First Hotel Grand Odense has always been a well-known venue for events in southern Denmark – ever since its establishment in 1897. “The town can be proud of this hotel,” says Front Office Manager Karen Henneberg. “We have a solid foundation for becoming the leading hotel in Odense again.” For well over a century, it has been an unmistakable landmark of the cityscape.
The four-star hotel’s 137 rooms were modernized and refurbished in 2007 and include nine single rooms, a junior suite, 16 superior rooms and four executive rooms. They all have classic-style furnishing, dark wood flooring and classic wallpaper to preserve the old ambience while incorporating the latest technology. A large bathroom, excellent Danish bedding and free Wi-Fi are standard amenities for each room.
First Hotel Grand Odense is the perfect stepping stone for cultural excursions to the city, and an overnight stay includes breakfast and parking in the hotel’s garage, although the hotel’s central location makes it easy to reach by bus or train.
Guests looking for a delicious meal can stop in the hotel’s Brasserie Grand, a brasserie-style restaurant serving classical bistro cuisine. Grand Bar & Lounge, the in-house bar, offers excellent cocktails and is popular with locals, as well. The hotel’s gym, opened just a few months ago, is free for all guests to use.
Understanding the value of being an event location, First Hotel Grand Odense also offers conference facilities. There are two large conference rooms – one for 160 participants and the other for 120 – as well as five smaller meeting rooms for 20 to 40 people, which are ideal for training courses and workshops. Exactly what is available to guests who book the conference facilities is customized to the individual needs of the group, from the room setup to the meals provided over the course of the day.
With a staff of 60, First Hotel Grand Odense serves a colourful mix of guests. During the week, it sees mostly business travelers. “We have many Chinese, German and Scandinavian guests,” Ms. Henneberg says. “There are a lot of technological businesses here, making Odense an interesting area for business guests.”
Chinese guests in particular come to the Danish city for this reason, and the hotel has put a lot of effort into making its name known on the Chinese market. One step was to transform some of the rooms into twin rooms, a more attractive option for many guests from China. A lot of young German travelers are interested in the food development in Scandinavia, as well. “Germany and China will remain important for us,” the Front Office Manager says.
First Hotels, owned by Asmund Haare, is a group of 90 hotels located in 52 major cities throughout Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Spain. Founded in 1993, the group offers a unique experience for business and leisure travelers at each of its hotels, from sightseeing to shopping to local attractions. Modern facilities like free Wi-Fi are a natural part of every First Hotel, whether in Oslo, Gothenburg or Copenhagen.
While First Hotel Grand Odense has belonged to First Hotels since 1997, the management changed last year after a decline in business. The new management is back on track with a more sustainable strategy, and the General Manager has been drumming up business by visiting former guests personally to invite them back to the hotel.
First Hotel Grand Odense is also listed on several online booking platforms, has its own website and makes use of social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. “Social media are great for keeping in touch with guests,” Ms. Henneberg adds.
First Hotel Grand Odense aims to become the number-one hotel in Odense within the next year, a goal towards which it has been working from several directions. The hotel makes sure it hires the right employees who identify with the First Hotel philosophy. “We always need people who understand service,” Ms. Henneberg explains.
The hotel has also hired two full-time technicians to ensure everything in the functional and modern rooms works correctly. “We always want to give our guests a pleasant surprise,” Ms. Henneberg points out. “We also strive to be a trendsetter in the hotel industry.” Despite being in a challenging business, First Hotel Grand Odense is sure that it can rise to be the pride of Odense once again.