hen a hotel makes it onto the Condé Nast Traveller Gold List (in 2018) than you can rightly expect to be in for a real treat. And The Thief Hotel in Oslo will not let you down. It is not by chance regarded as the most luxury hotel in Norway.
The seemingly odd name is not that surprising anymore once you dive a bit into the history of its location. Tjuvholmen (Thief Islet) during the 18th century served as an area where thieves and pirates were executed.
Today the location is one of Oslo’s hippest new neighbourhood thanks to a wider waterfront revitalization programme that has turned the little islet into a superb arts and culture district. In this regard, The Thief and nearby Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art are the area’s leading attractions – and thanks to an ongoing collaboration between the two, booking directly with the hotel also gets you free entry to the museum. The city centre and many of the main Oslo attractions are alos only a short walk away.
The Thief is part of the Nordic Choice Hotels chain which belongs to Norwegian philanthropic billionaire Petter Stordalen, an investor and real estate developer who is known for his love of collecting contemporary art as well as being a dedicated environmentalist.
Appropriately regarded to be his flagship hotel, The Thief strongly reflects both this passions. Although it is art that takes the centre stage at the hotel. Various stunning pieces of art and quirky design elements are setting beautiful accents and perfectly blend into the overarching construction. And there is nothing felt to chance here: The hotel’s art collection is curated by Sune Nordgren, the former director of the Norwegian National Museum.
It already starts outside of the hotel, where guests are greeted by a cast iron statue by Antony Gormley.
Inside, expect pieces from artist including Andy Warhol, Fiona Banner and Richard Prince. In addition, the hotel also gives room to emerging contemporary artists with changing exhibitions every couple of months.
I loved that despite the strong focus on art and funky design the hotel succeeds to create a sense of warmth and cosiness. Throughout the foyer and the adjacent Thief bar, an earthy colour palette is lovingly elevated by hues of dark blue and gold and comfy chairs invite guest to settle down in front of the art displays and a warming fireplace.
Rooms too excel displaying quirky and well though design features, and the deluxe rooms are picking up the colour scheme of the foyer. All of the 118 rooms are furnished with pieces from national and international designers. The first thing capturing your attention upon entering is a mountain of colourful pillows on the bed.
Lights are working on motion detection, slowly turning on when you enter the room or the bathroom and rooms are adorned with a spacious work station, a 42 inch flat TV, a modern sound system, a powerful and stylish Nespresso machine, mini bar and there is a fast and reliable free Wi-Fi access.
There is even a drawer that holds items that one might typically forget to pack, including socks, underwear, tights, nail polish, toothbrushes and the sorts (note: these are coming with a price list but I found it was a nice touch having them at hand as otherwise had you forgotten anything you would have to contact the front deck to sort).
Finally, turn down service will leave you with a thermos of hot water and mugs prepared with a bag of a relaxing organic mixture of oatflower, lavender and limeflower tea to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
All rooms also have large floor-to-ceiling windows and a little balcony that offers views over the Oslo Fjord and nearby buildings.
The hotel is hugely popular with locals too, with the beautiful Thief bar and – during the summer months – the rooftop bar drawing in lots of visitors. With our visit falling into early September, the weather was still good enough to have drinks at the rooftop, although it was already closed off by huge glass windows to block out the wind and rain. Still it offers nice views over Oslo Fjord and in the distance you can even make out the famous ski jump at Holmenkollen ski area on the hills outside of Oslo.
The rooftop (and downstairs bar) offers a nice selection of cold and warm snacks and though we had a table booked in the hotels Foodbar restaurant not that much later, we could not resist to order something here too.
Foodbar on the second floor is as stylish as the rest of the hotel: Beautiful artworks and bistro-style seating through to comfy enveloping chairs around wooden tables is creating lots of feel-good vibes.
The food is inspired by traditional Scandinavian cuisine which is prepared with an international twist. Since we already had our ‘starters’ at the bar, we decided to dig right into the mains – a delicious halibut and a very tender Thief steak, and finishing off with dessert.
Unsurprisingly, the breakfast buffet is top notch as well, with local breads, cheeses, smoked fish, smoothies, lots of fresh fruit and homemade jam.
We did not have time to visit The Thief Spa – located in a separate building next door – with quite some regret since reading the list of treatments really gets you into the mood to head over and get pampered all day.
I had a fabulous time at The Thief Hotel and found the hotel more than fulfilled its candid claims to ‘steel you away from everyday life’ and to ‘treat rock stars as guests and guests as rock stars’. Should I get the opportunity to return to Oslo, The Thief would no doubt be my hotel of choice.
The Thief Hotel
Langangen 1, Oslo, Norway
The Thief Hotel Oslo