thanks for the report Travis! We stayed at a Choice hotel in Malmo last summer, and it included supper. It looked similar to the spread at your hotel. We stayed on points, and they gave us an inside room, w/ no ventilation. The hotel did not appear to be full 🙁

  11. Travis, you wrote “I don’t usually put that much stock in TripAdvisor ratings”. Do you not review other people’s comments, opinions, suggestions and photos on TripAdvisor? I stay at +60 hotels a year and I have found that site to be a fantastic source to support or counter the narrative promoted by the actual hotel.
    Just out of interest, when you go travelling, is there a ‘must see’ that you have when you travel? Mine is Microbrewery pubs. I find they are not always in the tourist zone (which I love) and the meals are usually a great price. FYI, Crowbar Bryggeri in Oslo was pretty good 😉

  12. SullyofDoha — Yes, I use TripAdvisor like you describe. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t usually choose to stay at Hotel X because it is ranked as #6 in that city versus Hotel Y which is ranked #10. I don’t think the specific numeric ranking means all that much, it’s more about the comments as you say.

    But in this case, I basically went with Folk Theater because it had a higher numeric ranking mostly because my wife said I had to just make a decision.

    As for must-see: my wife likes to collect UNESCO World Heritage sites. So if there’s one in the vicinity, we’ll try to include it. We also have a thing for funiculars as crazy as that sounds.

  13. I think the “30 days out” policy for award stays has changed. Perhaps the website:

    Members who have not yet achieved Elite Status must make their free night reservation personally through the Program Line or through their online account no more than 30 days prior to planned arrival for stays in their country of residence. Sixty days prior to their planned arrival at all other locations worldwide.

    Maybe this changes the game for some? Although, if we’re looking at Scandinavia in the summer time (and we’re originating from the US), we could see hotels booked out before our window ever opens.

  14. We got a bigger room but would recommend this hotel. They let us check in at 8 am with no charge. Left early the last day and they offered a sandwich to go. I like to eat in local restaurants but the food here is nice and Norway is expensive. You can eat something different for lunch and then eat here in evening. Especially when feeding kids. Nice to see review of somewhere I’ve been

  15. Travis – great articles! Do you have a recommended pack-and-play for travel? We will be traveling with a 15-month old and in some areas where there are only AirBnBs without cribs. Any insight is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

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