Thursday, August 30, 2007

Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad - an exquisite hotel experience

I have stayed at several great hotels, but hardly ever had such an experience as the Radisson SAS Hotel in Fredrikstad. There were very little to put your finger on. Staying here means great comfort, beautiful Scandinavian design, good service, and good food.

Location BBBBB

The hotel is located in the centre of Fredrikstad, close to the channel separating the mainland and the neighbouring Kråkerøy Island. Its location is excellent as you are in the immediate proximity to shops, restaurant, and pubs in the harbour area.


Service: BBBBB-

The staff of the hotel provided great service overall. They had prepared our keys and additional information for our arrival and check in. The only exception to the smooth service was during lunch, and we had to wait a little bit too long for the food to be served.

Hygiene: BBBBB

Not a grain of dust to be seen. The rooms, the bathrooms reception, restaurants and bars were well cleaned. As the hotel is brand new even the wall to wall carpeting was clean, but I wonder why they had settled for carpeting in the first place. Wooden floors would have been a good idea to keep up the excellent hygiene in the long run. There were beautiful marbled floors in the restaurants and in the reception area floors, equally spotless.

Room: BBBBB

I loved my room at the Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad. Furniture in light wooden materials, white chrome lamps, chrome chairs with leather seats. Very tasty colour palette delicately balanced in beige, blue and lime.

A large bed to die for with a large duvet and tons of cushions. The only place I have enjoyed this kind of luxury has been during my stays in the US.

The room was not big, but it felt roomy and not over furnished. My homage to the interior designer.

The bathroom was rather small but maintained the same high standard. Tiled, with a large sink with a lot of room for you personal belongings. And it had the luxury item - a bathtub. I absolutely love to be able to sink into a hot tub adding some soap or even better - bath foam.

And I absolutely loved the fact that the hotel left you some accessories for you bathroom experience, as this stand containing different bath-products as

- A hint of apple (liquid soap)
- Zest of lemon (conditioning shampoo)
- Gentle Orange (Bath shower gel

These small articles makes us (the guests), or at least I, very satisfied in this age where small portions of toilet articles increasingly are switched for soap, shampoo or bathroom gel dispensers.

Food: BBBBB-

Breakfast: BBBBB

The breakfast was served in the breakfast room on the ground floor, and it was one of the best breakfast ever. All you could possibly desire. Scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, tomato beans, crispy bacon. You had cold cuts, pates, cheese, marmalade, and much more. The coffee was served freshly brewed on each table and even the orange juice tasted great.

Lunch: BBBB+

Lunch was served in the restaurant and was included, and we had a piece of beef the first day, served with roasted potatoes, gravy and salad. The meat was well seasoned, but it was a bit tough. Dessert: Chocolate pudding with with blackberries and custard topping - yum!!

Second day we had a delicious fried salmon fillet with asparagus, boiled potatoes and a butter sauce. Very well prepared, perfectly cooked and the creamy butter sauce had a great herb flavour. Dessert a very strange cream caramel (?) topped with orange juice - a strange combination!!

The last day Fried chicken with a tomato sauce, served with roasted potatoes and salad - delicious. Dessert: A chocolate nut cake with cream and red berry sauce.

All in all - a slightly mixed bag, and we had to wait a little bit too long to be served, so only 4 Bargain points

Reception areas, bars, etc.: BBBB

The hotel had two bars, one at the ground floor (left) and one on the roof. Both had the cool, elegant design as elsewhere in the hotel. I loved the rooftop bar with a large terrace where you could stand outside enjoying the magnificent view over the city centre.

The reception area had a few minor deficiencies. There were just a few chairs and tables, and there were no coffee machines where you could help yourself. Coffee and tea was only served during scheduled breaks, but should be available for guests at all times.

And it would have been great to have access to a free computer. There were three computers by the reception but you had to pay €0,50 a minute(!). The Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad should have computers available free of charge for its guests.

Price: BBBBB

The Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad is an expensive hotel. You pay around €175 a night, but it is funny to say that you got much for your money. This was a great experience and you were offered so much comfort. The Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad offered great value for money, and if you are willing to pay nearly two hundred Euros a night, I would certainly pick this hotel.

Overall score: BBBBB (4,77 points)

Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad- an exquisite hotel experience

Address:

Radisson SAS Hotel, Fredrikstad
Nygaten 2-6
N-1607 Fredrikstad
Norway
Tel: +47 69 39 30 00
Fax: +47 69 39 30 01
mailto:Reservations.Fredrikstad@RadissonSAS.com?CSbridge=130.u%2511a1b443f580e37105c9911ecc13600fa070f0ab8d%2512s%25111cL%25111cM%25111cE%25111cF%25111cQ%25111cS%2511146%2513ss%2511%25111188759132180%25111188758363149
See the official Radisson SAS Hotel Fredrikstad website here

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The city within the walls

Gamlebyen - Fredrikstads Old Town


Gamlebyen (The Old Town) in Fredrikstad was founded 340 years ago. In 1567 the Swedish army burned down the medieval city of Borg, situated further up the Glomma river. King Fredrik II was determined to build up the city closer to the sea, and September 12th 1567 he signed the documents founding a new city where Glomma met the Oslofjord and he named it after himself - Fredrikstad, King Fredriks City.

The first years the defences were constructed in wood, and the large walls you can see today was built from 1660 and onwards. Today you can enjoy the most complete walled city in Northern Europe.

I attended an international Conference in Fredrikstad from August 27th to August 29th. The hosts had arranged a guided tour around Gamlebyen in Fredrikstad. I have visited this beautiful city before, but that was more than 25 years ago. I remember I was very impressed at that time, but I recalled very little of my visit.

Revisiting Gamlebyen, I found it to be even more impressive than I had expected. Tourist to Norway are recommended to stop and explore the historic and architectural pearl, located just 1 1/2 hour south of Oslo.

Gamlebyen has burned several times and there was a great fire in 1764. Thus the buildings today mostly date back to the end of the 18th century. Some buildings made from stone are however much older and one dates back to when Gamlebyen was founded in the mid 17th century.

On the left you see a bronze sign with a plan over the city. It is completely surrounded by Glomma. Until early in the 19th century the bridges were lifted during night time, isolating the citizens from the rest of the area around.

After the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905 the military importance of Fredrikstad diminished. Around the walled city a larger city centre had grown up. From this time the old bridges were not longer in use and a permanent road crossed the waters, connecting Gamlebyen with the new city of Fredrikstad.

Today Fredrikstad old city is a popular place to live. Here you find many quaint restaurants and shops. And the walled city used to be a free city, meaning that there were different laws within the walls than outside. Even today there are exception to the public laws in Gamlebyen. You may, e.g. enjoy your wine and beer in public areas, whereas you risk being imprisoned or heavily fined elsewhere.

The coming days I will tell you more the history of Old Fredrikstad, so stay tuned!!

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Passing a mile stone! One year with Enjoy Food & Travel

August 27th 2006, I published my first story on Enjoy Food & Travel, or Enjoy!, as it was called the first period. I did not expect that it would last for a year, or that any of you would find what I wrote remotely interesting. I am very happy to say that I have been proven wrong.

I have published 606 stories since then. The sources have been my travels in Norway and internationally, my success and an occasional failure during cooking, several restaurant and hotel visits, and much, much more.

Of course it has been an uphill struggle to retain the confidence of those of you that have discovered Enjoy Food & Travel. The daily visits have some periods been a disappointment, and other periods a source of optimism. I hope, however, that more visitors will discover the site, through my persistence in sharing my experiences here.

So for those of you that already have followed the site faithfully and occasionally posted a remark or two - thank you for your support!! For those of you that have discovered Enjoy Food & Travel recently - do come back - and to all of you, do not hesitate to give me your ideas and opinions on what I write. Those are important in order to improve Enjoy Food & Travel.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The fairy in the Absinthe

I have been in Løten, once again. This time I enjoyed the absinthe that Øyvind and Stian had brought back from their trip to Paris and Nice a few weeks ago. I have tasted it several times, but as they could supply me with a genuine absinthe spoon, I wanted to prepare my it the old fashion way and wake up the fairy in the absinthe.

This absinthe was 55% but as I have told you earlier the old variety was extremely strong, up to 85%, and you can still get this strength in Europe. Together with the artimisia or wormwood this strong alcoholic drink was suppose to create hallucinations. It had also a very bitter taste and the absinthe drinkers in the salons around in Europe added sweetness to the drink.

And I did as them. I placed a device called an absinthe spoon over a glass of water, placed a sugar cube on it and poured the absinthe over the sugar cube and into the glass.

Did I see the fairy of the absinthe. I did not see any living thing in the glass. Remember this was BEFORE I started to drink. But the contents in the glass created a green mist, and who knows....

But wormwood or not, it tasted like a good honest pastis, with a soothing and warm anis flavour - the taste of France.