The Norwegian capital of Oslo is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore Scandinavia. Full of art museums, castles and centuries-old history dating back to the Viking age, Oslo is now becoming a popular destination on any European trip.
Courtesy of Grims Grenka
The copper-towered, luminescent Grand Hotel has been a cultural staple of Oslo since 1874. Some of the world’s most notable socialites and former presidents, including the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford and Dwight D. Eisenhower, have graced its halls. It remains one of the best hotels in Norway and, rather than feeling tawdry, it has a modern atmosphere about it which complements its 19th century grandeur. Hyper-modernized electronics adorn plush armoires to update an already enthralling interior. If you find that the 3,000 NOK per night rate might be a tad out of your price range, take a trip instead to one of its many restaurants and bars to rub elbows with Europe’s elite.
Are you looking to have a Gatsby experience? The Hotel Bristol has history combined with a liberal attitude, making it one of the most accessible and sought after hotels in the area. An elegant establishment oozing with opulence, the rooms are comfortable and tasteful, and the main halls and bars blend an art-deco style with Middle Eastern flare, creating an air of dignified lushness unmatched elsewhere in the city.
Although First Hotel Millennium is ginormous, the hotel has a personal style which reflects the minimalist Scandinavian lifestyle perfectly. Housed in what was originally a 1930s art-deco office block, the building retains its historic character with a little more functionalism than most hotels in the area. The rooms are incredibly un-European in that they are spacious with minimalist décor, much like something you’d see in Tokyo or Singapore. Some of the rooms have massive balconies, so if you want a great view, request a top floor room. The location can’t be beat as everything in central Oslo is within walking distance, and the hotel is home to one of Oslo’s best restaurants, Ciaou Ciaou.
Operating for over a century, Cochs Pensjonat is one of the best value accommodation spots in Oslo. In a city known for extravagant pricing, Cochs Pensjonat is a bit of a godsend to the thrifty traveller. Its well-to-do exterior serves as an excellent introduction to the postmodern ambiance of the rooms and furnishings. Here, you are treated to high ceilings and simple styling that give it an albeit bare feel, but still an incredibly comfortable and pleasant atmosphere. There are not many amenities or services, but with an in-room kitchen and a nearby restaurant, you won’t be hard pushed for food options. Out of the 88 rooms, only 10 do not have a bathroom and kitchenette.
If you are looking for Norwegian chic, head to Grims Grenka for one of the most modern and cosmopolitan experiences. In some ways, Grims Grenka is minimalist in its design and décor. The rooms have a warm and welcoming feel here, and are reminiscent of modern hipster places located in the urban area of the city. With a choice of 65 rooms, a selection which includes some of the most luxurious suites in the city, you are guaranteed a pleasurable experience here. Be sure to check out the rooftop bar for some of the best views of the city, as well as some top fruity cocktails.
Do not be alarmed by the name, there is nothing threatening about The Thief. In one of Oslo’s most iconic areas, the hotel is situated between Astrup Fearnley Museum and the canals of Tjuvholmen and the Oslofjord. You’re guaranteed to get a brilliant room here, and most offer stunning views of the city. Thief retains an unassuming timelessness which combines contemporary art and traditional Norwegian design to create a chic and cleverly decorated hotel. The rooms are spacious, and the place is one of the few dog-friendly spots around. Be sure to take advantage of your own Nespresso machine, and enjoy the Røros Tweed wool blankets covering your exclusive HØIE down duvet.
For the most adorably quaint bed and breakfast in Oslo, head to Ellingsens Pensjonat. Located in a lovely area just 10 minutes from the Royal Palace, it makes a perfect base from which to explore the bustling region. The building dates from 1890 and still retains a number of its initial features whilst exuding a modern charm. The decoration resembles that of a British country house, one which you’d find in the villages of the Cotswolds or perhaps Yorkshire. All rooms include free use of Wi-Fi and the gym, and also include a television.
For all the smart travellers looking for a top deal, Hotel Folketeateret is an accommodation option which can’t be missed. Part of the Clarion Collection, Hotel Folketeateret is one of the best centrally located hotels in Oslo. It is only a short walk from Oslo S and Karl Johans Gate. Although it lacks the refinement of more contemporary places, this is soon made up for with the complimentary evening meals and mid-afternoon snacks on the house.
Not to be confused with our other selection, the aformentioned Grand Hotel, the Grand Central Hotel is the train lover’s fantasy; the establishment is created out of part of an old train station. Many of the rooms here overlook the handsome Opera House. Grand Central Hotel is part of the Choice Hotel brand of Comfort Hotels. Some rooms feature charming structural details like exposed brick and stylized graffiti. Don’t forget to take advantage of the breakfast, and the 24-hour access to the complimentary gym.
Open since 1894, the Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica is a historic landmark. Although you may have concerns about staying in a former sanitarium for tuberculosis patients, this is a spot which shouldn’t be missed; it was designed by one of Norway’s most famous architects named Baltazar Lange. It has played an active role in the history of the world throughout the twentieth century, and it is the perfect place for history buffs and outdoor lovers as it boasts great access to the snowy mountains. It was occupied by the German Nazis during the WWII and is decorated with pictures of the greatest heroes of Holmenkollen’s various skiing arenas. The hotel is set 350 meters above the city center with the most incredible views of the nation’s capital, and it is a great option for families as it offers a breakfast buffet brimming with organic produce. The luxury setting and castle-like interior is great for those seeking an adventurous vacation.