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Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway, although the place still manages to retain a small-town atmosphere. The city serves as a gateway to the many steep fjords to the north, but there’s plenty to see in town. Highlights include the colourful wooden buildings in the Unesco Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, the animated fish market and KODE, one of the largest museums for art, music and design in the Nordic region. If you want to head to Bergen and stay someplace with style, we’ve compiled a list of the city’s top boutique hotels.
This hotel takes its name from a celebrated work by 19th-century Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. The 65-room Opus XVI – which used to be a five-floor bank – even hosts live concerts with pieces by Grieg. The spacious rooms and suites have a warm ambience thanks to soft lighting and a mix of chocolatey browns and buttery hues. The banquet and meeting spaces feature marble columns, high ceilings and golden chandeliers. Listen to live piano music while dining on fresh seafood, then learn about Edvard Grieg by exploring the hotel’s museum-style exhibition wall tracing the composer’s life.
Hotel Oleana is a designer hotel that isn’t afraid of vivid colours like bold purple – as well as funky pop art in the double rooms, suites and common areas. Next to Ole Bulls Plaza, the 97-room Oleana boasts sizable rooms with rainfall showers and cavernous tubs. The property takes its name and design inspiration from the violin virtuoso Ole Bull. The hotel’s chic Ácido restaurant specialises in Mexican and Peruvian food – ceviche, tacos, Argentine chimichurri sauce and more – while the free organic breakfast included with your stay is both a Norwegian and continental affair.
Bergen’s historic Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf hosts the 37-room Det Hanseatiske Hotel in a preserved wooden structure. With open-beam ceilings and timbered cabin-like walls, you’ll notice wood is a big theme here. Guests will be exposed to oodles of wharf-side charm at this Norwegian Unesco World Heritage Site. When you need a break from the onslaught of Scandinavian ambience, head to the hotel’s Tex-Mex Casa del Toro, which serves spicier fare like fajitas and homemade super nachos that clearly aren’t Nordic in origin.
The city of Bergen is probably more picturesque than it is urban, but Hotel No13 combines the best of both worlds. The modern, stylish collection of rooms and the delicious dining at the on-site restaurant will give you all the sustenance you need to keep exploring the city. The location of this place puts you in the heart of the action.
Grand Hotel Terminus combines old-world charm with modern splendour. Widely known for its own whiskey bar, the only one in Scandinavia to be given gold status from the Great Whiskey Bars of the World, this is the place to elegantly relax in style after a long day of exploring Bergen. The old-school guise continues through to the rooms, with some great views of the city beyond. This spot is conveniently located next to the train station and the airport bus stops fairly nearby.
Bergen Børs, housed within the former stock exchange, is a sophisticated property in the city centre. Guests can choose from a range of superbly appointed rooms with high ceilings and custom-made Nordic furniture. The large suites, which were previously managerial offices, serve up harbour and city views with separate living spaces. The Michelin-starred BARE Restaurant adds to the refined hotel ambience. Make sure you book a table here and dip into one of the locally sourced Scandinavian tasting menus. The options change daily depending on what the local fishermen return with.
Besides offering 130 tidy rooms of various sizes near the aquarium and harbour, Augustin Hotel is also home to Bergen’s oldest restaurant. Altona Wine Bar & Kitchen was established in 1614, and the charming basement eatery features original flagstone floors, a wood-beamed ceiling and a wine cellar. Dig into pan-fried scallops or halibut, or perhaps a gourmet vegetarian meal washed down with a glass of wine from the extensive list. For more spacious rooms, opt for a family room or junior suite.
Bergen’s jutting Nordnes peninsula is home to Klosterhagen Hotell. If you desire peace and quiet while in town, this 15-room property hits the spot, with narrow cobblestone lanes and colourful houses surrounding it. A three-story house-turned-hotel, it excels at breakfast – there’s a spread of homemade goods, plus the meat and fish are cured and smoked on the premises. Rooms, from economy to family-sized, come with slick minimalist furnishings and modern amenities. Calming pastel tones run throughout and the building is easy to spot with a pretty sky blue exterior.
The 21-room Steens, with its vistas over Nygårdsparken park, employs elegant 19th-century design aesthetics in keeping with its origins. The grand lounge and breakfast areas feature high ceilings, stained glass windows, ornate wallpaper and antique-style furnishings. However, the remodelled single and double rooms have more of a modern edge. The positioning of this place amid mansions and skirting the park offers a lovely slice of tranquillity.
Danai Christopoulou contributed additional reporting to this article.