My wife and I travelled to Isfjord Radio for our honeymoon in early February as part of a custom trip put together for us by Basecamp Explorer (the company that also runs this hotel).
From our very first moment of arrival after two days of dog-sledding to the station the staff were really welcoming with warm drinks and a helping hand as we secured our dogs. Once inside we were then wonderfully surprised by the effort everyone had put in to our room, with the library and an adjoining room converted into our 'honeymoon suite' complete with candles everywhere, Bon Iver on the stereo, some fine chocolate, and a bottle of champagne waiting with a note that the sauna was also "ready for two". We couldn't have asked for anything more!
The hotel itself has been renovated superbly with all furnishings and finishing of the highest quality. Yes, there are common bathrooms but even these have been renovated thoughtfully, with plenty of space in the shower alcoves etc to do everything you need without standing in sight of others (if that bothers you...!). The downstairs loungeroom was very comfortable and a great place to unwind with our guides and another couple who were there with us at the early part of the season.
As mentioned by others, the food really is to an exceptional standard with many dishes the result of produce being collected or caught by local hunters and then prepared by a chef who clearly understands how to accentuate the unique flavours of animals and plants that will almost certainly be unique to many 'non-arctic' inhabitants. For each dinner there is the opportunity to match each course with wines, which we did on one night and found them to be very complementary. Breakfast is similarly very good with both hot and cold options to choose from.
We stayed at the station for 2 nights / 3 days before departing back to Longyearbyen and on our second day we did a ~50 km guided snowmobile ride down the southern coast. Even if you have snowmobiled to the station from the town this extra couple of hours to the south is well worth the time as the coast scenery is quite different from what you will have seen inland. And although we didn't manage to see any polar bears during our trip during this day-trip we did see plenty of arctic reindeer, some arctic fox tracks and also heard some ptarmigans as well.
Once back at the station we also achieved our 'arctic diploma' by taking a quick (reeeally quick!) swim in the bay. Don't be put off - this is absolutely a must do and you'll be buzzing for hours afterwards!!
So, overall, we thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our time at Isfjord Radio and have only the upmost thanks to our guides, the hotel staff, and the wonderful chef. We simply cannot recommend this wonderful hotel and part of the world highly enough!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated about 90 km west from Longyearbyen you can find our hotel Isfjord Radio. After a gratifying day of gliding over the glaciers, mountains, and frozen fjords by dogsled or snowmobile, or by an open boat safari across the Arctic Ocean, you’re home. This 1933 built solitude outpost for radio operators doesn’t look like much from the outside. As you enter, though, you’ll discover a different world. The contrast between the surrounding rough coastal landscape and the modern luxury hotel inside is a sight to behold. It is easy to forget where you are, but a quick dip in the Arctic Ocean will bring you back. Later in the evening, as you lay on your bed surrounded by the Arctic silence, you realize that it has been one of the best days of your life. Isfjord Radio is part of Basecamp Explorer Spitsbergen, which operates day trips and expeditions from Basecamp Hotel and Trapper’s Station to Nordenskiold Lodge and Isfjord Radio. ... more less