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“Funky, and excellent value for money”

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Mary-Ann's Polarrigg
Reviewed 17 July 2010

Norway is an expensive country, and Svalbard, stuck out in the middle of the Arctic Ocedan, literally halfway to the North Pole, is obviously no exception. However, nobody would go there by accident, so it’s worth comparing the places providing accommodation, and choosing one that fits your budget and is suitable for the type of trip you are making (whether for tourism, science, business, expedition…). Polarrigg is, by Svalbard standards, cheap and excellent value for money. The rooms are small and basic, though adequately heated, and as comfortable as most people would need. Bathrooms are shared, but are sufficient for the number of guests, and provide privacy. Curtains are fine, though you will not have total blackout, possibly an issue for some who might find it hard to adjust to the 24-hour sunshine in summer. The large guest lounge is lovely and very comfortable: full of books, videos and curiosities, a great place to linger over a bottle of wine with friends, meet fellow travelers, or just read and write. A small kitchen is available for guest use, for a nominal extra fee. Although you might end up having to wait your turn to use it, it’s worth paying the extra just to be able to keep stuff in the fridge and make up picnics. The hotel provides a substantial and varied breakfast: as a vegetarian I was well catered for. Polarrigg is in a funky building – formerly a miners’ hostel, with old photographs and relics from that era left in place to give it genuine character (along with the stuffed polar bear). Attached to the rear of the building is the Winter Garden, which provides a tropically balmy setting for the restaurant on sunny evenings, despite the vista of snow-streaked mountains and the local ‘pet’ Arctic fox scavenging for food outside. Winter Garden has two menus, Norwegian and Thai, and the latter includes a thoughtful separate section for vegetarians. The portions are dainty rather than hearty, but the food is prepared with love, and is not outrageously priced. It is a great place to relax over dinner, or even just a few beers, after a strenuous day hiking or out on the water. There is also a Thai spa, although the hot tub is available only for groups. The friendly attitude of Mary-Ann and her helpful staff make this place feel very homey after a few days: they will eagerly assist you with bookings for trips and activities

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled solo
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2  Thank PeasmoldWW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (131)
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77 - 81 of 131 reviews

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 Graham 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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3  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
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Additional Information about Mary-Ann's Polarrigg

Address: Skjaeringa | Postboks 17, Longyearbyen 9171, Norway
Phone Number:
Region: Norway > Svalbard > Spitsbergen > Longyearbyen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Speciality Lodging in Longyearbyen
Price Range: ₹ 7,947 - ₹ 12,701 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Mary-Ann's Polarrigg 2.5*
Number of rooms: 41
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come join us up north at Mary-Ann`s Polarrigg, a somewhat different Hotel/Rig in Longyearbyen. Here at Mary-Ann`s we have a relaxed and homey environment that will suite everybody.Stay as the miners did back in the days in our authentic Miners Rig, or if you prefer Hotel standard you can try our Luxury Rig instead.In the day time we can assist in booking of trips from our local tour operators or if you just want a day of relaxation in our onsite spa that is also possible. For groups we can also offer a fully equipped conference room.In the evening you can try food from our delicious menu in our Vinterhagen Restaurant where we serve both Thai food and traditional Norwegian and Arctic food.Come join us for an experience of a lifetime here at Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mary-Ann`s Polarrigg Hotel Longyearbyen
Mary-Ann's Polarrigg Longyearbyen, Svalbard - Spitsbergen

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