I saw the sign for "Budget Hotel" driving into Kristiansand and was lucky enough that there were some rooms still available that night. Saw the old sign for "Centrum Motel" sitting on the backside of the building. Katrine, the friendly receptionist, spoke nearly perfect English with an American accent and was very friendly and offered eating tips, etc. I asked for a room on the "quiet" side anticipating highway noise to be louder than train noises, but highly recommend ear plugs for anyone staying there: late night dock work, parking lot activity, and early morning birds! We had no reservation so got the walk-in rate, which for two was 795 NOK. The Internet rate showed 650 NOK for Sat & Sun rates and 695 NOK for weekdays so if you plan ahead, this rate is definitely one of the least expensive overnight options in Kristiansand. Rooms are very basic. At check-in, you get a towel, a sheet, a pillow cover, and a bedding cover. When you check out, you are asked to drop the used linen in a dedicated bin on your way out. I was surprised that there was no staff on site in the morning, just a sign saying that the reception opened at 1500 (3 pm). Our very small TV didn't work and the cable connection looked damaged, and "Katrine" apologized but didn't have any options. No refrigerator in the rooms. WIFI in all rooms. You can actually access it from just outside the building so it might be possible to make an online reservation from outside then go in. They were sold out the second night that I tried to do so, but used the WIFI connection to find an alternatiive option.
Breakfast is offered at the nearby train station cafeteria for 69 NOK per person and consists of a simple buffet of ham, salami, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, brown cheese, two kinds of bread, orange and apple juice, and plenty of coffee, which was quite good. The breakfast option is from 0730-1100 and we arrived for the last 20 minutes to find the buffet mostly picked out, but the cafeteria staff restocked it immediately with adequate portions for two. The breads were very good and everything was covered.
Don't forget eye shades if it's summer. I'd also bring something to drink in the room along with your own glasses/cups. There was a vending machine available. The motel has an outdoor terrace area and a communal TV room available. The terrace was quite windy and the nearby highway noise made it a non-starter for us. The motel is located within walking distance of what can be considered Kristiansand's old city with lots of restaurants, pubs and a movie theater with at least six different films. Motel is only a ten minute walk to a nice park area adjacent to the private boat harbor and an old fortress. Lots of late 19th and early 20th century architecture throughout the "old city" area. Also a busy pedestrian area with lots of shopping options called Markens. Definitely a city to enjoy walking around on a warm summer day or evening!
I would recommend this place for one night or weekend at most.
Could be an option to train in from Oslo for a weekend visit.
We visited the art museum (60 NOK) - nice collection and friendly staff but no photography allowed. Also drove over to Movik, which was the site of the "Vara" naval artillery battery built by the Germans during their WWII occupation of Norway. Very interesting bunker displays with one of the original giant Krupp guns still there! Some nice options to walk around and see the other bunkers and other building ruins.
Hope this is useful. If anyone has a question that this first review did not address, feel free to ask me directly.
Unique Quality: Oops! Didn't seed this section before I wrote the above. No pool. No views to speak of. Think Budget with capital B. Plenty of parking that is free from 1800 (6pm) til 0800 (8am) but you must pay 12 NOK per hour for the day hours or buy a ticket for all-day parking for 60 NOK. I paid by using my Norwegian bank card to swipe first to get the ticket, and again to pay when I left - very easy when it works! The parking area was not secured but adequately lighted and there didn't seem to be any questionable people around.
The rooms are organized to handle three: a double with a single bunk above, which was so high that my 15 year-old daughter found it cramped but OK for sleeping once she got situated. Enough floor space to put out bags on the floor and still get around them.
Simple bathroom with only curtains separating "shower" from sink and toilet, but the drain worked and the rest of the floor in #213 stayed dry! There was a hand soap dispenser next to the sink.
Directions: Just off 39 where it intersects with 9.
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Address: Vestre Strandgate 49, Kristiansand, 4612, Norway