Wondering where to stay in Gothenburg? There are a handful of hotels which are better than the rest, and one of them is the Clarion Hotel Post.
When I grew up, the imposing brick building in the square by the Central Station housed the city’s main post office. In fact I even came here when mailing my recommended delivery for a job application to Brussels. This meant that I was very curious to see what Norwegian hotelier Petter Stordalen and his team had created in the iconic building. Would there be anything vaguely postal left inside?
Checking in was a smooth procedure, although almost over the top friendly. Yes, behind me in the reception hall was a flattened out Norwegian post van on the wall, as a homage to where we were. The hotel is big, with old fashioned lifts and staircases in the protected building that is the former post office, and more modern in the new high rise extension beyond. I had to walk for a while through the turning corridors before I ended up in our room which was in the old part with a plain view of the inner yard. This had the advantage of being very quiet and the room also had good, dark curtains to pull in front of the window with its huge old stone window sill. If you fancy a better view, just ask for it when you book. Since the hotel takes up a whole block, there are rooms in all directions. This being Sweden, most places have double glazing if not more, and even if one of the roads outside have trams it should be quiet enough.
If you are American you might find some rooms a bit on the small side, but for me our room was fine with its desk, TV and queen size bed, along with a shower in the bathroom. The bed and pillows were very comfortable so we slept like babies and wanted to bring the bedding home with us. Because the hotel is so big, you can book bigger king size rooms too, as well as expensive suites – two in the high rise building with views, and one characterful in the old building.
The main reason I opted for this hotel is because I was travelling with my daughter, and wanted to recreate a feeling of Barcelona with the help of a rooftop pool. Clarion Hotel Post has a pool on the top of the high rise part which is always warmed up to 30 degrees (C) so you could theoretically enjoy a swim on cooler days too, but of course have to get up afterwards. There is a shower up there, along with a lounge area, and the city views are amazing. We were lucky enough to visit in sunset and were not the only ones taking photos.
Food and drink
The nice thing about the Clarion hotels is that they are run with a thought to the environment. They do serve bacon since customers complained when they did not, but in many other aspects they work hard to keep our planet sound. Talking about bacon, that was my only real disappointment at Clarion Hotel Post. Breakfast in general was nice, with almost everything you could want apart from an omelet chef, but the bacon was small, over fried and crumbly. I hope this was just a bad day and not standard. In fact, I blame the fact that we visited during school holidays when the hotel was packed, and a lot of extra staff must have been called in. Everything else was very tasty, there was plenty of bread, fruit, eggs and whatever else you may want. What impressed us the most was the juice section where you selected your flavour on an Ipad! The next time I visit, I will pop in for their separate brunch though. This is something completely different to breakfast, and has won prices as one of the best hotel brunches in Europe.
Food is an important thing at Clarion, and they are working with local lad Marcus Samuelsson who is well known for running restaurants as far away as New York, and has cooked for Barack Obama. Here he has combined the best of Gothenburg cuisine with New York influences in the main restaurant. One aim when the hotel opened in 2012 was to become a bit of a “living room” for local people too, and this is seen in the hotel bars, where locals mingle with hotel guests. Summertime you can sit outside if you want to get away from the rather loud music in the downstairs bar weekends, but it has to be said it gives a cosmopolitan feeling to have a bar like that in your hotel, with cheerful bartenders blending fun cocktails.
Clarion Hotel Post really has something for everyone. The dark, but classy interior gives a luxurious, yet cozy feeling which suits everyone from business people to children. I never tried the spa, nor the other bar, but that just goes to show just how much there is in this one hotel right in the middle of the city, close to sights, trains, coaches, and airport buses.