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Cyan Recolate Hotel Apr 29

We stayed at Cyan Recoleta Hotel for just one night in April 2017. We decided to stay here as we had stayed at the Urban Suites next door and we were happy with the area. I booked the room online on and check in was fast in the small lobby. We got room 202 on and when we came into the room it was on the small side but very light as there were white tiles on the floor, white walls, a couple of white barstools etc. The king-size bed was large and I slept well in it that night even if it was a bit on the soft side. There is a small table with a couple of barstools and a small kitchen which included an empty fridge (it was possible to buy various stuff in the lobby if I’m not mistaken), a microwave oven and some basic kitchen amenities. The room looks pretty fancy at first glance but you can also see that it is a bit worn out when you take a closer look. Wifi was included in the room and worked fine. We had a great view of the Recoleta cemetery from our window.

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The bathroom was tiny and there was a shower option in the bathtub – I’m not crazy about shower curtains and it would have been great to see a better shower option. There were basic amenities like soap and shampoo and the wardrobe included a small safe.

The breakfast was served in the basement and it was setup in a light modern room. It included the usually selection of sweet cereal, bread, pastries, various spreads and small glasses of fruit salad.

Location of the hotel is good. It is located right next to Recoleta cemetery and Recoleta mall and in the area you will find shops, restaurants and bars.

All in all we were happy with our stay at this hotel. The room small but it works great if you are only staying for a night or two.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Huentala Hotel Mendoza Apr 28

We stayed at Huentala hotel in Mendoza in Argentina for 4 nights in April 2017. We booked the hotel online and I’m not quite sure why I picked this hotel instead of the newer Sheraton next door but I think it was because I could get a larger suite room at Huentala compared to Sheraton. When we arrived we were checked in and got a glass of wine and we got room 116. I don’t think we got any information about breakfast and no information that they had a pool/gym – we only found that out a few days later when someone checked in and got all this info.

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The room was pretty big but without proper lighting I found the room to be a bit dark. The floor was in dark wood and walls in light colors. There was a desk/chair, a two seat sofa, table and chair in the first part of the room. The bed was big and comfortable enough for me at least. The window that we had did not provide any view apart from a courtyard of some sort. A flat screen TV was placed on a small table. We did have it on a couple of times but I don’t think we found any channels in English. There was a wardrobe with a few hangers and a small safe and a small fridge with some drinks. To give you an idea of the price level a bottle of water was 55 pesos and the same for a Pepsi. A similar bottle of water was 20 at the local kiosks.

The bathroom was tiled and had a bathtub with a glass panel to make it easier to take a shower without splashing all over the place. The amenities included shampoo, soap, conditioner, lotion, bath salt but also shaving kit, tooth brush etc. Wifi was included and worked pretty OK at times. But in our room it seemed like we only had coverage in certain spots in the room which was quite annoying.

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Breakfast was served a few steps down from the lobby. It was quite similar to the other Argentinian hotel breakfasts that we had. I was actually hoping for a bit more as this seemed more of a 4/5 star hotel. But the breakfast contained an option of bread, pastries,sweet cereal, scrambled eggs and bacon etc. The coffee was not great and came from a big container – but then again I prefer my coffee a bit stronger (e.g. double Americano). But what disappointed me the most was probably the fruit salad. At the other hotels we stayed at they had pretty good fruit salads that seemed to be homemade. At Huentala it seemed like most of it was just canned fruit in sweet syrup.

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The location of the hotel was great as it was only 500 meters from Plaza Independencia and it was easy to walk to restaurants, bars and there were shops and kiosks scattered around.

All in all I found this hotel and room to be a bit tired. Yes, the hotel lobby and room reminds me more of a classic Paris hotel with marble (or at least stone) tiles in the lobby, heavy columns etc but the lobby was also darkish just as the room. To make a long story short: if I head back to Mendoza I will probably try another hotel.

Gard – trip reports and pictures


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Mirador del Lago hotel Apr 27

We stayed at Mirador del Lago hotel in El Calafate in Argentina for three nights in April 2017. We took a shuttle from the airport to the hotel and check in was fast. We got room 110 located in the corner on the ground floor. The room was quite small and most of it was occupied by the kingsize bed. The room had a wooden Scandinavian feel to it with wooden floor in the entrance, wooden panels on some of the wall and the bed also had light wood details. There was a small step up from the wooden entrance to the bed area which was a bit annoying – I managed to stumble on it a few times.

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There was a flat screen TV on the wall but it seemed like all the channels were Spanish speaking and movies were dubbed. There was also a desk and a chair in the room. There were no international plugs but we did bring a converter so we were able to charge all our gadgets. The wardrobe included a few hangers and also a small safe. The small fridge contained some drinks.  A bottle of water was 40 pesos so it is cheaper to go to the local grocery store to buy water.

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The bathroom seemed to be newly renovated. It was small but looked great with greyish tiles. There was a small sink and a shower cabinet. There was even a heater for the towels. There were the basic amenities like shampoo, soap and conditioner.

Breakfast was good with a standard selection of bread, cereal, scrambled eggs and bacon. The town is named after the calafate berry and they had this jam so that we could try it out. In addition they had a good fruit salad – it seems like this is a standard at Argentinian hotel breakfasts. The coffee at breakfast was not very good. I don’t know if it was instant but it was served from a big container. They could make proper coffee for us but at an additional cost.

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The location of the hotel is good. It is located a bit in the outskirts of the city center but we could easily walk over to restaurants and shops. All in all we had a good stay. It would have been great of the room was a bit larger but the bed was comfortable and provided a good night sleep. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to family and friends.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Urban Suites Recoleta Boutique Hotel Apr 26

We stay 3 nights at Urban Suites Recoleta in Buenos Aires in Argentina in April 2017. I booked the room online ( and check in was fast in the small lobby. They did not have a room for us right away as it was 11 am but there is a workout room on the top level where we could change clothes. The workout room also has a terrace with a jacuzzi of some sort and there is a great view to the Recoleta cemetery.

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When we got back to the hotel later on we got room 73. The room was bigger than I had expected with a dark wooden floor and light walls with various art works. The king-size bed towards one end of the room was fairly soft and comfortable and side tables had space enough. There was a large sofa, chair and table in the “living room” and the small kitchen contained a table with 4 chairs, a microwave oven, water boiler, small fridge etc. There was a smaller flat screen TV on the wall by the bed but we could not find a lot of English speaking channels. There were no international plugs but we did bring a converter so we were able to charge all our gadgets. The wardrobe included a few hangers and also a small safe.

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The bathroom was also quite large and had a toilet, bide and a shower corner. For some reason there were not many hooks to hang clothing, towels etc. There were the basic amenities like shampoo, shower gel and conditioner.

When we were there it was not that hot so we didn’t get to test out the air-con capacity but it seemed to work fine. We had free wifi and it was only a matter of putting in a password the first time so this worked very well.

Breakfast was in the basement and had a standard selection of bread, pastries, some sweet cereal, juice etc. There was also some scrambled eggs and bacon. I enjoyed the fruit salad and it seemed like it was homemade. It was possible to order good coffee made according to your wish – the double espresso was good.

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Location of the hotel is good. It is located right next to Recoleta cemetery and Recoleta mall and in the area you will find shops, restaurants and bars. All in all we were happy with our stay at this hotel and I would not hesitate to recommend it to family and friends. I might even stay there again if I travel to Buenos Aires again.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Trip report from Svalbard in Norway! Feb 06

Gard_Nikki_snowmobile_SvalbardNikki and I had the pleasure of visiting the Arctic in the end of December! We spent New Year’s Eve in Longyearbyen on Svalbard far north of the coast of Norway. Check out the Svalbard trip report on my homepage and get in touch if you have any questions. We got to visit an old coal mine, drove on snowmobiles and went hiking in the cold – and we got to see northern lights! Here you can see more photos from Longyearbyen and I have also made this Svalbard Google map! If you want to get in touch you can reach me on gardkarlsen (at)


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Hotell Geiranger–great views but room is not impressive Aug 09

We stayed at Hotell Geiranger for a night in August 2016 and we booked the hotel using We arrived in the afternoon and check in was quite fast. We got room 818 which was a room with a fjord view. I was told that I could park for free outside the hotel but there were no available spaces there so I had to go down to the waterfront and even there it was tricky to find a place to park. But it is easy to walk back to the hotel.

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Once we walked into the hotel room the first thing we noticed was the beautiful fjord view – the hotel has a prime location for that. But the second impression was that this was an old school room. The room had wooden floor, light yellow walls and had the standard furniture that you would expect in a room. We had booked a kingsize bed but this was not the case – it was just two single beds pushed together. The comfort was good and the duvet was good. Apart from that we had a small sofa and chair around a table and a tiny flat screen TV on the wall. I know you are not in Geiranger to watch TV but it would have been good with a larger TV and a better selection of channels. Outside the room we had a small balcony with two chairs and a table. There was a desk and chair but the small fridge under the desk was both empty and unplugged. There were not that many points in the room for charging our various devices. The wardrobe contained an ironing board and iron but there was no safe.

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The bathroom was small with light tiles, a small basin and a bathtub with a shower option. The shower curtain was the type I dislike – the kind that sticks to you once you get close to it. The only amenities were two small bottles of shampoo, a small bar of soap and two glasses. I think the bathroom is in need for an upgrade as it had a stale smell to it.

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When we walked out of the room we passed by the lounge and at night it seemed like there was coffee and tea that was served here. It would have been great if we had gotten information about this when we were checking in. There was a free wifi at the hotel but I didn’t use it much as I have a Norwegian 4G cellphone. But we got little printouts with wifi username and password and there were different nets to use in the room and in public areas. The internet was not very good I’m afraid and having different nets with different password is confusing.

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I was not totally impressed by breakfast. This is one of the regions of Norway with long traditions and usually you will have very good breakfast buffet at Norwegian hotels. On this trip we stayed at hotels in Molde, Ålesund and Kristiansund and Geiranger hotel offered the least impressive breakfast. There was a very limited selection of fruit, no oats, the brown goat cheese was the pre-sliced version from Tine, there was no bacon to go with the scrambled eggs etc. If you want to put together a take-away lunch you will have to pay 100 Norwegian kroner.

As many of the other reviewers I have mixed feelings about this hotel. Yes, the view from the hotel room is amazing and you can easily reach some epic scenic places. If this review seems harsh it is because I think the price should be linked to the hotel standard. The room we had at Hotel Geiranger was 1900 Norwegian Kroner (or about 225 USD). This made it the most expensive hotel on our trip and the most outdated hotel on our trip. Geiranger is a small community with a limited number of hotel rooms and in my mind I get a feeling that they charge this much just because they can. We expected an old and charming hotel but after staying there for a night the conclusion was that it is just old. The next time I go to Geiranger I will probably see if there are other hotel alternatives.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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A hike to Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) outside Stavanger in Norway Jul 11

I have been to Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock a few times as I live in Stavanger and it is located a short boat trip and drive away. I did an afternoon hike to Preikestolen on a Friday afternoon and here is a short video that shows a bit of the experience. You can check out this page to read more about the hike to Preikestolen:


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Trip report from Iceland Jun 30

Gard_Nikki_Langjokull_glacierNikki and I went to Iceland in May 2016! We stayed in Reykjavik and used that as a base to see a bit of south Iceland including Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Seljavallalaug, Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss and geysers. But we also did some more action packed activities like snorkeling in the ice cold glacier water at Silfra, we went into the Langajokull glacier and we took a lift to get into an old and dormant volcano! We also got to test out a bit of the Icelandic cuisine including horse and whale meat but also puffin! Read the trip report with photos, links and maps on the homepage. Here is the Iceland trip report! Get in touch if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer. You can reach me on gardkarlsen @ .

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Hôtel Waldorf Madeleine Mar 28

We stayed at this hotel for just one night after a visit to the Champagne area. We have been to Paris before and you can read a Paris trip report here. I guess this should not be confused with Waldorf Astoria by Hilton. We booked the hotel online and just took the metro to Opera and walked over from there. The check in was fast and we got room 103. We said that we wanted to take care of the luggage but we still got a porter that followed us to the room which was a bit weird. The room looked pretty new upon entering the room with a beige carpet and light walls – but it was quite small and for a second we were like “where is the bathroom”. Most of the room was occupied by the queen sized bed that was soft and to my liking. There was also a desk, a TV on the wall, a coffee machine and a small fridge (one Coke was 4.5€). Wifi was free but we had to get a username and password for each device. The internet was fast but it seemed to drop out from time to time which was annoying. The room was well lit up due to lots of downlights.


The bathroom was totally different from the room – it was very modern with all white tiles. And what is the deal with setting up a shower in the bathtub and with no glass panels? From the moment I walked into the bathroom I could see that taking a shower there would lead to splashing of the entire bathroom and I was right. And how can it be that we only got one robe when you have booked a room for two people?

The location of the hotel is quite good. It is a short walk to the Madeleine church and metro station and you can also walk over to Opera. There is a lot of shopping around but maybe not the best selection of restaurants.


All in all – a totally decent hotel taking the location and price into consideration. I would not mind staying there again. Read more about the hotel here.

Gard – trip reports and pictures

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Saint James Albany Paris Hotel Spa Mar 28

We stayed at Saint James Albany in Paris for three days in March. Taxi from the airport was 50 € flat rate. The check in process was fast and we got room 633. The room seemed a bit dated upon entering the room but at the same time it also has a pretty cool layout as they have kept some of the old wooden pillars and this was actually the center of the room! It might be a pretty fancy feature to look out but also dangerous at night as it was easy to walk right into it in the dark. The room had a large king size bed that was way too hard for me, lots of wardrobe space, a small safe, no ironing board or iron, a desk and a small fridge. The small fridge was stocked up quite well but when a Coke costs 6.5€ it is much better to buy it somewhere else. The room was a bit dark and I would have preferred if there was more lighting – even if there were two windows in the room with a view to a courtyard. A small flatscreen TV was mounted on the wooden pillars and were facing the bed. Wifi was included and worked according to my expectations.


The toilet was in a separate small room – again with some of the wooden pillars. Due to this there was only a tiny sink in the corner which was not very easy to use. The bathroom on the other hand was large, had two sinks and a large shower area. We got two robes and slippers and the towels were on a heating rack. There was a bad smell coming from the bathroom and maybe that is why housekeeping placed a towel over the shower drain.

The breakfast was pretty good for the price. For 14€ there was a buffet breakfast that was not totally epic but it contained all you need of bread, fruit, cereal etc.

In the basement there was a pool of decent size and a sauna.

The service at the hotel was good but we were a bit disappointed when we called housekeeping on a Saturday and said that we wanted to wash some clothing and we were told that this was not a service during the weekend. When we asked when the clothes would be ready they replied that they didn’t know and that we had to call the concierge!


The location of the hotel is excellent. Right next to Tuileries Garden, a few steps to the Tuileries metro station, short walk to the Louvre and with lots of shopping it the area.

All in all a good hotel – but with room for improvements. The smell from the bathroom was not that pleasant, the walls were a bit thin so it was a bit noisy and we were disappointed that we couldn’t get some clothing sent to laundry on a weekend. But we enjoyed the large room and the location. Read more about the hotel on the hotel homepage.

Gard – trip reports and pictures


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