Svalbard

Cabin Fantasies Come to Life: Where to Stay in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

August 7, 2017
where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

If you go to Longyearbyen, expect to see this kind of rubbish everywhere.

I daresay it’s mostly due to coming from a country where the weather tends to go from hot to stinking hot, but I’ve always dreamt of having a cabin-in-the-woods type experience. And not like in the film with its rather hilarious killings… just your average, chilled weekend spent in a wooden cabin, with a roaring fire, piles of blankets and an endless supply of hot chocolate.

The closest I’ve come to this, was when I travelled to Svalbard (that archipelago right at the top of the world) and stayed the night in the Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel.

Related: What to Wear in Svalbard – An Illustrated Guide

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

The entrance to the Basecamp Hotel.

Sometimes your accommodation during a trip is a means to an end. It’s the place where you store your stuff. Or, it’s a bed where you can lay your sleepy head down after a day of full adventuring.

Yet every now and then, I like to make a point of planning a trip around the accommodation – whether that be camping overnight in a church, staying onsite at a zoo or sleeping by the sea in the Qatari desert.

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

Not exactly how I’d hoped to first see a polar bear, I’ll admit.

I’d read about this particular hotel in Longyearbyen online and had fallen in love with the single click of a mouse. I pictured a cosy setting, with wooden walls that were littered with maps and artefacts and some weird taxidermy. I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard? Here are a few unique places where you can lay your head for the night. Click To Tweet

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

They’re serious in Svalbard when they tell you to “leave your guns and boots at the door”.


where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

The dining room.


where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

The sort of thing shouldn’t delight me… and yet it does.

We’d booked a twin room, which was furnished with two single beds, a small bookcase, a couple of comfy looking chairs and a small table. Our window looked out onto the city of Longyearbyen and there was an adjoining bathroom.

The room was kept warm at all times – a comfortable room temperature, unlike other places around town, which were stiflingly hot. You’d walk inside and immediately feel the need to strip to your long johns. Or maybe it’s just me. I have a tendency to overheat.

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

Well, the hipster hidden deep within me is satisfied.


where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

A room with a bookshelf will always get my vote.

We spent a very cosy night here, sleeping the deepest of sleeps (after trying to spot the northern lights, which rudely did not deign to make an appearance).

Best of all was waking up snug in our beds the next morning and looking out our window to be met with this view. Old Longyearbyen in the distance, with a sprinkling of snow on the ground. It was truly magical.

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

The view from our window the next morning.

Breakfast is included when booking the hotel room and is typically Nordic – continental European, but with all the fish thrown in. As a seafood lover, I was delighted and piled my plate high with smoked salmon and paté.

Related: Svalbard’s Global Seed Vault: Insurance for Humanity

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

Can sit here and contemplate life, or just drink wine.

The hotel is also located smack bang next to a local bar – appropriately named Svalbar Pub. This is a very important fact. We wiled many hours away in this establishment, eating reindeer pizza and drinking sparkling cider.

Interested in checking the Basecamp Hotel out for yourself? Click here to see prices and current availability.

Related: Tips For Travelling to Svalbard

Other fun places to stay in around Longyearbyen

where to stay longyearbyen

Be sure to park your dogs here before entering the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Radisson Blu Polar Hotel

We spent two of our three nights staying at the Radisson Blue Polar Hotel in town, which was also jolly good fun.

On entering, we were required to take our boots off at the door, as with many places in Svalbard. The hotel quite kindly provided purple slippers that you could pop on your feet and pad about the place in.

There’s a bar attached to the hotel and a large dining area with massive windows, which look out onto the nearby mountains. We had dinner there our first night in town and it was a super tasty meal.

The whole thing felt very “Twin Peaks”-ish to me – I don’t know why, because that show definitely doesn’t take place in Longyearbyen. I suppose the general etherealness of the town gives off a cuckoo David Lynch type vibe.

Click here to see prices and current availability.

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

Old Longyearbyen.

Spitsbergen Hotel

This hotel was originally built as accommodation for Store Norske Spitsbergen Coal Company and was considered to be the grandest building in Longyearbyen. There’s a lot of history to be found in these rooms – perfect for anyone wanting to discover as much as possible about this fascinating little city.

Related: Long Johns and Longyearbyen: 14 Facts About Svalbard’s Capital

This hotel was a little bit further out of town than the ones we stayed at, but offers up pretty damn good views of the town of Longyearbyen, as well as the Lars- and Longyear glacier. And there’s a bar onsite – so you’re pretty much sorted.

Check out availability and prices here.

where to stay in longyearbyen svalbard

A nod to Longyearbyen’s mining history.

Coal Miners’ Cabin

If you’re looking for somewhere cheaper to stay, the Coal Miners’ Cabins might be the answer.

This accommodation is located in the upper part of the Longyear Valley, close to mountains or glaciers, making it ideal for those wishing to embark upon hiking trips.

Although it’s within walking distance (or “cooee” as we say in Australia) to Longyearbyen, it was a bit further out than we would have liked, which is why we chose to pay the bit extra to stay downtown.

However, the cabins exist as another piece of Longyearbyen’s history and are ideal for those wanting to see how the miners who called the archipelago home may have lived their lives.

Click here for availability and prices.

Tulpan Hotel

And if you go to Pyramiden a ghost town which was once a Russian mining settlement, you can stay in Tulpan Hotel, although the hotel is only open March through to October. Pyramiden is accessible by snowmobiles in the winter (now apparently pending on where this global warming thing is going to take us) and cruiser boats in the summer. I am very upset with myself for not visiting this town, particular as it has the northernmost statue of Lenin in the world AND I WANT TO SEE IT.

Apparently there is a caretaker who looks after the hotel during the winter, which makes me envision a “The Shining” type situation, which I suppose is something I shouldn’t be delighted about.

Have you been to Longyearbyen?

Pin me baby, one more time.

Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and looking for somewhere cosy to stay? Here are a few options for accommodation in this Norwegian archipelago.

Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and looking for somewhere cosy to stay? Here are a few options for accommodation in this Norwegian archipelago.
Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and looking for somewhere cosy to stay? Here are a few options for accommodation in this Norwegian archipelago.
Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and looking for somewhere cosy to stay? Here are a few options for accommodation in this Norwegian archipelago.

NB: This post is not sponsored – I paid out of pocket for my trip to Svalbard and enjoyed spending every penny. The article however, does contain affiliate links. Money earned from this keeps this blog running and enables me to eat, which is something I very much enjoy doing.

Heading to Longyearbyen, Svalbard and looking for somewhere cosy to stay? Here are a few options for accommodation in this Norwegian archipelago.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Rhiannon August 15, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Is that an ACTUAL polar bear on the wall?!? Cray!
    I’ve had several “cabin in the woods” experiences — once or twice in actual woods — but none of them seem anywhere near as cool as yours!

    • Reply LC August 20, 2017 at 8:36 am

      It is! There were stuffed polar bears all around town – on walls, at the supermarket and airport. It was a bit discombobulating!

  • Reply Kati August 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Ooooh, that cabin hotel does look good! I assume breakfast is a communal affair given the fabulous timber table in the Polar Bear Hall??

    • Reply LC August 20, 2017 at 8:31 am

      It was! I could eat breakfast there every day.

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