Note: This post is in no way sponsored by Smart Hotel. I just wanted to share our excellent Smart Hotel experience with other budget-conscious travelers. I hope you enjoy this post!
Norway isn’t a cheap country to travel in, so my husband and I wanted to find a clean, no-frills hotel to use on our Northern Lights trip to Tromso. What we found was a totally new and different model for the hotel industry: the Smart Hotel.
Staying at the Smart Hotel in Tromso, Norway was one of the best decisions we made for our trip. The location was great, allowing us to walk anywhere we needed to go in Tromso. The breakfast buffet was killer, too. It was one of the nicest continental breakfast buffets I’ve ever seen in a hotel — and it was included in the price!
Everything You Need, and Nothing You Don’t
The rooms were teensy-tiny little things. Our room had a full-sized bed (or the European equivalent), a pack & play for Small Shaw, a very small table (1′ x 2′, maybe) and two metal chairs. There was so little floor space remaining that we had to put our luggage in the bathroom!
But that’s the whole idea of the Smart Hotel: Exactly what you need, and nothing you don’t. You pay for an impeccable room with a comfortable bed, clean towels, complimentary shampoo and soap, a wonderful breakfast, coffee all day, and WiFi through the hotel.
You don’t pay for fancy decor, a newspaper outside your door in the morning that you’ll never read, a bathrobe that you probably won’t use, or decorator pillows you just have to toss on the floor when you get into bed at night.
Hip, Loft-Like Aesthetic
In case this post has you imagining the Smart Hotel as some sort of glorified dorm room or youth hostel, check out the #SmartHotel hashtag on Instagram. Travelers all over share pictures of the Smart Hotel there, giving you a much better idea what the overall Smart Hotel aesthetic is like.
Personally, I loved it. The Smart Hotel in Tromso felt hip, European, and modern. The unfinished concrete walls with graffiti-style text saying things like “Your Are Smart” made me feel like I was in an artist’s loft in New York or Berlin, and thinking about the breakfast spread still makes my tummy rumble in happy hunger.
A Killer Brand Experience
The Smart Hotel’s brand experience was dead-on; I actually felt smarter for staying there. Over and over again, I caught myself thinking about how smart the Smart Hotel business model is. I felt smug when I saw travelers walking out of older, fancier hotel chains. And the exact word “smart” is the one that ran through my mind so many times during our weeklong stay in Hotel.
I can’t tell you whether it was Hampton or a Holiday Inn that we stayed at in Pennsylvania a few years back, and I certainly can’t tell you the name of the hotel we used in Innsbruck in March without looking it up again. But I won’t forget our stay at the Smart Hotel — or the name “Smart Hotel” — anytime soon.
The essence of a great brand, regardless of category, is clear distinction from competitors and a customer experience that exactly matches (or one-ups) the brand’s marketing messages. Staying at the Smart Hotel in Tromso, Norway, was a reminder that great, innovative brands are out there in travel and tourism.
Have you had a killer brand experience in your recent travels? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!