“ A discount card offering cheaper rates for hotels, cottages, appartments etc in Norway. „
As you will have seen from previous reviews, we visited the beautiful country of Norway during summer 2008. Rather than see the country on one of the many cruise ships that sail in and out of the fjords, we opted to hire a car and tour it ourselves, with the help of a trusty map, guidebook and quite a bit of research before hand via the internet. Whilst finding out more about Norway on the internet, prior to our visit, I came across the website for the 'fjord pass' - www.fjordpass.com. The fjord pass advertises itself as 'Norway's biggest hotel pass' is in fact a discount card that can used to reduce the price of a room at 170 selected hotels, pensions, guesthouses or even cabins in Norway. Now, anyone who knows anything about Norway, will know it is eye wateringly expensive, and that includes accommodation. You could easily spend up to a £90 a night for accommodation that is akin to a hostel- as is what happened us in Flam. Therefore, anything that was going to reduce accommodation costs on our holiday was always going to be of interest. The fjord pass itself costs 120Nk (approx £12) and lasts until the end of the year (31st December) that it was purchased in. One big plus of this card is that a single pass covers 2 adults, and an unlimited amount of children under the age of 15. There is also no booking charge when booking a hotel through the fjord pass website, and the rate that you are quoted, if you stay in a hotel, will include breakfast (this is pretty standard in Norwegian hotels anyhow). However, breakfast is not generally included if you are booking to stay in an apartment/cottage. The fjord pass website also quotes hotel prices as starting from 350 Nk per person for a double room, by using this pass, and cottages/apartments, starting at 435Nk. There are several ways to purchase a fjord pass, the simplest of which is online through their website, paying by mastercard or visa. However, you can also purchase a pass through your local travel agent, or even at some locations across Norway. We purchased ours through the website, and we were given an 'electronic card' with our customer number, and told to bring this to the hotel check in (however we were only ever asked to prove our purchase in one hotel) The whole process was very straightforward, to the point that I was worried it was to good to be true. Anyhow, when you have received your fjord pass you can then use it to book rates at a reduced cost ( usually around £10 cheaper or 100Nk). You can book a room using your fjord pass in one of three ways: - Through the fjordpass.com website, where you can select the hotel and your travel dates. -By contacting fjord pass booking office by telephone or e mail (the contact numbers and addresses for this will accompany your pass) -By contacting the hotel directly (stating that you are a fjord pass holder). Now, I can only comment on the first and last method shown. The majority of the hotels that I booked through fjord pass was conducted through their website, without any problem. Sometimes, the hotel itself had to confirm before it all went through, but even this was very quick. The only problem that I encountered when using fjord pass was when I booked directly through a hotel that offered discount to fjord pass holders. Now, I have to state that the fault was entirely with the hotel, and not with fjord pass, but it is worth remembering. I contacted the hotel directly rather than through fjord pass, simply because I wanted to ask about car parking. I phoned the hotel, and asked for a room rate, telling them that I was a fjord pass holder. I was told that there were no fjord pass rooms left at the hotel, but they could offer me a room at the full rate. I declined this, went on to the fjord pass website, and booked through them, and was able to get the room at the discounted rate without any ado. If there hadn't been so few accommodation choices in the town, I wouldn't have went anywhere near them, but my choices were extremely limited, leaving little option. So be very wary of booking directly through a hotel- it is probably a better bet to book through the fjord pass website. All in all, I was able to use my fjord pass to get a reduced rate at 6 hotels in the course of our holiday, which more than paid for the price of the discount card. It is worth noting however, that if you are simply visiting Norway on a short break, you need to weigh up whether buying a fjord pass will actually save you money overall. If you are going for a longer duration like us, then it will most likely save you money- not a fortune, but some (every little helps!) It must also be said, that there are many hotels that cannot be booked with a fjord pass, like the Clarion hotels that we stayed at, and in some cases, it is important to do your homework beforehand, and make sure the accommodation is half decent. I always check trip advisor. Fjord pass offer the discounts, but it doesn't guarantee wonderful hotels, and you need to be careful. To conclude, if you going to norway for at least a week if not more, and travelling around, it is definitely worth considering purchasing a fjord pass, particularly if you are trying to keep to a budget, which is extremely difficult in Norway. We found you were saving at least £10, if not more, per room by using a fjord pass, which worked out good value for us, but do check out the hotel accomodation before booking, and I would advise that you book through fjord pass to ensure you actually receive your discount.