Business in Bergen
At Unicorn, we love pitching conference or incentive destinations for clients. Often a similar set of locations will come out on top time and time again. Exclusive villas in Ibiza, the sandpit of Abu Dhabi, or beautiful venues in Lisbon.
But would you ever consider Bergen, Norway?
To be honest, we hadn’t either, until we visited the city with C&IT and Visit Bergen.
We spent 48 hours in the city with our wonderful hosts and compiled the highlights to share our experience with you.
Norway may seem unusual in the fact that it does not officially offer a rating system on hotels - but don’t let this deter you. In our opinion (and we see a lot of hotels!) the hotels do rate themselves fairly against the traditional star system online/with booking agents. But of course, we’d suggest checking booking sites with peer reviews to help you to get a genuine feel for how the hotel will match up to your expectations.
We saw a variety of hotels that we would class as 3, 4 and 5 stars - and can happily confirm there is a wide choice of properties in Bergen! We know some guests need a fairly modest base from which to explore, while other C-suite delegates need something a bit more lavish. This city has it all. Our top pick? The meticulously designed Hotel Norge by Scandic. Think: The Ned, but with a Scandi twist and an extra touch of hygge (ideal)!
We were surprised to learn the biggest space in the city can host a congress of up to 2,100 delegates, while other spaces across the city and the fjords can host smaller, more intimate meetings. For a city that is technically ‘small’, there are a wide range of venues from purpose built, to quirky, to more traditional spaces, and hotel based solutions that can host events on request.
Our surprise favourite space of the trip was found within a hotel. Frankly, we didn’t think a hotel conference space could be as pretty as this. The main plenary space at Solstrand Hotel & Spa comes with everything you would usually expect: AV, tech and a great DDR, as well as everything you wouldn’t dream of finding attached to a conference space: stunning views, great outdoor spaces for breakouts or catering, and of course the option of housing your guests on site (in the cutest rooms). What more could you want?
Bergen has so many hidden gems for group and private dining, all complete with stunning views. Whether at sea level overlooking the fjords or high up on the mountain reviewing the city below, there are endless beautiful dinner options. Most of the restaurants we visited also placed emphasis on sourcing local ingredients and running seasonal menus, so the quality of cuisine was second to none, with dietary requirements taken into consideration properly.
For us, the dining highlight of the trip was the Cornelius Seafood restaurant. Everything about this dinner was exquisite and filled with ‘surprise and delight’ moments. Guests can only reach this venue by boat or air, which is where the experience begins. You can charter a boat/helicopter, or use the local daily transfers. On arrival, both the restaurant and the incredible views fight to take your attention, with the entire space boasting a max capacity of over 300 guests.
We sat in a private dining room lined on two sides with floor to ceiling windows and its own private terrace - AKA all of the Instagram opportunities. The food itself was incredible, and in between each course, chefs discuss their daily ingredients and the best drink pairings. And for those non-fish lovers out there, we are happy to report the vegan and vegetarian options were off-the-chain.
There are infinite delegate activities available around the city, perfect for incentive groups or an energetic post conference agenda. In the short time we were in Bergen we managed to cover segwaying, zip lining, RIB boating, canoeing, a little climbing and hiking, and various other (more relaxed) boat trips through the fjords. Aside from that, easy access to the glaciers and snow-capped mountains opens up the opportunity for more snow-based group activities too.
The entire weekend, including adrenaline-fuelled-activities, was captured on video by Visit Bergen, which you can see here.
With great nightlife and ever-growing arts and culture offering, Bergen really does have it all.
Would you consider it for your next event, or have you hosted an event in the city before? Let us know: