Aug072016

Hotel Review: Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm

Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm is where we stayed last month for two nights in a 10th floor room with a nice view of the Stockholm City Hall.

Summary Likes:

  • Location is extremely convenient for guests arriving from Stockholm ARN airport on Arlanda Express or by train to Central Station or bus. If you walk the right directions, the hotel is less than five minutes walk from these Stockholm transportation hubs. Unlike many cities, the train station area of Stockholm is well developed commercially, clean and safe. Many of the top hotels in Stockholm are within a couple blocks of Central Station.
  • My room had fantastic view to Stockholm City Hall.
  • Decent size room (about 350 sq.ft.) with desk, bed, cushion chair, good shower, good AC.
  • Big breakfast buffet, but crowded (more than 100 people both days) in a large, busy hotel during a conference. Still, plenty of seats in multiple rooms were available for breakfast.
  • Ice machines on odd-number floors. I did a lot of stairs from Floor 10 for ice.
  • Systembolaget is 4 minutes down the street from Radisson Blu Waterfront. As you will learn, if you don’t already know, alcohol in Sweden is highly regulated and the strongest alcohol in grocery stores around the city, except wine, is 3.5% beer. Stronger beer can only be purchased in the government monopoly Systembolaget and there are not too many around Stockholm. There are about 15 of these stores in the tourist areas of central Stockholm that only sell beer, wine and liquor at limited hours of the day. Hours are like 9am-6pm for most shops. They do not have refrigerated beer. Thus, the availability of an ice machine at Radisson Blu Waterfront was appreciated.

Stockholm City Hall

Summary Dislikes:

  • Small fitness room with few pieces of equipment and little view for the size of this hotel. The fitness center was on a basement level floor on opposite side of building from my room.  My room had the view seen in photo above. Fitness room looked out to a wall if I recall correctly.
  • I had an issue where I arrived in the afternoon after my wife had checked in and the hotel’s computer system went down. They were unable to tell me my room number where my wife was watching Tour de France. I was hanging out in the hotel lobby doing nothing for around 40 minutes. Staff never offered me a drink at the bar while I waited or even spoke to me again during the wait time. Nobody bothered to inform me when the computer system came back online and I had to wait another ten minutes while several guests who had arrived in the preceding half hour were checked into the hotel before I was able to get back to the desk for a key to my room.
  • Kind of sterile, business hotel vibe. Radisson Blu Strand Stockholm, where we stayed the following two nights, seemed much more relaxed and quiet, except at night when we wanted to sleep due to the rave across the street going to 3am both nights.

Location

The first thing you need to know about Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel is how to get there. It is very easy once you figure out how to avoid the missteps.

If you arrive on the Arlanda Express or by another train into Central Station, then go up to the top floor of these stations separated by Klarabergsgaten, an elevated road . This part of central Stockholm around the train station has elevated roadways over the tracks. If you walk out the front door of Arlanda Express or Central Station at ground level, then you will not get to Radisson Blu Waterfront easily.

Central Station is surrounded by elevated roadways and there are few or no outside stairways connecting these different level roads. Radisson Blu Waterfront is located on an elevated street at a much higher level than the train tracks.

Walking from Arlanda Express station, I got lost. I met a Spanish woman walking the same back alley warehouse/service entry road as me, also lost trying to locate the entrance to Radisson Blu Waterfront. What should have been a ten minute walk for each of us to reach the hotel turned into a 40-minute plus ordeal of wandering low roads and high roads in central Stockholm around the railroad tracks. For me and the Spanish woman, after reaching the end of a service road to find no exit except the freeway or backtracking the way we came, a young man standing on a concrete delivery platform took pity on us and escorted us into his work building, through several keypad security locked doors and into an elevator up a couple of floors and out the front door of his building with directions to walk one block to the right for the hotel. Basically, we had ended up walking on the opposite side of the train tracks from Central Station on a low level road with a couple of city blocks of high-rise buildings and all their main entrances on the opposite side of the buildings a couple levels up on an elevated road running alongside the upper floor of Central Station.

Google Maps Stockholm

Essential goods are all found within two blocks of Radisson Blu Waterfront.

  • Airport Bus stops at Flygbussarna (top center).
  • Arlanda Express is same location as Flygbussarna on a lower level of the building.
  • Central Station is the building at lower right with Starbucks and McDonald’s.
  • Grocery Store is in Central Station one level down from McDonald’s.
  • Radisson Blu Waterfront is accessed from top floor of Central Station or top floor of Arlanda Express/Flygbussarna building across street from Central Station.
  • Systembolaget Klarabergsgatan 6 is four minutes walk from Radisson Blu Waterfront, if you want real alcohol at less than 20% of price charged in restaurants and bars for drinks.

Google maps Stockholm Rad Blu Waterfront

First thing you need to know about how to walk to the Radisson Blu Waterfront is go up to the Klarabergsgaten elevated street level of Central Station on the top floor and walk out the back door to see the Radisson Blu Waterfront.

The Room

I was so annoyed by the time I got to the room that I did not even take photos, except for the view. My photos below are after we used the room for two days with a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door the entire time. This is the view turning clockwise in the room.

Rad Waterfront bed   Rad Waterfront TV

TV is BBC coverage of Nice, France July 14 terrorist attack.

Rad Waterfront desk   Rad Waterfront chair

The Lobby

Rad Waterfront RBG bar

RBG Bar in lobby of Radisson Blu Waterfront.

Rad Waterfront RBG-2

Conference Center attached to hotel.

Rad Waterfront conference   Rad Waterfront sign

All in all, the hotel served as a good location, especially considering the TBEX 2016 blogger conference was at the hotel’s conference center.

Personally, my preference is the Radisson Blu Strand Hotel where we stayed the following two nights, despite the noise from the summer rave pounding in my head each night. Radisson Blu Strand has character and history and a better location and is actually a hotel located along the waterfront, in contrast to Radisson Blu Waterfront, which has views of the water from some rooms, but is not actually on the waterfront.

What it Cost

Stockholm is one of the most expensive cities in Europe and Radisson Blu Waterfront is one of the most expensive hotels in Stockholm.

Here is a screen shot from April 2016 when I checked room rates for our summer stay.

Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm rates Wed-Thu nights July 13-15 (April 19, 2016 rate check)

$336.83 per night or 105,000 points

Rad Blu Waterfront Stockholm rates July13-15

I booked this hotel in May 2015 for our 2-night stay in July 2016 using the old Club Carlson Visa card benefit of one free night on a reward stay and before the Club Carlson hotel reward category adjustments created a Category 7 at 70,000 points per night. I paid 50,000 points for my 2-night stay. At the time we were in Stockholm, this hotel was priced at 105,000 points.

I used the last of my 2-for-1 points reservations for 2-night stays at Radisson Blu Waterfront Stockholm and Radisson Blu Strand Hotel Stockholm. I still have about 150,000 Club Carlson points and waiting to find a hotel where the points rate is a better deal than the paid rate. That is a challenge in most cities these days with Club Carlson points.

For stays in Denmark, Norway and Sweden my preference is Choice Privileges points to book bargain rate hotels. Choice Privileges points have fantastic hotel reward value for Scandinavia. If I had not already had Radisson Blu reservations at 25,000 points per night, I would have been happy to spend our time in Stockholm remaining at Clarion Hotel Sign, the hotel we stayed at our first night in Stockholm for 10,000 Choice Privileges points per night.

Loyalty Traveler – Stockholm Clarion Hotel Sign great deal on points, convenient airport train access (July 13, 2016).

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

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Comments

  1. To each his own. We stayed at the RB Waterfront for 5 nights in June and figure it was one of our best stays of our 45 day trip to the Baltic. It also was one of the cheapest, especially compared to the Hilton and Sheraton. I had booked it early in 2016 and then rebooked as different promotions popped up through the winter.

    Since their website says you access the hotel from the UPPER level of the train station, we walked there in about 5 minutes.

    Sorry your service was so bad at check in, they could have handled that better. We never had any issue with them and thought the service we received was excellent. But why, once the computers were back up, didn’t you just use a house phone to call your wife in the room to find out where she was (or have her come get you) since she was watching the Tour there?

    The picture of the lobby you have is actually the bar…you have two pictures of the bar and none of the lobby.

    I personally go to a gym to workout, not for the view. Yes, it was small, but we were able to get complete workouts there and it was never crowded.

    If we ever go back to Stockholm, we would definitely consider staying there again.

  2. Website directions:
    Walking directions
    Guests can reach Nils Ericsons Plan via Klarabergsviadukten 59, next to the upper entrance to Central Station.

    My point is you have to reach Klarabergsviadukten by going into the buildings and to the top level. At street level the entrance to Klarabergsviadukten is a couple hundred meters in the wrong direction from the hotel and there are no outside stairways from the front of Central Station.

    I seldom post pictures with people in them when I am in hotels. I respect guests’ privacy. There were always people in the small lobby entryway. Most of the time there was a Viking Cruise Ship table set up at the entrance. Not much to see in lobby besides a couple of chairs and couches.

    The bar-lobby layout is like a junior suite with an open divider. The second photo of the RGB Bar shows the two openings to the lobby.

    Using the house phone would have been a good idea. Probably the fact that I had been in Stockholm only 15 hours since arriving from San Francisco and I had just returned from a 6-hour tour of Siguna, Sweden after having slept only about 5 hours in previous 48 hours might be why I did not think of that solution.

    In a large hotel a workout room with a view is a nice feature, not a necessary one.

    There is nothing wrong with Radisson Blu Waterfront. I just find most Radisson hotels I have been inside around Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and Poland are kind of sterile business-oriented hotels with little distinctive character.

    Radisson Blu Strand Stockholm is one of the few historic hotels I have seen for the brand in Scandinavia. I preferred that hotel for its style and location to the Radisson Blu Waterfront.

  3. We also just stayed at the RB Waterfront (booked on 2-for-1 reservation, 50,000 points for 2 nights prior to the club carlson visa devaluation).

    We had the same trouble finding the hotel (did not read website directions, only armed with google maps), but much easier time. We stumbled on to the Radisson Blu Viking hotel outside the central train station main entrance and went in to ask for directions. There IS an outside staircase nestled between the front entrance of the central station and the RB Viking hotel, to climb up to the elevated roadway Klarabergsviadukten. Once up, RB waterfront tower was visible and we walked in its direction.

    The better way to reach the hotel is the following. Once you get out of Arlanda Express, DO NOT get out to the street, continue walking on the platform in the same direction as the train arrived (south), until you enter the main hall of the central train station. From there take the long escalator to upper level. Continue walking in the hallway through the shopping arcade, passing platforms 10, 11, 12, etc (train lines below). Once you get out of the building at far end you are standing in front of RB Waterfront entrance.

    Since several of our sightseeing trips involved going to the old town Gamla Stan, it seemed that the Sheraton hotel location saved a bit of walking from and back to the hotel. I would choose that next time.

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