Hotel Avalon Gothenburg: Almost Very Good

Situated in the heart of a pedestrian zone in the center of Gothenburg, the Hotel Avalon offers beautiful, well-designed rooms, even if some frustrations remain in the end.

For this new stay in Gothenburg before flying off to Chicago, I wanted to discover a hotel I hadn’t been to before, and the choice wasn’t particularly easy. Between those with unreasonably high prices for the services offered and the size of the room (numerous in Scandinavia), those I didn’t already know, and those whose austerity was too obvious, I finally set my sights on the Avalon, a member of Strawberry, formerly Nordic Choice Hotels.

My criteria? Design, location and price, but more on that later.

You’ll find all the articles about this vacation in the USA at the bottom of the page.

Booking

If I’d wanted to take the easy way out, I’d have returned to the Radisson Blu Scandinavia, if only for its spa, the equivalent of which I haven’t found in Gothenburg (or anywhere else for that matter), but I wanted to discover something new.

The Avalon seduced me with its location and design, which is highlighted as one of the hotel’s strong points, making a welcome change from the austerity of many properties in the area. For those interested, this is a feng shui-certified hotel.

So I booked a Deluxe Panorama room for 250 euros a night, which may seem expensive but is very reasonable for Scandinavia. The price is in fact moderately more expensive than smaller rooms with less of a view, and less expensive than most of the trendy design properties in town. Don’t forget that Sweden is one of the few countries where you can find 12m2 rooms, sometimes with no windows, at anything but the sweetest prices, boasting of their unique charm, all at full price, which always makes me very wary of entry-level rooms in the region.

So I think I’m doing very well indeed, given the promised service.

Location

The hotel is conveniently located in the city’s shopping and pedestrian center, right next to a covered market that also hosts numerous food outlets.

You’re within walking distance of virtually all the city’s sights.

Allow 20 minutes by cab from Landvetter airport.

Arrival and check-in

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I arrived much later than expected due to the delay of my flight from Copenhagen and although I checked in online I hope I won’t have to wait too long at reception as I’m expected for dinner and very late. The Scandinavian sun is misleading in summer: it’s past 8.30pm.

For once, things go very quickly: a card imprint, I’m given my key and that’s it! The receptionist will also be very friendly.

I take the elevator up to my room…

Don’t you find the room numbering a bit odd?

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The room

I head for the very end of the corridor, as the room (as the name “panorama” suggests) is at the front of the hotel to offer an unobstructed view.

The room opens onto a small vestibule with chest of drawers and closet, and to the left is the bedroom itself. No misleading advertising: the view is unobstructed, it’s bright and really surprisingly large for a Scandinavian room.

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The view is just as beautiful at night.

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Seen from the outside, this is where the room is located:

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On the side, a large cabinet with a coffee machine, Bluetooth speaker and a few amenities offered by the house.

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Two bottles of sparkling water are offered daily (sparkling, not still, I really appreciate it), and there’s coffee. There are a few sweets on offer on arrival too.

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There’s also a mini-bar in the entrance hall, which for once is more than just decorative:

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The bed faces the bay window.

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Comfortable but maybe a bit soft for me. We also find one of the great local classics, the two half comforter, which I can’t stand. Try sleeping in the middle of the bed and you’ll understand…

The bathroom, opposite the entrance, is also pretty and quite large, with both a large bathtub and a shower.

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To conclude on the design side of the hotel, I can confirm that the decoration of the rooms is sophisticated and the furniture very comfortable (sit down in one of the armchairs facing the bay window and you won’t want to move…).

You’ll even find a catalog of the hotel’s furniture on the chests of drawers.

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In bottom line, a spacious, airy, very bright, beautifully decorated and comfortable room: I’m more than pleasantly surprised. Truly one of the most beautiful I’ve had in Scandinavia, especially at this price.

Two downsides, however. First of all, on both evenings I’ll hear music that’s loud enough and present fairly late without being able to identify its source. Then there’s no desk, which is inconvenient when you have to work. In fact, there’s a “writing desk” in the chest of drawers that requires some laborious manipulation to use, which amounts to much the same thing.

We end with the usual video tour.

Food options

The hotel has a restaurant, which I won’t try, and a bar.

I’ll go twice to the bar for a drink.

Inside, it’s just like the room: beautifully decorated, comfortable and warm.

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Otherwise it has a very large, well-exposed terrace. At least in summer.

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I’ll settle in for a drink in the late afternoon.

The reception by the staff is most cordial, the place is pleasant and…that’s it. Would you like to order? You go inside, order, pay, and take your glass to your table yourself. A bit of a shame, and not in keeping with the hotel’s standing, at least not for “us”, as I don’t doubt that the local population is not overly shocked.

However, I’m always surprised by the ability of Scandinavian properties to deliver top-quality service and, somehow, slip in an irritant, a little austerity, just to bring you back down to earth.

In short, one beer will suffice and as I had some time to kill before going to dinner on the second evening, I’ll go to my canteen 10 minutes away, the Bar Bruno, which I highly recommend (there’s no bar section on TravelGuys, so I’m taking advantage of this article to mention it).

Facilities

First disappointment: the hotel has no gym.

It does, however, boast a rooftop terrace and swimming pool. In the photo of the façade at the top of this article, you can see the part of the pool that extends beyond the terrace and into the void.

First disappointment: access to the rooftop is only available to hotel guests from midday to 6pm. Outside this timeframe, use is reserved for guests of the penthouse suite on the floor above.

Secondly, the pool is very modest in size. It’s more of a dipping basin than anything else.

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Fortunately, it wasn’t crowded.

Otherwise, I found the terraces neglected: no occupants and the traces of customers who had passed through earlier not cleared away.

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And with good reason: it’s forbidden to bring food or drink, or rather, you have to order by phone from the hotel bar 6 floors down.

In other words, there’s nothing friendly or attractive about it, and the idea of a poolside aperitif is simply out of the question given the hours of accessibility.

Once again, the art of adding an irritant to a beautiful promise…

The staff

Very friendly and efficient in the few dealings I’ve had with him.

Check-out

I’ll be leaving early in the morning for the airport. No mobile or fast check-out, but it only takes 10 seconds: I give back my key and everything is taken from the card I left when I arrived, with no unnecessary paperwork. So when they want to keep things simple and frictionless, they succeed…

Bottom line

A really pleasant hotel and room, and I’d say a perfect stay if it hadn’t been for a few irritants.

I’ll forgive the lack of a desk in the room, but there are three things I find regrettable.

Firstly, the absence of table service on the terrace. When you claim a certain standing, you have to go all the way.
Then there’s the rooftop, which is so advertised that even a local friend asked me how it looked, since the hotel puts so much emphasis on it. It’s a small pool (but then again, why not), but above all it’s accessible only during limited hours, and there’s no service. Shame.

Finally, the absence of a gym. In 2023, in a modern upscale hotel, this is inexcusable.

Finally, a good summary of the hospitality sector in Scandinavia. It’s a bit like buying a nice, comfortable pair of shoes, and as you’re putting them on, the salesman slips a little pebble in to remind you that austerity and a low profile are the rule. In the local culture it’s okay, but for others it’s frustrating.

The articles about this vacation in the United States

#TypePost
1DiaryPlanning summer vacation 2023 in the USA
2HotelFairfield Inn by Marriott, North Conway (New-Hampshire)
3HotelAC Hotel by Marriott, Portland (Maine)
4FlightParis-Copenhaguen – SAS – SAS plus
5LoungeSAS Gold Lounge Copenhagen
6FlightCopenhagen-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS Plus
7HotelAvalon Hotel – Gothenburg
8RestaurantCarbon, Gothenburg
9LoungeSAS Lounge – Gothenburg
10FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS plus
11LoungeAmerican Airlines Admirals Club lounge, Boston Logan
12FlightBoston – Chicago O’Hare – American Airlines – Domestic First
13LoungeEventyr lounge, Copenhagen
14FlightCopenhagen-Chicago – SAS (operated par Hifly) – Business Class
15HotelThe St. Regis, Chicago
16HotelW Chicago Lakeshore
17RestaurantSignature Room at the John Hancock Center, Chicago
18RestaurantThe Purple Pig, Chicago
19RestaurantObelix, Chicago
20RestaurantCabra, Chicago
21RestaurantMiru, Chicago
22DiaryVisiting Chicago
23LoungeAmerican Airlines Flagship Lounge, Chicago O’Hare
24FlightChicago O’Hare – Indianapolis – American Airlines Domestic First
25FlightIndianapolis – Boston – American Airlines Domestic First
26LoungeSAS Lounge – Chicago O’Hare
27FlightChicago O’Hare-Stockholm – SAS – Business Class
28LoungeSAS Gold Lounge, Stockholm
29FlightStockholm-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS Plus
30HotelScandic Rubinen – Gothenburg
31RestaurantProject, Gothenburg
32FlightGothenburg-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS Plus
33FlightCopenhagen-Paris – SAS (Operated by Jet Time) – SAS Plus
34DiaryDebriefing summer vacations in the USA
Today’s itinerary
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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