Liseberg celebrated the grand opening of their new hotel, Grand Curiosa, on Saturday 22nd April. Members of the Attraction Source team were recently able to preview this outstanding new hotel at the recent European Coaster Club ‘Limited Edition Liseberg’ event. Here we’d have the opportunity to try out everything the hotel had to offer, from its gorgeous rooms to the soon-to-be-iconic lobby slide days before the general public. As a preview event, elements of the hotel were still being finished, but we were still able to appreciate what a wonderful place this will be.
The story of the Grand Curiosa follows Agnes, a passionate adventurer in mid-eighteenth-century Gothenburg. Travelling the world seeking business ventures, Agnes brought home remarkable curiosities. In fact, she brought home so many treasures, that her home had to be extended multiple times – and thus the Grand Curiosa was born! Each floor of the hotel features a different themed collection, from a seventh floor themed to astronomy to the second floor celebrating all forms of aquatic life. Each of these collections contains a large number of knick-knacks and oddities, most housed in large wooden cabinets, but some simply scattered around the floor, waiting to be discovered. This theme is apparent from the moment you step foot inside the hotel, with every inch of the lobby packed with detail, the centrepiece being the staggering display behind the reception desk. Here, a cabinet stretches up to the ceiling, with a ladder attached to suggest that Agnes is still to be found visiting her collection. Even being the very first guests to stay at the hotel, check-in was efficient and friendly and in no time we were holding a key to a room on the seventh – and top floor. As in most hotels, both stairs and lifts are available, but here both are spectacular. Each of the many lifts features a different colour scheme, whilst the stairs take the form of a grand staircase circling a central sculpture descending from the ceiling. At each floor, this sculpture features imagery matching the theme of the floor, to form an astonishing centrepiece. Of course, if you’re looking for a shortcut from the second floor to the lobby, there’s no quicker way than the slide! The twisted, enclosed slide is a very fun addition to the hotel and is completely dark on the inside. According to a member of staff, it was designed this way to enhance guests’ sense of adventure as they slide down toward the lobby!
We stayed in a standard ‘Grand Curiosa’ room, which sleeps up to five guests across a double bed, bunk bed and pull-out in a 29 square metre room. The rooms feature a separate sleeping space which houses the bunk beds and pull-out, giving the guests in this area a degree of independence. The area is undoubtedly tight if all three beds are occupied, but the beds themselves are beautiful, and the space features themed wallpaper and a pull-across curtain for additional privacy. Between here and the main sleeping area is the bathroom, featuring a twin sink and walk-in shower. Shampoo, conditioner and bodywash are provided in pump bottles, and the shower has both a rainfall and handheld head. The main sleeping area includes a super king bed and bedside tables which include two sockets either side, and a desk and corner unit containing a mini fridge and safe. There is also a birdcage-themed wardrobe, inside which you’ll find a clothes steamer. An ironing board and iron can be borrowed from reception if required. Across the whole space, everything is finished to an incredibly high standard, with just as much detail as the communal spaces. The centrepiece of the whole room is its curtain, which, when pulled, forms a gorgeous mural of a stone archway complete with peacocks and a mountain range. Perhaps the only perplexing thing about the room was the lighting system. On arrival, the ‘master switch’ next to the door must be activated. If this has not been pressed, the other light switches in the room will not respond. Once this switch has been pressed, the lighting level can then be altered from the switches next to the bed. The bedside switches cannot, however, control the lighting in the children’s area, which must be turned off using the switch inside that alcove. Altogether, this meant a lot of circling the room and pressing buttons until the lights were at the desired level.
The Grand Curiosa features a range of food and beverage options throughout the hotel. Located on the ground level are Saluhallen, Compagniet and Café Agnes. Compagniet is the hotel’s speakeasy, specialising in classic cocktails, as well as other alcoholic beverages and snacks. Unfortunately, this wasn’t open for our preview but looks to be a perfect way to end a day at Liseberg. Also closed during our visit was the Mei Rose rooftop bistro, which offers small plates of authentic Chinese cuisine in an environment themed to the neon-lit backstreets of Hong Kong. Thankfully, its neighbour, the Mei Rose rooftop bar, was open for a preview. The undoubted highlight of the bar was, of course, its rooftop terrace. Offering stunning, unique views over the park, with plenty of sun loungers and tables to relax on, the terrace is the ideal place to spend a summer’s evening. Down in the lobby, Café Agnes serves up freak shakes, ice cream, hot drinks and alcoholic beverages throughout the day and late into the evening. There are a large variety of seating options available, from plush chaise lounges and armchairs to garden-style seating around the centrepiece of the café – and a highlight of the entire hotel – The Grand Carousel. This beautiful carousel dates way back to 1923, and guests are able to take a spin!
During our stay, dinner and breakfast were both served at Saluhallen, the hotel’s buffet restaurant. Here we were able to choose from a wide selection of high-quality food, with dinner featuring many different meats, cheeses and salads to choose from. There was also a dedicated bread cart, featuring a whole selection of different breads, with bowls of butter and margarine. At breakfast, a full hot service was available – including vegan options – alongside an eclectic range of sweet continental options including cinnamon churros and bakewell tart! Also of note was the juice machine. Not content with a regular dispenser, the Grand Curiosa utilises a touch screen for selecting your drink of choice, which is then dispensed from an adjacent tap! This isn’t the only technology to be found in the restaurant, however. In fact, in both Saluhallen and Café Agnes, it’s worthwhile keeping an eye on your surroundings, as you never know when a robot might appear! These sizeable machines roam the eateries, assisting with the return of dirty plates and glassware – and have eyes! If you’re looking to burn off some of those calories consumed at the buffet, there’s a sizeable gym on the second floor with a great selection of fitness equipment to use.
Located directly adjacent to the amusement park, Grand Curiosa Hotel is the perfect addition to Liseberg. Stylish, sophisticated and classy, but not at the sake of comfort or convenience. It’s a hotel overflowing with charm and attention to detail, perfectly reflecting the amusement park. From 2024, it will not only offer an exclusive entrance to the amusement park but also to Oceana, the brand-new waterpark, further enhancing the guest experience.
As part of the preview event, we had the opportunity to embark on a hard-hat tour of the waterpark construction site, which was preceded by a presentation about Liseberg’s future expansion plans and the chance to hear from Oceana’s General Manager, as well as members of the project team. The main entrance to Oceana is situated just a short distance away from the hotel. Like the rest of the structure, it currently just consists of exposed concrete, although concepts on display around the site fences provide an insight into its planned finished look. The expectation is that 500,000 guests will visit per year, with the plan currently being to host two slots in peak periods (i.e. weekends and school holiday) when Oceana will open 9am-9pm (closing 2-3pm for the changeover), and a single slot on in week days from 3pm-9pm. There is also the possibility for a later slot to be added, along with ideas to provide hotel guests with exclusive early/late access. Guests will of course first enter into the lobby area, where there will be a reception desk as well as self-service machines from which guests can purchase tickets – a ticket price of 20€ per adult was quoted by staff. Off from the lobby will be found a café and merchandise shop, which will also be accessible directly from the street. To access the changing rooms and lockers, guests will walk along what is termed the ‘dry corridor’. There will be separate changing rooms available for use exclusively by hotel guests, with these being half the size of the normal changing rooms. To access the waterpark, guests will then exit through the showers and into the ‘wet corridor’. Talking numbers, in total there are planned to be 1,400 lockers and 60 showers.
Upon entering the waterpark itself, a bar (for which the process of obtaining an alcohol licence is underway) and quick service restaurant will be situated on the right and entry to the 100m outdoor lazy river located on the left. As well as steps down into the river, there is also a lift to aid accessibility. It was noted that the initial phase of the waterpark’s outdoor area is planned to be completed in 2025, so whilst the lazy river is anticipated to be functional from 2024, the theming and surrounding area won’t be complete until the following year. Beyond this is the main waterpark area, which is of a truly impressive scale, with the fact that the roof and walls are largely glazed adding to how spacious and bright the area feels. Construction of the Master Blaster and Boomerang slides was already underway at the time of the tour, with the former looking like it will have a very thrilling drop! Alongside other slides, attractions here will include a wave pool, aqua play area, splash pad and ‘kiddyslides’. The capacity was stated to be 1,200 people inside and 500 outside. Nonetheless, there are already plans for further expansion in 2027, with the addition of another tower featuring 10-12 more slides, along with an outside restaurant and swim-up bar. These proposals are being worked up with WhiteWater West, who are the main vendor for the initial waterpark development, although Liseberg are also consulting with ProSlide and Wiegand Slide. The opening of Oceana in 2024, along with any future expansion, will certainly provide further reasons to return!
Additionally, as part of the preview event, we were in attendance for the park’s pre-opening event for Luna, a new-for-2023 Vekoma family boomerang coaster. The addition of Luna not only celebrates the 100th anniversary of the park but also marks the completion of the park’s newest area, Luna Park. Luna Park opened in 2022 and aims to celebrate the history not only of Liseberg but of amusement parks everywhere with a homage to the Luna Parks that form such a vital part of amusement park history. With a height of 33.5 metres (109.9ft), Luna is the tallest and fastest ride of its type in the world and is sure to be a hit with families visiting the park!
The pre-opening event featured a very warm welcome from park CEO Andreas Andersen, including the revelation that he too would be enjoying his very first ride that morning, before the excited crowd poured into the queue line. Luna is themed to a trip to the moon, and thus it is fitting that the queue line snakes its way through the gardens up to the observatory station. All the while, guests can watch as the stunning blue rocket-shaped trains traverse the 242 metres of sky-blue track. The station is an elegant mix of wooden panelling and carved metal arches, with a large telescope housed in the observatory dome, and even the luggage storage racks themed to classic bookcases along the wall. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is high energy, exciting and features elements of science fiction, suggestive of encounters you might experience on your journey to the moon. For rollercoaster fans that have experienced a Vekoma family boomerang in the past, the ride experience will be familiar, though Luna features a custom layout, making the most of its location atop Liseberg Hill, the tallest point in the park. And it is this location that makes Luna extra special. Like many of Liseberg’s star attractions, the elevated position of Luna offers incredible views over both the park and Gothenburg. You really do feel close to the moon!
Thank you again to both the European Coaster Club and Liseberg for this excellent preview of an exceptional hotel, exciting waterpark and a delightful new family coaster.
Are you planning to visit Liseberg this season? Will you be staying at the Grand Curiosa? Let us know via our social media channels!