Tromso Bed & Books consists of two guest houses in Tromso a short walk from the main town, one called The Fisherman’s Home and the other is The Writer’s Home. We chose the latter of the two, which we chose due to its reasonable pricing and gorgeous interior. We felt that it seemed a interesting alternative to a hotel or lodge and liked the prospect of meeting some new people. I thought i’d write a little bit about our stay there and give you an idea of what it’s like to be a guest at The Writer’s Home. I wish i’d taken more photographs of the little details (and better ones!) but I was so busy having a lovely time I forgot to capture some of the things I loved about the house, so I’ll just have talk about them instead.
This guest house in Tromso is quite definitely, the BEST place I have ever ever stayed. A real home away from home, it was a bit of a house-share type scenario, where you had your own room in a five bedroom house with shared kitchen, bathrooms and living spaces. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it left me feeling like I never want to stay in a soulless lonely hotel ever again. I get that some people wouldn’t like the idea of sharing a home with strangers and maybe it’s not always appropriate for families but honestly, that was the best bit and it really made our holiday all the more special.
The words homely, stylish and welcoming are all words that you could easily over use. It was just so lovely! I’ve got to thank Ida, who looked after us during our stay for the welcoming bit – A beautiful, friendly girl who made sure our stay was perfect. She cooked soup for everyone one night during our stay and invited us to a soup party along with some locals and guests from the other guest home. Whilst we’d already booked ourselves on a trip and missed out on all the fun, I thought it was the nicest idea ever and was disappointed to miss it, but I tried the soup later when we got home which she left for us and it was great. Where else do you stay and get invited to a homemade soup party?
When I said this was a review, it’s probably more of a unashamed gush about how much I love everything and everyone I met there, this isn’t really going to be a ‘proper’ review but I guess I should provide some important details incase anyone is reading this who will be staying in Tromso and needs to work out whether the Writer’s Home is the place for them. I hope so far I’ve given you a good idea of the general good vibes this place has but if my above love letter isn’t enough to convince you and then here’s the important stuff to know:
The Writer’s Home is cheap, by Tromso standards anyway. It cost us a total of around £580 or 5700NOK for a 7 night stay in March and this price included bed linens and towels which you can opt out of, but to be honest for what it will save you there is not much point. For this price you get a stylish bedroom (with super soft comfy beds) which is warm and homely with ample bedroom furniture. There were two shower rooms with a toilet and sink which was brand new and beautiful, no bathtub, but I had the best showers of my life in the magical wonder shower. The water in this place must be enchanted because it made my hair feel conditioned without conditioner (AMAY-Zing) There are also two living areas, one with a television and a mixture of DVD’s in english and Norwegian, a dining room and kitchen. Even though this place can sleep 10+ people, there is so much space, we never felt crowded or in anyone’s way.
The kitchen is fully stocked with everything you’d have at home, in the way of cookware, utensils, cutlery, glassware, mugs, tea, coffee, fridge freezer. You have your own labelled cupboard and fridge shelf for your food if you wish to eat in, which in regards to the cost of eating out in Tromso, I’d recommend you take advantage of occasionally.
There were things like pepper, salt, butter etc.. in the house at the time we were there, left behind by past occupants on a shelf labelled ‘for everyone’ which was handy if your stay wasn’t for that long, as it meant you didn’t need to buy these stock cupboard items. We ourselves ended up leaving some biscuits, chocolate and beer for the lucky guests after us! The bathrooms also had a similar system for things like unwanted toothpaste and shampoo, again, super handy if you forgot something.
You have a key for your room and all you have to do when you check out is leave it in a post box outside, the whole process of checking in and out was really easy. You did have to pre-arrange your rough check in time with Ina beforehand and she was there waiting for us to arrive. The house also had lots of tourist information, important phone numbers and recommended sights, restaurants and bars scattered around which came in useful.
The home’s main attraction has to be the decor. It is damn stylish, with lots of quirky things to discover. Many walls and doors were blackboards, where you couple write whimsical messages and musings and it was really fun to read what previous visitors had left. The library room had a cool vintage typewriter you could use and loads of books in several languages to choose from if you fancied some quiet time.
We met some amazing people in the house, it was a shame that people were coming and going the whole time we were there, but did keep it interesting. The prospect of meeting someone new everyday was quite exciting, but it was a shame when you eventually had to say goodbye to people that you really connected with. I’ve got give a special mention to a few individuals we met.
Firstly there was Patrick, a South African man with a serious penchant for expensive camera gear – which I enjoyed chatting to him about. He was a really interesting person and we really enjoyed chatting to him one evening in the library room about anything and everything.
Then there were a group of French men, who were very friendly despite accidentally drinking the wine I left in the communal fridge which was partly my fault for putting it on the shelf labelled ‘for everyone’. (Our shelf was the top shelf in the fridge and I was worried about a bottle of wine falling on someone’s head, my bad). But anyway, boy do the French know how to cook, they produced a lot of good food smells for the days they were in the house and were generally really nice to chat to.
There was also a lovely couple from London who were longing as much as us to see the Northern Lights and were worrying about the bad weather. We spent a night chatting with the French guys in the dining room before they left the day after.
Next came the wonderful Carolina from Brazil, a lone traveller in her 40’s with the heart and energy of a 18 year old and a spiritual goddess, so full of life and fun, she was just lovely to be around, I was always amazed at her walking around in summery clothing like she hadn’t realised it was snowing outside!
Then there was Rune, a Norwegian man who was married with children and had come to Tromso to study. I really warmed to Rune, he was very quiet and kept himself to himself but when Carolina offered him chocolate one evening he chatted with us for hours. He had a lot of knowledge of Norway to share and some exciting stories of sleeping on mountains in a divvy bag and showed me photographs of his giant dogs!
Last but definitely not least, there were the loveliest people ever, Michael and Nina from Amsterdam who we really clicked with in the last day or two of the trip. We had such a good time with them eating and drinking one night, sharing music and stories. I really feel like we made some friends, who one day we may see again. We swapped contact details on our last morning and I hope that whenever they come to England, that they’ll stay with us.
It’s these little meetings with strangers that made our trip a much richer experience. We’d never have got that in a hotel and the ‘what if’ thought of us choosing a hotel over the Writers Home and returning back to a small empty hotel room every night actually sends a little shudder through me.