Monday, March 3, 2014

Scandinavian Hotel Food

When we visited Scandinavia two years ago we were blown away by the cost of food. One of the few meals we ate away from our tour group, a lunch at an Oslo restaurant, was about $100 for two of us. Even people who went to McDonald's were reporting $14.00 Big Macs. Where we survived financially and really found some great food was at our hotel breakfasts. We were getting breakfasts that were better than our $100 meal in Oslo, at our hotel in Oslo. So we learned to have a big breakfast and really enjoy it as it was going to be the best meal of the day. 

We have been to quite a few average hotels in the U.S. recently that provide a breakfast I usually try to avoid: yogurt, waffles, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, perhaps sausages, Raisin Bran and Fruit Loops, apples and perhaps some bananas - none of it high quality. In the U.S. where food is relatively cheap you get hotel breakfasts that are low quality and awful. In Europe where food is extremely expensive, you get all-you-can-eat hotel food that is of extremely high quality. This dichotomy does not make sense to me. 

We would never be able to afford these hotels on our own, but purchased as part of tour packages they become more affordable. I'm not sure how much of the hotel price includes food, but it has to be substantial. This particular trip was combined with a cruise, so when we weren't at a hotel we were getting cruise food. 

Moscow (Russia) Marriott:
The Moscow Marriott provided a great breakfast. We stayed several nights and my pictures only reflect one plate on one morning. I had multiple plates each morning and the options varied a little bit each day. The pictures include a number of different kinds of sausages, some sliced meats, salmon, cheese and cooked vegetables and mushrooms. This was the tip of the iceberg. There were different kinds of cereals, fruits, omelettes and breads. 
Moscow Marriott buffet
A view of another side of the plate.
Copenhagen (Denmark) Radisson Blu:
The selection at the Copenhagen Radisson Blu was not as great as Moscow, but it was still very good. Again, this is one of multiple plates, and includes blue cheese, some soft Camembert type cheese, rolled ham, salami, sausages, marinated mushrooms, boiled potatoes and bread. Again, there was a complement of fruit, pastries, breads and other meats and cheeses that are not reflected on the plate.
Copenhagen Radisson Blu
Lubeck (Germany) Radisson Blu:
The Lubeck Radisson Blu, just off the Baltic in northern Germany, reflected the local culture wonderfully. This particular plate had several variations of smoked salmon, several kinds of pickled herring, sausages, multiple kinds of cheese, scrambled eggs with a nice chili sauce available as a topping, soft-boiled egg, and many other types of food not reflected on my plate. Compare this to the expensive meal at a fish restaurant in Lubeck later in the day. 
Lubeck Radisson Blue
Oslo (Norway) Hotel Bristol:
The real winner was the Hotel Bristol in Oslo, not too far from our $100 lunch. By comparison, our breakfast would have been $100+ per person. Look at the beautiful varieties of pickled herring: mustard, beet and some sort of tomato sauce, large chunks of several types of smoked salmon, shrimp smothered in sauce, cheeses, including the Norwegian brown cheese. It also included omelettes, fruits, desserts, breads, really a phenomenal thing compared to a $14 Big Mac. This compared more than favorably to one of our good outside lunches in Porvoo, Finland with similar types of food. 
Oslo Hotel Bristol

I really like to get out and try different kinds of foods in our travels, but Scandinavian costs really put a crimp in that aspect of our travel there. Thank heavens for the wonderful hotel food. 


  1. Europeans sure know how to do breakfast!

  2. Part of the issue with our breakfasts here is that we stay in much less expensive hotels because we are on our own and not buying a great hotel as part of a package. I suspect hotels on the same level as a Radisson Blu would have an equally nice breakfast. However, then I think about our fabulous hotel breakfast in Zagreb, a hotel we booked on our own, and I toss that theory out the window.

  3. This looks and sounds lovely, my mum loves this, so will share with her, thanks for sharing...


  4. The amusing thing is that this kind of plentiful breakfast is often termed "American breakfast" in Europe -- in contradistinction to "continental breakfast", which consists mainly of coffee/tea with milk, and bread-and-butter, rusk or croissants with jam.

    1. I hadn't heard that term, but it is a great point. You have to go to Europe to get an American breakfast.


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