The Radisson Blu is located less than a 5-minute walk from the train station in Oslo. We came up the escalator off the express train and took a quick right-hand turn. A short walk across a walkway and down a flight of stairs found us at the front door of the hotel.
Check-in was quick, the staff friendly and efficient. Carlson Rezidor, the company that manages the Radisson Blu properties was one of the sponsors of NordicDO and had rolled out the red carpet for our arrival.
I had a room on a higher floor, which made for a nice view of the city. The room key threw me for a bit of a loop. Look at the picture and tell me what seems wrong.
The doors did not actually lock right away when you closed them. Inserting the key in the direction of “To Lock” did work, though someone else told me he saw a sign on the back of the door saying the door would lock on it’s own after a short time delay.
The room was small by US standards but quite roomy by European standards. There were two chairs and a coffee table at the far end of the room by the windows (with an actual window that opened). The bed was between the door and the seating area with a desk behind it. It was plenty comfortable for the 5 or 6 hours of sleep that I got, though the linens were a bit of an oddity in that there were two small comforters covering two halves of the bed. Twin beds are something you see frequently in Europe so I’m assuming they just used the same comforters for all the rooms even if the beds were either Queen sized or pushed together with a mattress topper (I couldn’t tell which one this was).
The bathroom was also quite sizable by European standards. There were some great luxury features here, with a heated towel rack and a heated floor. Both made for a very enjoyable shower in the morning.
Our reception was on the 34th floor of the hotel overlooking the city. There’s a bar there which we somewhat overwhelmed in our brief time there, enjoying great views of the city.
I asked one of the hotel staff where to find the fitness center so I could take a quick peek. He pointed upwards, which threw me off a bit since we had taken the elevator to the top floor to get to the party. He led me to a door that contained a spiral staircase and told me to go up. He then described a series of directions to make it to the fitness center. Climb the stairs, go through the door, take a left, through another door to the pool. Out the back of the pool area to another door, then up 2 more flights of stairs to the narrowest fitness center at the very top of the hotel. Kinda cool, with even better views of the city.
This property is a Category 6 in the Club Carlson program, which means 50,000 points a night for award redemptions.
After the reception there was some quick shopping for the kids at the train station. Everything is ultra-expensive in Norway, but even I was a bit shocked that one of the small Smurf figurines I picked up was $15 US. After that, we gathered back at the hotel and took off for a local burger joint called Illegal Burger. All of the burgers had interesting names. I chose the “Sex Vigilante” which had chorizo, guacamole and cheese. Yum.
One of my traditions when I travel internationally is to take a peek at the local McDonald’s menu to see what regional foods they offer. A few of the group decided to join me for the detour on the way back to the Radisson Blu. My favorite local item I’ve eaten at McDonald’s while abroad were chicken wings in Barcelona about 5 years ago. While I’ve had decent wings at McD’s in other countries (Zurich) the Barcelona ones were by far the best, so good I wouldn’t even have considered they were from McDonald’s except for the fact that I bought them there. The Oslo McD’s had hot wings. Alas, they were no match for previous ones, and disgustingly expensive at a bit more than a buck a piece.
It was a short walk back to the hotel on a chilly but refreshing night. On our way back, one of our crew (yes, Michael, I’m looking at you) spotted what I can only describe as a very “interesting” sculpture in the lobby of a building we were walking past. I can’t think of any tactful way to describe it, so feel free to submit your own PG-rated caption.
Back to the hotel to answer a few e-mails, say goodnight to my kids while Mickie was trying to get dinner on the table at home, then drift off to sleep. Heading to sleep marked the 29th hour on the road. I woke to a sunrise in Oslo ready to start the day 35 hours into the trip.