On the quay, set against a backdrop of mountains and sea, stands Clarion Hotel The Edge – Tromsø’s proud living room. Guests have been smiling their way through the lobby for 18 months now. Here’s a story from the big day back in 2014.
It is Sunday morning in Tromsø. A cold, moist wind sweeps over the quay. The sea is covered in a blanket of fog, and a small fishing boat gradually emerges in the distance. The red and brown vessel ties up just as graciously as a smoothly executed parallel parking manoeuvre; the captain steps ashore and heads towards the Nærvesen kiosk on the corner. He explains that he is fishing for anglerfish and turbot. And cod, he adds, pointing down into the blue water. A few moments later, he has piloted his fine little boat out into the fog once more.
Clarion Hotel The Edge is housed in the old building that was previously home to Pellerin – Tromsø’s former margarine factory. In recent weeks, it has been the site of hectic activity 24/7, with the staff getting everything ready to welcome the 60 or so who have booked rooms for the hotel’s opening night. Moreover, the hotel’s Kitchen & Table Restaurant is almost fully booked as well, and both bar and lobby are sure to be packed to the rafters with local Tromsø residents who have been waiting a long time for their city’s new hotel to open.
“It’s wonderful! Of course we’ve booked a table for the grand opening. I’m so proud that a hotel like this has come to Tromsø. I walk past here twice a day, so I’ve been following the work closely,” relates an elderly passer-by.
We spend a few seconds admiring the hotel before she continues on her way. During the time I spend in the city centre, I meet a lot of people who feel the same way as her. They point and smile …
You, too, can book a rare hotel experience in Tromsø
Inside the hotel, Øyvind Alapnes, the hotel manager, extends a warm welcome. He escorts me and the photographer up to the twelfth floor, and over to the window section that the elderly lady on the quay pointed out.
“This is our presidential suite,” he explains, showing us into the triangular function section of the suite.
We have barely stepped through the door before something strange happens. Before our very eyes, outside the expansive window section, a sun-kissed fantasy landscape appears from out of the fog, and we are suddenly surrounded by tall mountains, low mountains, rugged mountains and gentle mountains. And sea. Mountains and sea as far as the eye can see. It is a magnificent sight, a veritable piece of theatre which, in the moment, steals all attention away from the discreetly furnished rooms. We almost press our noses against the large windows to swallow the entire view with our eyes – but it is no use, there is simply far too much to look at.
Øyvind and his staff have made a conscious decision: They want to create the most popular restaurant, the most inviting night club and the best bar in the city. The kitchen was actually the first section of the hotel that was completed. The mantra of the staff in this department is ‘fun dining’, and the concept behind Clarion’s Kitchen & Table restaurant is a locally anchored menu. The kitchen serves courses prepared using ingredients drawn from the sea, farms and mountains in the immediate vicinity. How about split, salted and dried cod, perfectly fried and served with mayonnaise and watercress? This may well be the taste of Tromsø.
In the restaurant section, the kitchen is open on all sides, so guests can watch the staff preparing their meals. We are on the second floor, looking out over the lobby. The red Finn Juhl furniture groups have been positioned in the corner directly below us. The bar will soon be ready to open its doors. The bartender is keen to get going.
In the lobby, a proud hotel manager is almost quivering in anticipation.
“I want people to view the entire lobby as a club on some evenings, and I want the Clarion Living Room concept to permeate all areas of it,” relates Øyvind.
The lobby ceiling is sparkling, and almost all the fittings and furnishings are in place. It is late, but the light outside refuses to let go, and it is not long until Tromsø will be bathed in the warm glow of the midnight sun.
Photo: Bobo Olsson
The midnight sun at its impressive best – book your summer holiday today
Final assembly: A meeting for all the staff on site is suddenly announced. A hush falls over the lobby. It is perhaps the last time that the lobby will be this quiet at this particular time of day … Clarion Hotel The Edge is ready and waiting to become Tromsø’s new meeting place, the city’s new living room.
Clarion Hotel The Edge
- 12 floors.
- 290 rooms and suites.
- 10 meeting rooms, one on the top floor of the hotel.
- 1 congress centre covering 1,000 m2.
- 1 conference hall with room for up to 1,000 delegates.
For concerts, the hall capacity increases to 1,500 people.
- Kitchen & Table Restaurant, bar, coffee lounge and Clarion Living Room.
- The hotel has been rated environmental class 1.
- The hotel was designed by architects from Niels Torp Arkitekter, Oslo.
- Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Copenhagen, took care of the interior design.
Tips: Restaurants in Tromsø
**The best sushi in town, prepared using only the freshest local ingredients.
Where: Skippergata 16
**King crab features on the menu, but the best bet is to try the ‘Catch of the day’.
Where: Killengrens Gate
**A restaurant steeped in tradition, serving classic North Norway seafood, which has always been – and remains – extremely popular among Arctic seafarers.
Where: Strandtorget 1
Tips: Bars in Tromsø
**One of the smallest bars in the city – but still with its own rock stage. Open jam sessions for all on Tuesdays.
Where: Strandgata 22
**Speak-easy bar with a full range of local Mack beers. One of the most popular bars in the city.
Where: Storgata 73
**A bar for all football fans. The regulars here still have fond memories of the ‘Tromsø miracle’ from 1997, when Tromsø IL beat the mighty Chelsea 3-2 in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Where: Strandgata 33
Other Tromsø tips
**The oldest pub in Tromsø, which also sells a complete range of beers from the local Mack brewery.
Where: Storgata 4
**The cable lift whisks you up to an elevation of 421 metres above sea level in just four minutes. On clear days, the view will take your breath away. On other days, we recommend a visit to the Fjellstua Restaurant.
**The polar vessel M/S Polstjerna was built in 1949. It was used for seal hunting for many years, but is perhaps best known for completing a range of Arctic expeditions. Today, it is a cultural landmark in its own glass house next to the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Where: Hjalmar Johansens gate 12
**The Norwegian Polar Institute
**This is where 350 experts are busily engaged in researching the Arctic and polar regions. Watch the institute’s thought-provoking films about how the North Pole is faring at present. See the fish and seals that live in the sea off Tromsø right up close.