The Scandic Rubinen hotel in Goteborg is ideally located and offers very interesting rooms, but fails to fully exploit its potential, resulting in a somewhat disappointing outcome.
I had promised myself to return to the Scandic Rubinen, where I had already stayed last December. In fact, the hotel made a very good impression on me, even if the conditions were far from ideal: a room with a pleasant balcony but covered in snow in the middle of winter, a delayed luggage that I wouldn’t get back until the next day, which prevented me from taking advantage of the gym and sauna, and finally a lovely rooftop bar…closed for the winter.
I had therefore promised myself to revisit the hotel under better conditions, i.e. in summer, and this visit to Gothenburg in August was the opportunity to put my plan into action.
It can’t be said often enough: Scandinavia is expensive, whatever the matter. Hotels are no exception to the rule, and you’ll often find yourself paying a rather high price for a service that’s sometimes a little basic.
The same applies to higher-end properties: Scandinavians have a frugal approach to luxury. Even with the best of products and the best of services, there will always be a detail (or several…) that will sting a little and seem incongruous or even out of place in relation to the property and the price paid.
Just a little anecdote: this is the only region in the world where, even in the so-called “superior” or “luxury” hotels, a 12m2 windowless room can be sold at over 150 euros a night for its “intimate and charming” side. But we’ll talk about that later…
In short, I hesitated for a long time before choosing my hotel: between paying a lot for a little and paying a lot for a better service but nothing crazy, nothing really tempted me.
And finally I booked a Master Suite at Scandic Rubinen at a rate of 240 euros per night, because, to my great surprise, it wasn’t much more expensive than the hotel’s standard and superior rooms. For your information, the “Cabin” room, 11m2 without window, cost 150€…
This suite’s special feature is its large terrace, so I can only hope that the weather will be fine during my stay.
Location of the hotel
Right in the center of town, on one of the main shopping streets where you’ll find restaurants and shops.
Arrival and check-in
I check-in online the day before my arrival, with payment at check-in. Another local habit I can’t get used to.
I arrive at the hotel mid-afternoon. The reception is very nice and since I checked-in online, it will only take me a couple of minutes to get to my room. I am also told that I must reserve my time slot for breakfast the next day…. so much for the fluidity of the experience.
The room opens directly onto the living room. Large, simply but tastefully furnished.
It does, however, look a little empty.
Ensuite la chambre.
Again, sober and tasteful, the photo looks a little sadder than the actual impression. Another local habit I’m not a fan of: the two half-duvets on the bed.
But there’s a fine line between sobriety and sadness…
So far, everything is pretty consistent with my previous stay: simple, frugal good taste, very Scandinavian indeed.
We headed for the bathroom, which is the first example of the criticisms I have of the local hotel industry. It’s big, very big.
It has a large shower at the back and two washbasins.
The shower is large but not particularly inviting.
The size is totally disproportionate to the feature, so much so that it almost looks like an accessible bathroom. A lot of wasted space and, above all, a cold, almost hospital-like feeling that makes you take your shower reluctantly in the morning.
It reminded me of the bathroom I had at the Gothia Towers, also in Gothenburg: a frugality and coldness at the opposite end of the room and its advertised standing.
In short, a lot of misused space for a comfort room that doesn’t make you feel particularly comfortable.
Let’s finish with what’s being sold as this suite’s strong point: its terrace. To be fair, there’s no cheating on the product, it’s really big.
On the other hand, it seems to be shared with the room next door, whereas the customer expects a private terrace. What’s more, the mismatched chairs are scattered haphazardly, and the whole place looks as if it’s been left to its own devices, with no effort whatsoever to make the most of the place.
It’s as if they’d said “oh, there’s a terrace, we’ve got some extra chairs and tables lying around somewhere, we’ll put them there and the customers will manage“.
What else can I add? A slightly odd smell in the bathroom and living room, a bit like a musty smell, and an air-conditioning system I can’t get to work. Moreover, the presence of a fan without the living room suggests to me that this is a known malfunction.
There will be a kettle and coffee machine as well as tea and coffee provided…but not even a bottle of water.
We end with the video visit.
What can I say in conclusion? That there’s all the material and potential to offer a really nice, warm, welcoming room, in which you feel good and with a terrace you want to enjoy.
The result? Something ultimately a little bleak, a room that they’ve tried to brighten up a little but whose potential is largely untapped, a terrace that looks like it’s under construction and that you can hardly make your own, and a bathroom that makes you feel like you’re staying in a hospital.
I can’t help thinking that it’s a complete waste. In the end, the room I stayed in last time, though smaller, left a better impression.
Bar and restaurant
The hotel has a bar and a restaurant on the ground floor, which I won’t be trying during this stay. For the bar, please refer to my article on my previous stay.
On the other hand, I did get to try out the rooftop bar, which at the time was the logical choice for customers.
Very pleasant, simple, with no frills and a beautiful view of the city.
Much livelier and noisier later in the night.
Here again, there’s a way to do something nice and really premium…but no. There’s no service at the table, so you fetch your own drink from the bar…even if the place is pleasant, it still feels a little rough.
The hotel has a gym and sauna.
I’ll start with the gym, which is as minimalist as it gets.
There’s a studio next door for people wishing to do floor exercises, which I won’t be able to photograph as it was busy at the time of my visit.
Occupied by who? By the mothers of the children you see in the photo, and that’s something. They went to do their session, leaving the children to have fun in the main room. I really say have fun, as if it were a playroom. One almost fell off the treadmill, another injured himself with weights, all without the mothers paying any attention. I would also have liked to stress the noise and disturbance caused by these young occupants, but in the end this is secondary to the risk of injury.
I won’t spend too much time here, as it’s impossible to do a session in these conditions. When I left, a couple who had just arrived gave the children a lesson in politeness, calling the mothers and explaining that children under a certain age are not allowed in the room, that it’s not a playground and that they should at least keep them with them, under their supervision. This obviously offended them.
There’s also a sauna, tucked away in the changing rooms, rather than a real spa. Unimpressed by what I’ve seen so far, I didn’t try it.
Staff and service
Pleasant and friendly at the reception, nice at the bar but overall I didn’t have to put their professionalism or quality of service to the test.
I’ll check out on the Scandic app and leave without having to go through reception again.
As much as my first stay made me want to come back, this time I’m a little disappointed. Not because of the performance, which I’d once again describe as frugal, especially for a top category, something I’ve become accustomed to from hanging out in Scandinavia, but because of what I consider to be a waste. There’s so much more to be done with this property’s potential that one can’t help but be disappointed by this impression of improvisation.