Thon Nidaros Review

The Thon Nidaros hotel is the first property of any chain to fail at all possible levels, from design and amenities, to staff ineptitude. 

The rooms are so small (and certainly much smaller than the photos advertised on the hotel web site) that they are not functional. There is not even enough space to accommodate a large Fjällräven duffle bag, and it is not possible to walk around the bed without tripping on something. I should also mention that the room is not in the main heritage building shown on the web site, but in a different modern structure at the back of the hotel. 

The bathroom is even worse. An inadequate positioning of a towel rack (that would not be needed as only one towel is provided anyway) makes it impossible to fully open the doors of an already overly small shower stall. The shower must therefore be entered sideways (yes, even if you are a very fit dude with an 8-pack and very little body fat). Due to yet another design flaw, namely prominent handle attachments on the inside of the shower doors, entering the shower is not possible without bruising. To the hotel's credit, though, the longest handle attachments are not at crotch level, so castration can be avoided. You just impale yourself in your back or stomach. The sink is so small that it would not be possible to shave. No big deal you may say since we all sport beards. Problem is, the tap is at an angle on the side of the miniature sink, meaning water doesn't even flow into the sink. A problem even if you are only using the sink to brush your teeth. 

Worst, yet, is the lack of climate control in the room. The front desk, or Thon Hotels as a corporation, decide the temperature at which you should sleep, or at least try to. In this case, a staggering 31C. No relief from the windows as they do not open fully, and overlook a back alley that reeked of dumpsters. 

Thon Nidaros could not even manage to meet Scandinavian standards when it comes to breakfast buffets. The offerings were disappointing, with waffles and pancakes provided cold, fish options being rather limited, eggs overcooked, and with the juicer not even working. Evening meal was a disgrace and consisted of cold overcooked left over omelette from breakfast. 

Even parking was an issue. As in located a 10-minute walk away, despite representations by staff over the phone that parking was available on site. An issue when you intended to bring rifles into the room to not leave them unattended in the vehicle. Norway is not Texas, and walking around town with guns is not really an option.

When everything that can go wrong does go wrong, you usually hope that a human element will jump in to attempt to rectify the situation. Not at the Thon Nidaros. Front desk staff was not even able to act on the fact that the room desk lamp didn't work (requiring the use of my own head lamp to work on computer). Needless to say, therefore, that nothing was done to resolve other issues, and particularly the unbearable room temperature. As a matter of fact, despite having been notified of these various problems twice verbally and once in writing by our office, nobody from Thon Nidaros had the courtesy to even acknowledge our communications. Only notable interaction was with immigrant house keeping staff, who doesn't speak Norwegian or English, trying to force their way into the room to check the mini bar immediately upon my arrival, despite the do not disturb sign, and despite my refusal to let them enter the room. 

How does the Thon Nidaros compare to other hotel chains? Well, if you want a sauna, you can get one, attached to your climate-controlled room that is, at many SEO gas stations all over Finland for about a quarter of the price. If you want a great room with outstanding buffet breakfast, you can stay at Scandic or Nordic Choice, for about half the price. 

Thon Hotels are pretending to position themselves in the luxury accommodation market in Scandinavia, borrowing design inspirations from French Palaces such as the Negresco (but of course, not doing it right). However, the bright colors and ridiculous designs only seem to be intended to attract unsuspecting guests and rob them of their money, without providing any actual value, a decent room to sleep in, or basic customer service. 

Christopher Bjørnsen

Tromsø, Norway