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Reviewed 23 February 2010

Really atmospheric , all wood and memorabilia from times past, bunk bed rooms, very warm, needs to be in January! staff really nice.

Stayed: January 2008, travelled with friends
Thank Malcolm S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2009

We stayed at the Polar Rigg for three nights before moving to the Radisson. I now think some of the previous reviews are suspect, to say the least.

The Rooms are a joke. 2m x 3,5m. The family room consisted of two raised beds with mattresses underneath on the floor. This for two adult and two children!

Breakfast is cold with limited choice. Bread and spread.

Polar Riggs Thai food is awful. The rude and unfriendly staff compounded the experience. Eat at Basecamp.

As I live in Norway, I feel it is my duty to write this review. Spend some more money and stay at the Radisson. I challenge you to find any unfriendly staff.

However, if you like spending $150 for Youth Hostel accommodation, Polar Riggs your perfect choice.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank RiverNorway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Polarriggen, Owner at Mary-Ann's Polarrigg, responded to this reviewResponded 26 November 2009

I’m sorry to hear that your stay with us at Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg didn’t live up to your expectations.

We have always considered the place to be a unique accommodation – something different form the other hotel standard that Longyearbyen offers. We have attempted to create a cozy and homey atmosphere that should be suitable for most people.

The rooms at the mining rig are suppose to be basic and they all have shared bathrooms facilities, this is to illustrate and let the guests experience how the mining workers lived and also to give guests a more economical alternative to the other hotel rates up here.

Polarriggen also have a Luxuryrig with hotel standard rooms, spacious and with private bathroom. Here are our family rooms. I’m sorry to hear that you got a family room at the mining rig , that must have been a mistake and I’ll be sure to let you know that we normally don’t give families these rooms – except from guest that wish to have them.

Breakfast is suppose to be served like a normal Norwegian breakfast; different bread, various toppings etc. and warm waffles. We also have either scrambled eggs, egg and bacon, porridge or omelets each day. Why you got limited choices I can’t understand, but am sorry to hear - this is not the way we want to be portrayed.

Kind regards,
Mary-Ann's Polarrigg

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2009

We spent five very enjoyable days at this lovely establishment. It's well positioned, within easy walk of the village (even in a blizzard!) and the lounge area is spacious and cosy. It's an interesting, quirky place to stay - with plenty of polar/mining history on show, and a very interesting display in the bar! Restaurant food was very good and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Breakfast was also good. The rooms are basic (as we expected) but clean, and the shared bathroom facilities are plentiful and were always clean. Mary-Ann was an accommodating hostess and we would definitely stay here if we return to Longyearbyen...as we'd love to do one day! Tariff is not cheap (950NOK or AUD$185 per night for basic room with shared facilities), but by Longyearbyen standards, it's very competitive. Would recommend this place to all!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank tel1361
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2009

My friend and I took a room each here in April 2008. This was primarily because all the other hotels were booked out and we had to "bridge" over 1 night - not that there was much "night" with 24 hour days happening at that time of the year.

The overall feeling I had in staying at the Polarigg was being time-warped back to my student days in a college dormitory. However, this was not a bad thing at all. Especially when the price is right.

Now to business:

1. Location - It is somewhat out of the way, located 20-30 minutes walk from the main town area. This is not a problem if you like walking. If you are not so mobile, the taxi is a good option and buses do stop near the Polarigg.

2. Reception - Rather casual. If you don't expect a bellhop and concierge then things go rather smoothly. The staff are friendly and helpful in the main.

3. Rooms - A comfortable bed in a small heated room. Clean, tidy, a bit worn but not shabby. Not much of view from my room (small gully sprouting pipes and a creek; migrating geese optional).

4. Amenities - The communal bathrooms are fine. No problems with the water temperature. Clean and tidy.

5. Common areas - This is where it gets more fun. There is a wealth of quirkiness and memorabilia in the hallways and common room. A stuffed polar bear, complete with boxing gloves, sticks halfway out of one room into the dining room. Russian maps and old mining bric-a-brac a strewn about. All very interesting. There is a pool table. The outdoor sauna was not in operation when I was there.

6. Breakfast table - Very self serve dormitory-like. I had no problem with it as the fare was palatable and filling.

7. Dining room - Has a bar at one end and is glass roofed. The menu was reasonably priced for Longyearbyen. The chef is Thai and does a convincing job of the menu. I cannot recall seeing any "local specialties" on the menu but was not particularly fussed. If you want the real deal whale/fish/moose/other endemic species on your plate then there are plenty of options in town.

Compared with the high end of town, the Polarigg is more spartan, but it is affordable and comfortable. I have no regrets staying here and would recommend it to anyone who has a sense of adventure and wants to experience this amazing artic area but is on a budget.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with friends
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1  Thank MossGatheringStones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2008

It is true that Mary-Ann's Polarrigg is somewhat charming, and that you might sense the polar history, but I am sure that it is not worth staying there.

First of all, Mary-Ann's Polarrigg tells you that "We make outstanding polar food in exciting combinations with seal, whale, goose, reindeer, fish and other delicious things that the Arctic wildlife of Svalbard offers." This is not true. The food is Thai. (http://www.polarriggen.com/english/restaurant.html).

The breakfast is a steal. It costs 95 NOK pr/person, and consists mainly of bread, boiled eggs, cheese, to types of jam, some meat and orange juice and coffee. That is basically it. No cups were available and no milk. On pointing this out to the staff, the staff said that we had to find our own cups. Well, if I pay 95 NOK for some bread, I do not want to run around searching for clean cups. The breakfast is extremely expensive and extremely bad.

The rooms are small, but OK, even though the room had not been dusted for a while. But, we stayed there for 4 days and three showers did not have warm water at all, during our stay.

The service is not good and the customer is not always right. The Polarrigg tried to charge us for more breakfast than we actually had. Pointing this out, there were all sorts of "problems" and in stead of being humble and apologetic, the staff blamed others for the mistake and the whole thing took about an hour to get sort of sorted.

The Polarrigg also charge the same price for a double room and a room with one bed and a madrass on the floor.

As an Norwegian I am ashamed that The Polarrigg destroys the North Norwegian hospitality that I know so well. If I ever go back to Longyearbyen, I will rather pay more and stay at Radisson SAS Hotel or Rica Hotel Longyearbyen. At least breakfast is included and the quality is much much better.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with friends
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4  Thank thobi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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