Strömstad is just across the Swedish border from Norway, and is a very popular destination for shopping cheap(-er) alcohol and food for Norwegians. But, as I have learned, it’s also a very idyllic place along the Koster fjord, and I was happy to attend a tech conference for work here. There’s also a decent golf course nearby.
After an hour and a half drive from Oslo, I arrived at the hotel, which is a part of the Nordic Choice chain, in the afternoon.
The hotel offers plenty of free parking, and if you, like me, drive an electric car, you should be happy to know the hotel offers a total of six chargers – two regular Schuko outlets, two universal type 2 Tesla destination chargers and two Tesla-only chargers.
As I was attending a conference, my keycard was waiting for me with the conference checkin, so it was in hand in only seconds after walking through the door. I was assigned a standard room on the fifth floor.
The room was just that – pretty standard, but absolutely adequate for a few days stay. It consisted of a twin bed, a little seating area by the window, a smallish TV and a bathroom with shower. I was hoping for a bathtub, but only the non-standard rooms have this.
The hotel itself is relatively big, with more than 200 rooms and suites in several buildings. I got a glimpse of the Superior room through a more fortunate colleague of mine, and that was a whole other story than my Standard room: At least twice as big, with a big separate living room, balcony and, as I mentioned, a bathtub.
If you ever go here and are planning to stay for more than a night or two; get an upgraded room.
I also had a bit of an annoyance with the shower in my room. The shower only has one door, so water splashes everywhere, and there is absolutely no way of showering without filling the whole bathroom floor with water. Very annoying. I didn’t sleep very well either, but that was in no way the hotel’s fault, as I was anxious about speaking the next day and woke up at 03.30. The bed was comfortable and the room very quiet.
The buffet breakfast was also good, with a great selection of the normal hotel stuff: Bacon, eggs, cold cuts, cereal, yoghurt, fruit and a healthy assortment of great bread and pastries. If I’m gonna point at a few things to be extra critical, it was that the bacon was a little soggy and that there are no freshly squeezed juices, only the iPad-dispensed variety.
After doing my duties at the conference, I managed to squeeze in a little run to the main attraction of the hotel: The Decleor AromaSpa, which is freely available to all hotel guests. I didn’t have any treatments, but prices seemed to be in line with the European hotel standard. In other words pretty expensive, but not that different from normal street prices, unlike hotels in Asia, which always charge a hefty premium.
As the rest of the hotel was busy with the conference, I basically had the whole spa to myself. It consists of a regular pool, a warmer alternative and two jacuzzis downstairs, and both steam and regular saunas upstairs along with foot baths, a relax lounge and an outdoor jacuzzi.
I’m not very fond of cold water, so I stuck to the hot options, and after a pretty stressful few weeks, it was a very welcome treat. The spa grounds were clean, but the ceiling in the main hall downstairs had pretty clear signs of an earlier water leak, which was a bit disturbing. Some of the areas also are starting to show its age, mainly the steam sauna upstairs.
Nevertheless a great way to relax and spend a few hours, although my visit probably wasn’t representative, as I had all the facilities to myself. Also a good thing that they have fruit-infused water for free, as you are prone to sweat a lot in the hot water and saunas.
I also have to praise the toiletries available in the hotel, both in the spa and room.
The Dharmazone products are fresh and inviting, with an interesting scent combination of Scandinavian cloudberry, lemongrass and apple, suitable for both men and women.
I only wish the hotel was a bit more generous with the in-room selection, though – only shower gel and shampoo was offered. At least the spa also had conditioner and body lotion.
In total I would say that the Strömstad Spa is an appealing option if you are looking to book a romantic and/or relaxing weekend not very far from Oslo.
It is, however, fairly pricey, with closer to 2000 SEK and up per night for a standard room with breakfast all weekends year around. Superior and deluxe rooms are closer to 3000 SEK/night.
All kinds of travel rates the Strömstad spa: 4 out of 5
I liked: Nice spa area, lovely bath products, comfortable bed, good breakfast selection, free parking and electric car charging,
I disliked: Water everywhere after showering, only shower gel and shampoo in the room, Standard room a bit cramped for extended stays, fairly expensive