You’re heading to the far, far north and are working your way down your ‘to-do’ list. The next thing is to figure out your Svalbard accommodation – where to stay in Longyearbyen.
Svalbard accommodation options are varied, ranging from the ‘cheap’ (for an expensive Nordic country) to the very quirky.
If cabin core gets your heart racing, then this is the destination for you.
Svalbard accommodation: Where to stay in Longyearbyen
Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel
I daresay it’s mostly due to coming from a country where the weather tends to go from hot to stinking hot, but I constantly dream of having a cabin-in-the-woods type experience.
Imagine, a weekend in a wooden cabin, with a roaring fire, piles of blankets and an endless supply of hot chocolate. Bliss.
The closest I’ve come to this, was when I travelled to Svalbard and spent the night in the Spitsbergen Basecamp Hotel.
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.
Wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.
Discover fabulous things to do in Svalbard:
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This is a twin room, which is furnished with two single beds, a small bookcase, a couple of comfy looking chairs and a small table.
The window looks out onto the city of Longyearbyen and there is an adjoining bathroom.
The room is kept warm at all times – a comfortable room temperature, unlike other places around town, which can be stiflingly hot.
We spent a very cosy night here, sleeping the deepest of sleeps.
Best of all was waking up snug in our beds the next morning and looking out our window to be met with this view.
Breakfast is included when booking the hotel room and is typically Nordic – continental European, but with all the fish thrown in.
I piled my plate high with salmon and paté.
Most importantly, the hotel is also located smack bang next to a local bar – appropriately named Svalbar Pub.
You can wile many hours away in this establishment, eating reindeer pizza and drinking sparkling cider.
Radisson Blu Polar Hotel
Alternatively, another wonderful Svalbard accommodation option is the Radisson Blue Polar Hotel.
On entering, you are required to take your boots off at the door, as with many places in Svalbard.
However, the hotel quite kindly provide 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. A super tasty meal.
The place feels very “Twin Peaks”-ish.
I don’t know why, because that show definitely doesn’t take place in Longyearbyen.
I suppose the general ethereal feel of the town gives off a cuckoo David Lynch-type vibe.
This hotel was originally built as accommodation for Store Norske Spitsbergen Coal Company and was considered to be the grandest building in Longyearbyen.
Consequently, 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.
This hotel is 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.
Coal Miners’ Cabin
Of all the Svalbard accommodation options, this is the cheapest.
This hotel is located in the upper part of the Longyear Valley, close to mountains or glaciers, making it ideal for hiking trips.
Although it’s within walking distance (or ‘cooee’ as we say in Australia) to Longyearbyen, it might be a bit too far if your itinerary is mostly based in town.
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.
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.
Last tips on Svalbard Accommodation
Have you been to Longyearbyen, or stayed at any type of Svalbard accommodation?