Often in my travels I discover that being lucky is just as good, if not better, than being prepared. Ålesund was one such experience on a broad scale, from dining to hotels to things to see and do. As we wandered about town on our first night there we still needed to make a hotel reservation for our last night – a week later. We checked out a few “name brand” properties like the Scandic and the Clarion and the prices were fair but nothing special. We also happened upon a slightly greenish building that had the word hotel on the outside and a bar facing the street. Given that two of my main requirements for a place of lodging were met we gave it a chance. The price matched that of the others and it was definitely something different, so we gave it a shot. Dumb luck won BIG.
The Hotel Brosundet is a small property – only 46 rooms plus one in the lighthouse around the corner – but it is big on style, comfort, quality and service. The room in the lighthouse gets written up a lot as a search for Mojja Fyr will show, but it isn’t the only nice part of the offering available. The room we had was not large by any stretch but there was space to move around, a desk and a large window near the bed (very similar to the photo). And it had the exposed beams, wood hues and smooth lines that reeked of Scandinavian design (a scent I happen to love). The property was formerly a warehouse, now converted into a hotel, making it the second former warehouse we stayed in during the trip (71 Nyhavn was the other). I have to give it to the folks in Scandinavia: They know how to convert a warehouse quite well.
In many ways it felt like someone had simply extracted the essence of a W Hotel and miniaturized it into a small building along the harbor. The halls were dark, the bar had a bit of a bass line pumping out and the people working there were mostly beautiful. Then again, most of the folks in Norway were so maybe that last one isn’t a great metric. So the aesthetic and the vibe were slightly W-ish (in a good way), but there was also something else, something better. The staff was actually wonderfully pleasant and helpful. They went out of their way to help us with just about everything we needed. It was a wonderful change from my typical experience at a W.
Oh, and the restaurant there is actually one of the better options in town. Not as good as Sjøbua, but I don’t know that anything really is. We only managed to have breakfast as they were fully booked for dinner, but the food was good and it looked like folks were enjoying their dinner, too.
Add on to all of that the top-notch location in town and the history of the building and it is hard for me to even consider staying in one of the other chain properties in town at the same price-point.
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