...where to stay in style and comfort
SAS Radisson Lillehammer
A.B. Flint Choice Radisson SAS Lillehammer (Mid
Price; 303 rms). A large, comfortable sports-oriented hotel set in its own wooded grounds on the edge of town. Run with special care as a regional Radis- son flagship, and with a welcoming at- mosphere, it manages to be cosier than most places of its size.
Thanks to Scandinavian egalitarianism and a dedication to outdoor pursuits, the hotel’s tone is smart-casual not posh— despite having been built specifically to house the 1994 Olympic glitterati, and consequently having seen the likes of Hilary Clinton and members of most of the world’s leading royal families pass through its doors. Today guests are most likely affluent Oslo professionals enjoy- ing a short escape from the city, joined by a smattering of business travellers during the week. Although the hotel is also Lille- hammer’s top-end tour operator choice,
numbers are low and clients generally travelling individually, so there’s no ob- trusive tour group feel.
A short taxi ride or steep walk from the town centre, entry is from the slightly functional rear. However, the main ‘Longhorn’ Bar and Mediterranean ‘Salt & Pepper’ Restaurant both enjoy peaceful front-facing views to the surrounding birch woods. Although typically deep in snow during winter, the low-rise façade has an extensive terrace extending be- tween flanking stumpy towers in vaguely Gatsby-era Adirondack style.
Public areas enjoy plenty of natural light through big west-facing picture win- dows, while abundant bars and lounges (including a special ‘Olympic Lounge’ displaying portraits and other memora- bilia) mean there’s always a quiet spot to relax. The forested setting and liberal use of traditional oil paintings and dark wood in the lobby and elsewhere gives a par-
SAS Radisson pool
BOBSLEIGH W/E BLUEPRINT
Need to know
‘Comfortable but provincial’ sums up the Lillehammer hotel scene—with nothing to frighten the horses, or even vaguely hip or chic. For such a notori- ously expensive country, Lillehammer’s accommodation is actually rather good value. Strangely, you’ll pay pretty much the same everywhere, irrespective of ratings or amenities.
ticularly indulgent lodge-type atmos- phere.
Together with the large indoor pool, sauna and solarium, these features have meant that the Radisson Lillehammer has consistently been regarded as one of the best resort hotels in Scandinavia
Bedrooms are located in one of the wings. The smallest are definitely on the petite side, especially if you’re encum- bered by cold-weather clothing and other gear. Otherwise, the rooms are basically what you’d expect from a 4 star hotel in a well-reputed international chain—mine