Clarion Draken Hotel Gothenburg: premium and lively…but not yet fully operational

The recently opened Clarion Draken Hotel in Gothenburg offers excellent service and superb views of the city. Certainly one of the best hotels in the city… if its spa had been open!

So far, hotels in Gothenburg, as in Scandinavia in general, have always left me with a mixed impression. Never bad, but there were always one or two details that tarnished the experience: sometimes the service was too frugal, sometimes the setting too cold and impersonal, often the bathrooms were depressing and almost always the price was prohibitive for the service offered.

When I was booking this trip, I saw a few properties that had recently opened on my radar with a promise that was a little more in line with what you can find elsewhere in Europe. So I decided to try two: the Clarion Draken on the outward journey and Jacy’z on the return.

You’ll find a summary of articles about this trip to Australia at the bottom of the page.

Booking

Two months before my trip, I booked a superior room for two nights at 187 euros a night, which for a hotel in this range is pretty cheap in the region, even in December.

Shortly before my trip I will receive upgrade offers by email. 400 euros for a suite? Not even in your dreams. 20 for a late check-out? I’ll take that.

However, both offers and confirmations will be written in…Swedish. A recurring bad habit in the region.

Location of the hotel

The hotel is fairly central, close to both shopping areas and areas where you will find bars and restaurants. Close to the port, it allowed me to get closer to Hana and stroll around the area, which until then I’d been neglecting a little.

A personal note: the notion of “close to” in Gothenburg in December is not quite the same for a local or a Parisian when the thermometer reaches certain levels.

The Draken is this big black building.

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Check-in

Shortly before my trip I received an email offering me the chance to check-in online and take advantage of the hotel’s self-check-in kiosks, which meant I didn’t have to queue at reception.

My Uber dropped me off in front of the entrance (not exactly accessible or easy to find) and I entered the lobby.

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There are people all over the place, as if it were an annex to the bar (which in fact it is), and the music is quite loud but pleasant. You’d think you were in a hip bar.

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Anyway, it’s lovely and very warm.

Quieter and just as pleasant at other times of the day.

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I head for the self check-in kiosks.

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I scan a QR code, insert my bank card and place a blank key on a reader, which will then be programmed. My late check-out was taken into account and in no time at all I was able to get to my room without queuing at reception. Once again, the full price of the room will be charged at check-in, another Scandinavian habit that horrifies me.

Off to the lifts to get to my floor, one of the last in the hotel. Don’t be mistaken: there are a series of lifts for outside guests, giving access to the rooftop bar and restaurant, and another for guests, which also gives access to the bedroom floors.

The room

I enter through a small hallway: the bedroom is in front of me and the bathroom on my left.

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Although not really large for a superior room, it is within the local size standards.

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In my opinion, the design is very successful: it’s beautiful and very warm.

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The bed will be very pleasant and comfortable. On the other hand, I can’t escape the two half duvets, a local speciality that I’d happily do without.

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There’s a small desk, something that is starting to be lacking in many hotels.

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The mini bar is full, which is also rare, but will not be refilled during my stay.

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There is also a somewhat limited offer of tea and coffee.

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The bathroom is small but pretty and warm, which is not always the case in the region.

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Single washbasin and very large shower, but no bath.

Rituals bath products are of excellent quality.

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A final word on the view, which will be excellent.

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Strangely, this view is not the most popular and it seems that rooms with a harbour view are more expensive, but I prefer this one. Perhaps in summer my opinion would be different, but I doubt it.

All in all, a very pleasant room, probably the first time I’ve stayed in one that I have no complaints about in Gothenburg.

Bars and restaurants

The hotel has two bars and a restaurant, but I’ll only try the first two.

Lobby Bar

Next to the lobby is a large bar, whose clientele happily spill into the lobby.

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Pleasant atmosphere but a common criticism of hotels in the region: you order at the bar and bring your drinks back, there is no service in the room.

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Skybar

Another bar is located at the very top of the hotel, on the 28th floor.

For once, I’ll start with the toilets, which offer a breathtaking view of the city.

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There’s also an outdoor rooftop area…but it wasn’t the right time of year.

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On this Saturday, the bar was full from 4pm, proving that the aperitif starts early here, but that’s in line with the time when the sun sets.

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Once again, bar service only.

Beautiful views of the city from here too.

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You can see the restaurant one floor below.

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Facilities

The hotel advertises its Japanese-inspired spa, which I was delighted to try out, especially in this wintry weather. In vain: although the hotel had been open for several months, the spa was not yet operational.

The same disappointment applies to the gym: the hotel has a partnership with a gym located just next door, but it’s impossible to know whether it’s temporary while the work is completed or whether it’s a permanent choice.

I’m really disappointed by this.

Check-out

I simply put my key in the express check-out box in the lobby and left the hotel without having to go to the reception again.

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Outside it’s 1.43pm and the sun is already preparing to disappear.

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Bottom line

A beautiful hotel with a lively atmosphere and some rather unique features, such as the rootop bar and the views from the rooms on the highest floors.

It’s a pleasant surprise, and shows that even if some characteristics remain, the Scandinavian hotel industry is gradually moving towards something less frugal.

On the other hand, the absence of a spa is a real disappointment, especially as the hotel website promotes it.

My verdict? To be tried again, as it has real potential.

The articles about this trip to Australia

#TypePost
1DiaryPreparing a trip to Australia
2LoungeAir France lounge Roissy 2G
3FlightParis-Gothenburg, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
4HotelDraken, Gothenburg
5RestaurantKuruya, Gothenburg
6RestaurantSaga, Gothenburg
7HotelScandic Landvetter Airport
8LoungeSAS Lounge-Gothenburg (already tested many times, no review)
9FlightGothenburg-Munich, Lufthansa, Business Class (A320)
10LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge Munich T2 Gates H
11FlightMunich-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
12LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2
13FlightTokyo Haneda-Sydney, ANA, Business Class (B787)
14HotelMoxy Sydney Airport, Sydney
15LoungeVirgin Australia Lounge Sydney Domestic T2
16FlightSydney-Adelaide, Virgin Australia, Business Class (B737)
17HotelIntercontinental Adelaide
18RestaurantDaughter In Law, Adelaide
19DiaryVisiting Adelaide
20LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, Adelaide, Domestic
21FlightAdelaide-Melbourne, Virgin Australia, Economy X
22HotelRitz Carlton Melbourne
23RestaurantEntrecote, Melbourne
24RestaurantDelhi Streets, Melbourne
25RestaurantBincho Boss, Melbourne
26HotelW Melbourne
27RestaurantCapitano Carlton, Melbourne
28RestaurantRed Spice Road, Melbourne
29RestaurantYakikami, Melbourne
30RestaurantFreyja, Melbourne
31DiaryVisiting Melbourne
32LoungeVirgin Australia lounge, domestic, Melbourne
33FlightMelbourne-Sydney, Virgin Australia, Economy X
34HotelW Sydney
35RestaurantManta, Sydney
36RestaurantAalia, Sydney
37DiaryVisiting Sydney
38LoungeAir New Zealand lounge, Sydney T1
39LoungeThe House, Sydney T1
40FlightSydney-Tokyo Haneda, ANA, Business Class (B787)
41LoungeAna Lounge, Tokyo Haneda, T2 (already tested on the outward journey, no review)
42FlightTokyo Haneda-Frankfurt, ANA, Business Class (B787)
43LoungeLufthansa Senator Lounge, Frankfurt, T1 Gates A
44FlightFrankfurt-Gothenburg, Lufthansa, Business Class (A321)
45HotelJacy’z, Gothenburg
46LoungeThe Lounge, Goteborg Landvetter
47FlightGothenburg-Paris, Air France, Business Class (Embraer 190)
48DiaryDebriefing my vacation in Australia
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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