Upscale hotels that provide a unique experience – Radisson Blu

Radisson Blu is one of the upscale brand of the Carlson family of hotels and one of my favorite places to stay in Europe. With a mix of stylish and classic properties in all the big cities, Radisson Blu offers some great experiences, far different from the lower Radisson brand more familiar in the USA.

So, who are they?

Radisson Blu is slated below the top-end Quorvus brand and above the regular Radisson brand of the Carlson Group. There are more than 280 Radisson Blu hotels in operation and another 100 under development, making for a quickly growing presence. While more than half of all Carlson properties are in the Americas, most of the more upscale Radisson Blu hotels are found in Europe and Asia.

In their own words, Radisson Blu creates iconic buildings with individual interiors invoking an inviting, exciting ambiance. Pioneering bold and innovative lobbies, guest rooms and public spaces with the latest technology and a range of highly individual solutions, Radisson Blu offers a guest experience that is truly unique in the world of hotels today.

That is one of the more meaningful descriptions I’ve found in hotel marketing materials. Radisson Blu do offer a mix of very modern, stylish properties or more classic properties, many of them a great fit for their location and a unique take on hospitality.

So, why should I care?

If you are traveling a lot in Europe, Radisson Blu makes for a great alternative to the more standard (hence, boring to me) American chains. Many of the hotels have a very unique style, often a perfect fit to their location. Some of the designs are leading edge and properties can feature eye-catching lobbies, like the giant aquarium at the Radisson Blu Berlin or the iconic exterior design of the Radisson Blu Frankfurt. Other properties are located in historic buildings, like the Le Dhokan’s Hotel in Paris (reviewed here). They can make for a great experience as part of your trip to Europe and certainly are different from the many bland upscale hotels you can find all over the world, where you can barely remember the next morning, where you are…

What else do I need to know?

The Carlson Group has grown through acquisition, leaving it with a hard to reconcile collection of brands in the different regions. Some of the Radisson Blu you might encounter in Europe are neither stylish nor classic – they are just ordinary. So, before booking one, make sure to check out the photos online and reviews on Tripadvisor to ensure you are getting the experience you are looking for. While you can pretty much blindly book a Marriott or Holiday Inn Express hotel anywhere in the world, Radisson Blu properties are more unique, with all its pros and cons.

Radisson Blu is part of the Club Carlson program (read more here), which is a great rewards program and allows you to earn points at over 1,000 hotels around the world and use them at great properties in some of the most expensive places on Earth!

Club Carlson is growing aggressively and I found their customer service very responsive to issues you encounter, even pro-active when issues do occur. Instead of just getting a cut & paste response, they went out of their way to make the situation right! That’s more than I can say about some of the larger chains! I recommend you reach out to customer service with your issues – chances are they can make it right for you, too!

You can find reviews of some of their properties here:

Radisson Blu Champs Elysees, Paris (coming soon)

Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris (coming soon)

Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire, London (coming soon)

Radisson Blu Waterfront, Cape Town (coming soon)

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