I really do not remember how I came to choose the Radisson Blu for my 2 night stay in Malmö. Location? Price? A brand I like?
Certainly the first two possibilities turned out well. The cost for 2 nights was SEK 1,760 (£141 or €166) including breakfast, and I was upgraded to a junior suite! The city centre location, close to the railway station, was ideal.
In the 1990s when I travelled a lot for work, it was always one of my favourites. In those days it was SAS, and part of the airline. Then it was Radisson SAS, and now Radisson Blu.
I remember stays in several of the SAS hotels in Copenhagen, plus the Royal Viking in Stockholm and one in Oslo.
Their London one was my first choice there, and an oasis of style in a city full of 3rd rate, overpriced hotels. The Brussels SAS was excellent too, but it had plenty competition. The Amsterdam SAS was a real favourite.
However, it was in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia where they really came into their own for me. I was reminded of this by a set of articles in the in-house magazine in my room in Malmö.
They invested in privatised state hotels very soon after the Communist walls came down.
The Astorija in Vilnius was one of their first. Having stayed there in 1993 when it was state run, I knew how much had to be changed – pretty much everything.
They now own the Lietuva in Vilnius too, which I have never stayed in. However my firm represented the government in its privatisation so it will always be special for me.
In Rīga, the Daugava was their first. I stayed there several times. The location just across the river from the city centre was ideal. The walk across the bridge was the perfect way to leave a day’s work behind.
I see they now own the Latvija too – the former Intourist high rise.
Their first hotel in Tallinn was one of my stopovers. I do not remember its name. It was a boozy trip. Thanks, Aivar.
I see they now own the Olümpia too – another former Intourist tower block, built for the Moscow Olympics. The yachting events were held in Tallinn. My stay in the Olümpia was much more sedate. I had 7 meetings in one day, so I had no time or energy left for getting into mischief.
Well guys, thanks for bringing back some memories as well as helping to create new ones.
(As a wee footnote, and declaration of interest, I worked in hotels quite a bit when I was a student and eventually reached the dizzy heights of being manager of a small beach motel in Westhampton Beach, Long Island. It has made me a very critical hotel guest! If I praise someplace, it is well earned. )
ⓒ iain taylor, 2020