Review of Quality Hotel Grand Kristianstad, Sweden
The Quality Hotel Grand Kristianstad is in a fantastic location, on an attractive, tree-lined street just a few minutes' walk from the city centre and train station.
We stayed in a family room, which was spacious and pleasantly decorated with wood floors, pale green walls and grey furnishings. The room contained a comfortable seating area and several different lighting fixtures – a desk lamp, a floor lamp, and bedside lamps – for creating soothing pools of light.
The beds were extremely comfortable, and the large white-tiled bathroom featured a spacious sink area – offering plenty of room for all the family's toiletries – and a big walk-in shower. We were also provided with fluffy white bathrobes – a luxurious touch.
Eco-friendly features in the room included large refillable for hand soap, body soap and shampoo, and a divided bin for recycling. There were also larger recycling points in the reception area for plastic, glass, cardboard and paper.
In our room we found a lovely little book outlining the hotel's eco policies. It was also packed with tips for eco-friendly living once guests get home – a great idea for spreading the message about green lifestyles and environmental issues.
These tips included reducing consumption of red meat, not leaving your phone plugged into the charger when it's fully charged, and saving water by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth.
The Quality Hotel Grand encourages guests to reuse their towels. This prolongs the life of the towels, as well as saving the hotel effort and energy when washing linen.
Guests are also encouraged to refill water bottles from the tap. Scandinavian tap water is clean and safe everywhere, so single-use plastic bottles of mineral water are really not necessary in this part of the world.
Breakfast at the hotel was excellent, with a range of choices including eggs, salads, and fresh fruit. The selection of sweet treats and pastries was superb: croissants, waffles and pancakes were on offer, with lots of different jams to choose from. All of the jams – as well as pickles and chutneys to accompany cold meats and cheeses – were served from large bottles and jars. This is a more environmentally friendly alternative to the small, single-use plastic pots of jams and sauces that are often served in hotels.
All food served at the hotel is ethically sourced. With help from World Wide Fund for Nature, and Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance, a 'Red List' of foods has been created. This list includes any product that contributes to animal cruelty, endangerment of species, or practices that are harmful to the environment – and no Red List foods are served at the hotel.
Much of the food that is on offer is organic, including the eggs, coffee, fruit and vegetables. The hotel is also working hard to reduce food waste.
Quality Hotel Grand Kristianstad is part of the Nordic Choice hotel chain. Nordic Choice works to reduce energy consumption, including installing lights that switch off automatically when guests leave a room. The hotel chain is also reducing use of chemicals when cleaning – chemical consumption has already been cut in half.
The hotel participates in the Sweet Dreams programme, working with UNICEF to help children who are victims of human trafficking. When guests opt out of housekeeping during their stay, the hotel donates to the Sweet Dreams project to help provide vulnerable children with a safe place to sleep.
Alongside the Hotel Grand's superb eco credentials, we really loved the location. It's only a few minutes' walk from the centre of Kristianstad, where wide streets and squares are lined with handsome buildings. There are lots of shops, a supermarket, and plenty of restaurants and cafes.
Also nearby is Tivoli Park – a pleasant place for a stroll, with its riverside walkways and community garden, Hälsoträdgården.
Hälsoträdgården is divided into a series of different areas. There's a sensory garden, a rose garden, and a children's garden with natural willow structures to play in.
There's also a wonderful kitchen garden, where vegetables are grown using organic fertilisers, and without the use of pesticides. Bees and chickens are kept here too, and it's a fantastic space for pollinators, with lots of colourful, nectar-rich flowers.
One of the key visitor attractions in Kristianstad – and just a five-minute walk from Quality Hotel Grand – is the architecturally stunning Naturum Vattenriket visitor centre. This is the visitors' centre for the vast Vattenrike nature reserve that borders the town, and a good place to start if you want to explore the way-marked trails around the reserve.
The Vattenrike was designated a “biosphere area” in 2005 and is the oldest biosphere area in Sweden.
Inside the Naturum building is a big, interactive exhibition with panoramic windows looking out across the reserve and to the city. There's also a restaurant and rooftop terrace. A short boardwalk trail leads to a bird hide – otters are often seen here.
The Linnérundan trail starts from Naturem and is a 6km circuit that winds through wetland, farmland and seasonally flooded grassland, crossing little bridges and following raised wooden boardwalks over ponds and streams and through woodland.
There's lots of wildlife to look out for along the way, including kingfishers, goshawks and woodpeckers. Curlew, lapwing and black-tailed godwit can be spotted in the wetland areas, and when we walked the trail we saw a red kite – and lots of geese! There's an observation tower, and bird hides at strategic points along the trail, each with information boards highlighting some of the species you might see.
About halfway along the trail, we came to the ruins of the Lillö Castle – perched on a little island within a moat, and accessed over a short bridge. A castle has been standing here since the 1300s.
Returning back to Kristianstad, the trail passes right in front of the entrance of the Hotel Grand. It was great not to have to use the car at all during our stay – and if you want a break that combines easy access to nature with all the conveniences of a large, attractive town, the Quality Hotel Grand in Kristianstad is an excellent choice.