Lately I have become very familiar with NordicChoiceHotels.com website. I plan to live in Choice Hotels in Scandinavia next month when I visit Norway and possibly Sweden. With over 170 hotels, Nordic Choice Hotels offer many choices outside the major cities. There are no hotels in most major chains in Norway. No Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott or Starwood Hotels. There are some Radisson and Best Western hotels and some Scandinavian-based hotel chains like Scandic and Thon. Nordic Choice is the most widespread hotel chain in Norway with about 80 hotels.
Nordic Choice Hotels offers five hotel brands with Quality, Comfort, Clarion, Clarion Collection and Ascend Collection.
Clarion Collection and Ascend Collection are the higher end hotels. There are 44 Clarion Collection Hotels in Norway and Sweden and nine Ascend Collection hotels in Scandinavia.
Nordic Choice Club
Nordic Choice Club is the hotel loyalty program for Nordic Choice Hotels. The great benefit for members of Choice Privileges is the ability to redeem points for reward nights at Nordic Choice Hotels, even though Choice Privileges members will not earn points for paid stays. I am also a member of Nordic Choice Club, but that account has no points.
When searching Nordic Choice Hotels for my travel itinerary in Norway next month, I learned about hotels on Nordic Choice website and then checked the reward night cost and availability on the US Choice Privileges website.
Nordic Hotels and Resorts is the name used by Nordic Choice Hotels for these Ascend Collection properties in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Ascend Collection Hotels in Scandinavia
- SKT. PETRI – Copenhagen, Denmark = 20,000 points
- Farris Bad – Larvik, Norway = 16,000 points
- The Thief – Oslo, Norway = 20,000 points
- Copperhill Mountain Lodge – Åre, Sweden = 20,000 points
- Yasuragi Hasseludden – Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden = 20,000 points
- Stenungsbaden Yacht Club – Stenungsund, Sweden = 16,000 points
- Nordic C Hotel – Stockholm, Sweden = 20,000 points
- Nordic Light Hotel – Stockholm, Sweden = 16,000 points
- Selma Spa+, Sunne, Sweden = 16,000 points
Aside from The Thief in Oslo where I could not find any reward night availability, the other Ascend Collection hotels were available for most dates in September during my two-week trip.
Copperhill Mountain Lodge is a ski resort in the mountains of Sweden and a two-hour train ride east from Trondheim, Norway. The hotel looks great.
TripAdvisor photos offer many more images of the Copperhill Mountain Lodge and surrounding area than seen on the hotel’s website.
Why go to a Swedish ski resort in summer?
One of the tools I find very useful for evaluating my trip destinations in Scandinavia is TripAdvisor’s Things To Do pages where travelers rank the best attractions of any specific place.
In the TripAdvisor top row links is a ‘Things To Do’ link. Click on the link and you will see a page of the top attractions in Åre, Sweden.
1. Tännforsen is the largest waterfall in Sweden.
2. Jamtlandstriangeln is a long distance cross country ski excursion.
3. Millest Moose Farm is a place to get up close to moose.
I have gone through this process of finding a Choice brand hotel I can book on points, then checking out the local ‘Things to Do’ on TripAdvisor.
Unique hotel experiences available with these Ascend Collection Hotels has me looking at Copperhill Mountain Lodge if I decide to travel to Trondheim.
Farris Bad in Larvik, Norway is a spa resort about 2 hours outside of Oslo with highly favorable TripAdvisor reviews. Following the same TripAdvisor process I learned that the #2 attraction in Larvik is the beach of Molen. (#1 is a family fun park and not of interest for my trip).
TripAdvisor.com Molen beach near Larvik, Norway.
Owner description: Molen in Brunlanes is a national treasure and one of Larvik’s most popular attractions. Molen is Norway’s largest beach of rolling stones, and it is a part of Vestfoldraet: the terrain left behind after the end of the most recent Ice Age 10.000 years ago. The cultural landscape of Molen, with its total of 230 cairns from the Iron Age, is one of the most majestic in Norway. The area has 16 large cairns, many up to 35 meters in diameter, with almost 200 small cairns in rows parallel to the shoreline. The cairns probably served as sea markers along the shipping lanes between different trading centres. This, combined with its striking natural beauty and position on the edge of the sea, makes it a must-see when visiting the area. You can enjoy a lovely view out to sea here and also study the beautiful species of stone called larvikite, a speciality for the Larvik area. Actually there are more than 100 different species of rock at Molen, and a total of 316 different bird species has also been found. The arrival and departure of the migratory birds is a real spectacle. Twice a year the migrants visit wonderful Molen, heading north in spring and eventually heading back south in autumn. In the summer of 2008 Molen was officially made into an UNESCO Geopark Area. If you want to get to Molen by manual means, the coastal path is easily accessible from either Helgeroa or Nevlunghavn.
I can picture myself traveling by manual effort, e.g. walking to Molen and seeing the Iron Age cairns beside the sea and spotting migratory birds. Then return to a comfortable hotel and hopefully a spectacular sea view from the room I booked.
Our deluxe rooms enjoy the best view in the hotel. Equipped much like the superior rooms, but located to give you a sea view from your spa-bathtub. The rooms are between 27 and 29 square meters large.
Choice Privileges reward nights often provide a choice of room types. I showed in a previous post the availability of a 4-bedroom cabin for 16,000 points at Quality Spa & Resort Holmsbu, Norway. The Farris Bad Deluxe room is the highest category room for this hotel.
Stenungsbaden Yacht Club – Stenungsund, Sweden outside of Gothenburg offers a Deluxe Double for 16,000 points.
Royal Treat offers Stenungsbaden Yacht Club´s beautiful deluxe rooms, Situated in the most exclusive part of the hotel, the rooms are a lavish 30 square meter. The Royal Treat rooms on level 3 have a king size bed (160 cm wide; those on level 1 and 2 have two separate beds (105 cm wide). All of them have a sea view and a sofa bed.
A yacht club is not exactly my travel style, but meeting some Scandinavians with a yacht would be cool if I could talk my way onto a day at sea.
Yasuragi Hasseludden deserves a mention as a Japanese baths style spa in Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden.
Choice Hotels Ascend Collection properties are anything but cookie-cutter designed properties.
I do not frequent many Choice Hotels in the USA. The points I will be spending on this trip were purchased through U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways last year specifically for a trip to Europe. The rate was about $4 per 1,000 points making my cost for these hotel reward nights $64 to $80 per night for rooms with rates typically in the $200+ per night range.
Hotels less visited by Americans.
My research on hotels and places in Norway and Sweden shows relatively few non-Scandinavian travelers write travel reviews on TripAdvisor.com and other sites for Norway for hotels outside Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen. I have traveled to Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm. Copenhagen is the only city I have been to in summer. My visits to the other capital cities were all winter trips. For my trip next month I want to spend most of my time in more remote locations than the major cities of Scandinavia.
Ascend Collection hotels in Scandinavia offer some good destinations off the beaten track.