Circulation figures confirm the future is online, it's local and it's in the long tail - chapter II
The investigative journalist band from the Global Investigative Journalism Conference (GIJC) 2008

The problem with Scandinavian hotels

Sweden is by far the worst: I've yet to encounter a hotel there with tea- and coffee making facilities and ironing gear in the hotel room - and I've stayed in quite a few hotels there. Norway is pretty bad on this too, and while it's been too long since I've stayed in a Danish hotel to make any half-valid conclusions, I've had similar problems there in the nineties.

So what do you do when you, as me, get up in the wee hours to get out a few stories before the day starts and there's no way to feed your caffeine addiction, how do you wake yourself up enough to be productive - without having to run around town at 5am to find a place with coffee, electricity and wi-fi? 

Even the conference hotel I stayed at this weekend: no coffee, no ironing board, only a trouser presser (not very useful). Luckily a waitress in the hotel's restaurant saved me by providing me with this (see picture), but I can't for the life of me figure out why hotels in Scandinavia want to make it so hard for the business traveller. Incidentally, I believe Norwegians are one of the most coffee-drinking nationalities in the world, but I can't quite remember where I saw that survey... (as it happened, I wrote this post after only one cup of coffee, hence survey became sturvey etc - corrected 18:30)

GIJC08Lillehammer 014


It's not just business travellers in Scandinavia, it's a problem for women travellers generally. Hotels do now (finally!) put hairdryers in rooms but pretty much everything else is geared towards men. There's no ironing board because men don't iron, plus the hotel wants you to pay for having your clothes ironed by their laundry department.

Bathrooms in particular seem designed for men - shaver point, cheap shampoo, no nice toiletries, never enough shelf space to set out hair stuff and make up (cos men only bring, a razor and aftershave, right?), no hooks to hang toiletry bags from, no angled or magnifying mirrors, useless lighting...

It is very frustrating.

>There's no ironing board because >men don't iron, plus the hotel >wants you to pay for having your >clothes ironed by their laundry >department.

Well, I am a man and God, I wish hotels would put ironing boards in hotel rooms. This is one of those annoying cases where the more expensive the hotel, the less likely you are to get what you want, because they want you to use your laundry service. Except, the laundry service will not iron a shirt for you *right now* and it is so expensive that nobody who is paying for the hotel himself is ever going to use it.

And as to why the question of whether there is decent WiFi appears to have no connection whatsoever with the cost of the hotel, I don't know that one. (I have been to $5 a night fleapits in really obscure third world countries with excellent super-fast WiFi and supposedly five star places in developed countries where it just didn't work.

This brings back a memory of staying in a rather nice hotel (in Denmark, in fact) where there was no WiFi in the rooms, and I thus camped out at a table in the lobby restaurant (where there was WiFi). I was so engrossed in whatever it was I was doing on the laptop that I knocked the menu over, which fell onto a candle in the middle of the table, and I was so engrossed that the first I knew of this was when a waiter came over and politely put out the fire in the middle of the table.

But I digress.

How are the masseurs in the Scandinavian hotels?

Delmer: masseurs? Never tried in Scandinavian hotels. In fact, even when I do stay in really nice hotels I seem to have no time to take advantage of it as I'm working all the time. This hotel did have a swimmingpool and gym, no time to check out - perhaps that's good as hotel gyms tend to be rather sorry affairs and might have given me another thing to rant about:-)

Michael: totally with you on Wi-fi. Usually the really cheap hotels, like most of the Indian hotels near Paddington, get it, while the expensive ones charge crazy amounts and often have wifi in lounge only and cable in the room. Now add this to my caffeine addiction and lack of coffee making facilitis in the room = very stupid set up, very expensive.

Loise: to be honest I rarely have time to notice other things than those crucial to my work: ironing board and coffee as I tend to be either in conference, at some fancy dinner or writing up the report from my room while staying there. The posher hotels I've stayed in, at least in the UK, are often good for toiletries and stuff, but ever so expensive for internet. There ought to be a market for female-friendly hotels though, I know there is one selling itself as such in Oslo, a Clarion hotel, but never stayed there...

Well first of all, I'm quite surprised about the experiences mentioned in the text. I could agree if this was a hotel in the Swedish countryside but not in Stockholm. I've worked with or for more than 50 different hotels in and around Stockholm and 99% of these would have a hospitality tray in the rooms and if the Iron/Ironing board would be in the room it would be delivered within a few minutes if asked for.

Secondly, I think it is a good point about some (most?) peoples working hours in Scandinavia. Some research has shown that on average the productivity here is equal or superior to most other western european countries.

A friend of mine moved to London many years ago and after a few month of employment his boss called him into his office. He was told that it was unacceptable to arrive at 8am and leave at 5pm. He was told that he was working less than his colleagues. My friend challenged his boss to measure productivity output for a month and compare his work with the rest of the individuals. As you might have guessed, he produced more AND better quality work.

So it's not the hours you put in, it's what you do with them :)

Having said that, I totally emphasize with the author being self employed myself knowing that time is always scarce.

I have stayed in hotels in Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Malmö. All of these had tea and coffee facilities so maybe you are unlucky or choosing the wrong type of hotel . . could it be that you are staying in "trendy" hotels where the clientèle are so cool they won't touch freeze dried coffee and would rather some skinny chai latte or whatever ?

Hmm... perhaps I've just been unlucky, but I've yet to encounter a hotel with tea and coffee makeing facilities in the room in the Nordic region - I mostly stay in tourist or business hotels. Currently in an Icelandic hotel with no such in-room facility, but comepensated for by free wifi:-) and diet coke in the minibar so still happy. Over the moon about the free wifi in the room actually, makes my work so much easier:-)

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