For months I had a room reserved at the Radisson Blu Longyearbyen Hotel for about $270/night after taxes. But in the end, I cancelled it and went with an Airbnb rental.
One, Lucky decided to book his trip to Longyearbyen months after I booked mine and concluded his trip about a month before mine. Not that all of my readers read his blog, but it just seemed redundant to pay $270 for a mediocre hotel when Lucky already had a great review posted. So indeed, it was an issue of money and of practicality.
There are no other chain hotels in Longyearbyen, so I opted to go with an Airbnb property. My property itself is no longer even listed on the Airbnb site. But I do notice that dozens of properties have been added since my stay last summer.
Here’s why I recommend Airbnb in Longyearbyen:
1. It’s a chance to meet a local
I know that sounds cliché, but we really enjoyed rich conversations with our host named Kai. We learned a lot about the local culture and it was just interesting to have conversation with someone who had spent the last 20 years in Longyearbyen.
2. It’s cheap and comfortable
Kai was waiting for us at the airport (and would have dropped us off on our way out had he not been working). We paid $70 night after taxes/fees for what you’ll see below was a very small bedroom, but a very cozy apartment with great views. We shared the apartment with Kai and his dog: he took one bedroom, we took the other.
Looking at the listings available now reveals several whole/private apartments for half the price of the Radisson.
What about meals? There is a great coffee shop in town (and you can walk from wherever you are staying in town) as well as a fully-stocked grocery store. While I love hotel buffets, I loved having a cappuccino and fresh (imported) berries in a café full of locals.
Here are some pictures from my apartment–
Check out Airbnb when you visit Longyearbyen. Options are plentiful and my experience was positive.