Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Accommodation for traveling kids: Radisson Blu SkyCity, Arlanda Airport, Sweden

Map of Arlanda Airport, with SkyCity right in the middle.
I've stayed at Radisson Blu SkyCity more times than I have at any other hotel. That kind of sounds impressive, except that I don't think I've ever stayed more than once at any other hotel, ever, anywhere.

The reason why I've stayed so many times at this particular hotel is its location: it's located right inside Arlanda Airport, between the domestic and international terminals. My trips to my family in northern Sweden always involve a short flight between SkellefteĆ„  and Stockholm, and on the way back to Canada those flights sometimes leave really early. Because of that, it sometimes makes sense to sleep over at the airport rather than taking an early morning flight.

For example, when we visit Sweden for Christmas this year, we will be staying over at this hotel on our way back, a) because it is more convenient with our early morning departure from Stockholm, and b) because it is actually cheaper (even with the cost of the hotel) to fly down the night before, rather than early the same morning (sounds crazy, right, but then the variation in flight prices is pretty much impossible to figure out).

  • The main feature of SkyCity is its convenient location: it is very, very convenient if you're flying out of Arlanda Airport early in the morning. If you're catching a flight, you can walk to the check in counters in about 5 minutes: no taxi or shuttle bus needed. This is even more convenient if you're traveling with kids, since it makes your early morning way less stressful.
  • There's an excellent breakfast buffet served in the hotel restaurant every morning. Breakfast is served from 5 am until 9.30 am (10.30 on weekends), so even if your flight is early you should be able to eat before you go. The buffet is of the extensive, somewhat over-the-top kind with hot and cold dishes, lots of pastries and bread, and heaps of fixings.
  • The rooms are clean, comfortable and somewhat generically Scandinavian in style: good beds; nice, sparkly-clean bathrooms, crisp sheets. A standard room isn't particularly spacious, but since you're probably only going to spend one night there, it doesn't really matter.
  • Service at the front desk is, as far as I've experienced, always prompt, friendly and helpful. 
  • Internet access, including w-fi, is free (a big plus these days).
  • Services for families with children include a kids' menu in the restaurant (there are also lots of other restaurants and cafes throughout the airport you can try out), and you can get a crib put up in your room if you're traveling with a small child. (We scored a free stuffed animal when we stayed there some years ago too!). I wouldn't call this hotel super child-friendly, because it's really mainly a hotel for business people and travelers staying overnight. However, it is comfortable and conveniently located for air-travel which can count for a lot when traveling with kids.
  • There are things to do at the airport for kids, though there's not a lot for kids to do inside the hotel. Just outside the hotel, in the main area between the international and domestic terminal, is an excellent spot to watch planes with the kids if they're into that. There are also lots of little shops in this part of the airport, including a pharmacy, a small convenience store, clothing stores, gift shops, and more. Another idea is to catch Arlanda Express into Stockholm for a quick sightseeing visit.
Overall, Radisson Blu SkyCity is a very nice, comfortable, business class-ish hotel. For families, its main feature is its convenient location if you're traveling to or from Arlanda Airport and need a good night's sleep before your next-day flight. It's not cheap, and it's not a particularly interesting place to stay, but it's nice, clean, comfy and (again) really convenient.

Map of Arlanda Airport terminal, thanks to arlanda.se.

1 comment:

  1. Children more likely to get bored when their traveling to far places. Adding some services for them is a good idea.

    ReplyDelete

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