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Hotel Review: Moxy Bergen

Real talk, here: We didn’t choose the Moxy Bergen because of its location or reviews or cute decor.

We chose it because Mom had enough Bonvoy points to get two rooms free for two nights. If we didn’t have a free room, I would choose a hotel closer to historic Bryggen or to the cruise ship terminals, or ideally both, for the Bergen stage of our multi-generational Iceland-Norway trip. The distance was compounded by the fact that the train connecting the hotel to Bryggen was down, forcing us to take the bus back and forth.

That said, the bus wasn’t terribly inconvenient, and the Moxy Bergen was a pretty nice place to stay.

Planning and arrival

We were a party of five, looking for one room for two (for my parents) and one room for three (for Erik, 14-year-old Toth and me). When we booked our rooms with points through the Bonvoy web site, there was no option for a three-person room. In the US, most hotel rooms can fit three people easily and hotels don’t really pay attention to how many people show up. But I knew from experience that this is different in Europe, so I stayed up late until the hotel would be open in Norway, and I called.

A nice staff member told me not to worry; I could just let them know upon checkin that we had a third person, then pay about $13 to have a rollaway bed brought in.

It was a an easy, one-train trip from the airport to the Florida Skyss stop. When we disembarked, we had to walk about a block across the bridge that separates the neighborhood around the hotel from the rest of Bergen. The area immediately around the hotel — though attractive with a nice harbor — is full of large buildings with only one restaurant and no close grocery stores. It didn’t feel lively like downtown or Bryggen, it felt more empty and corporate.

However, the hotel itself has great atmosphere. The lobby and bar are one big room, decorated with whimsical fishing-and-beach decor. You check in at the bar, with the same team of employees making drinks, checking people in, etc.

We arrived around 4 p.m., and informed the staff that we needed to be able to sleep three people in the room we’d reserved. The staff (nicely) explained that this was not possible because there wasn’t enough space. I pointed out that I’d been told on the phone it would be no problem, and they said the person who had taken my call apparently didn’t know the specific rules. However, they promised to find a solution for us. My parents went ahead and checked in and headed up to their room to settle in. The staff suggested we have a drink and to check back in about 20 minutes. That’s exactly what we did.

The bar has some wicker swings, which I loved for kicking back and relaxing. I asked for a Dark and Stormy, which was listed on the chalkboard. The young blond woman working there asked if I knew how to make it. I didn’t, so I asked her, “What do you know how to make?” Because I didn’t want to create any extra work. But he called over a handsome young guy who made it for me, and helped Toth pick out a yummy fruity nonalcoholic drink as well. I don’t remember what Erik had, probably a gin and tonic. The drinks were served in beautiful cut glass glasses. Aftr a tiring travel day, it was pleasant to gaze out at the harbor and sip.

Our room

After half an hour, I checked back, and they said they had a room for us. I thought it would have been nice if they’d found us in the bar to let us know — it wasn’t a huge or crowded place. But anyway, the room they gave us was great. It was a wheelchair access room with tons of extra space, and they’d made up a folding couch for Toth. (My parents complained that their twin room was too small with not enough space for their things.)

Our view included a roadway but also a lovely mountain, hunkered under glowering clouds. Instead of a closet, there was a mesh of wires hanging on one wall, with hangers. It worked OK for our short stay.

The room temperature was comfortable, and we never heard any loud noise at night. So we were perfectly comfortable both nights.

Service

Besides check in, we had a few more chances to interact with the staff.

The first interaction was decidedly mixed. The first night, a Friday, we wanted to get dinner and since it was pouring rain, we wanted to stay close. We went down to the front desk to ask for advice and while the employee working was friendly, she didn’t exactly put hereslf out to be helpful the way I might have expected in the United States. For instance, when we asked if we would need a reservation to eat at the restaurant across the way, she suggested we call, but didn’t offer to make the call for us, even though she probably realized that a lot of international visitors don’t have the ability to make calls on their cell phones. Then, after I ran through the rain to determine that that restaurant was full (sure, I could have asked her to call for us, but I didn’t), I asked if there were any other options nearby. She mentioned another restaurant on the other side of the building but didn’t seem to know much about it. The odd thing is, she didn’t mention that the Moxy Bar serves food! Maybe she assumed we were aware of that, but we weren’t. It would have been a lot easier, given the rain and travel fatigue, for us to just eat there, but we didn’t have that information.

The second interaction was positive: When we returned to our room after a day of touring on Saturday, I discovered to my disappointment that our room had not been made up. Turns out, Erik had noticed the “Do Not Disturb” sign that I had tossed aside as we exited the room that morning, and he picked it up and put it on the doorknob. Why?? Never in 25 years of marriage have I expressed a desire to skip housekeeping. At any rate, I went down to the desk (there was no in-room phone to call them) and asked if it was still possible at this late our to have our room made up. They called the housekeeper over and she said she could clean it now. We left the room for the bar, enjoyed the compay of the same friendly bartender as last night, and returned half an hour later to a perfect room.

We ended up eating a snacky dinner that night of food we bought at a grocery store (Erik found a Kiwi store about 10 minutes’ walk away), at a table in the bar. Although — as we by now knew — they do serve food in the bar, the staff didn’t give us any trouble about bringing in our own food.

Departure

The night before departure, we requested and were granted a late checkout — I think they let us stay until noon. I was out on a walk most of hte morning, and when I returned at about 11:45 a.m., Erik and Toth had already brought their things down to the lobby. I ran up to get my own stuff, but unfortunately, my key card had already been deactivated. Again, the staff was friendly and helpful, giving Toth a new key to bring up to me.

My parents got the breakfast buffet, which was pricey but, they said, delicious, with lots of options.

Instead of a luggage storage room, the Moxy Bergen has free luggage lockers. We were able to fit all our suitcases in them, even the one that was larger than carryon size.

Overall

While I wouldn’t choose the Moxy for a future Bergen visit due to its location, I found the atmosphere, the rooms and the bar perfectly pleasant. If I was there on business, I’d be happy to stay there.

More on our multigenerational trip to Iceland and Norway:

Day 5: Traveling from Reykjavik to Bergen

Day 4: The Golden Circle

Day 3: Reykjavik in a Day

Day 2: Arriving in Reykjavik

Day 1: Departing for Iceland

The Blue Lagoon

The Iceland Phallological Museum

Reykjavik Airbnb Review

Lebowski Bar

Thingvellir National Park

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