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two luxury hotels in Norway

two luxury hotels in Norway

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Old Oct 25, 17, 12:37 pm
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two luxury hotels in Norway

I'm recently back from a quick trip to Norway to explore the destination (my second trip). The country does not have a lot of true five-star properties. This is not necessarily a disadvantage when exploring the fjord region of Norway north of Bergen. For instance, I spent one night at Fjaerland Fjordstove Hotel. My Full-bedded room was tiny with no electrical sockets except in the bathroom and not even a bedside table. The bathroom provided just a sink, toilet, and a shower head in the corner with a plastic curtain. But the hotel was redolent with charm, the owner incredibly hospitable, the food excellent, and the views heavenly. A great place to stay — but luxurious it wasn't.

I did see two hotels worthy of consideration by connoisseurs of luxury hotels.

The Thief, Oslo

Located in a gentrified part of the city, right on the Oslofjord, that used to be a seedy part of town frequented by thieves and prostitutes — and thus its name, The Thief, and its logo ...


Notice the space in the word "TH E" between the H and the E The idea here is that both the "I" (and the "F") have been stolen. Cute!

I was truly impressed by the hotel. Lead-in rooms are small, typical of European hotels, but totally worthy of your consideration. I'd bypass the Standard rooms (24 sqm) and start by thinking about a Superior or Deluxe room (30 sqm). Differing only in view, all of the hotel's rooms have attractive hardwood floors and area rugs. I found them quite visually appealing, in an elegant contemporary style, noting especially the wall behind the bed — a very attractive design of different colors, shapes, lights, and textures. The bathroom was small with a single vanity, and make your wishes known concerning step-in showers and soaking tubs so that the hotel can block you accordingly. For more space, consider a Junior Suite. For a real WOW experience, the Oslo Suite will more than satisfy and even includes your private rooftop terrace overlooking the harbour.


I consider The Thief a true five-star hotel with a spa, gym, and exceptional restaurant; my main course — cod with chorizo and broccoli floret — was one of the best meals I've ever had.

Not [yet] Virtuoso, it's a part of Preferred Hotels, and you can book the Preferred Platinum Partner rate for amenities.


Solstrand Fjord Hotel & Bad

We spent our final night in Solstrand at this family owned and run hotel, a boutique resort with just 130 rooms. It hosts some corporate retreats during the week but is open just to leisure guests on weekends. About 40 minutes south of Bergen and the Bergen airport, you might spend a few evenings here relaxing at the end of an adventure trip through the fjords. The hotel has a spa (make appointments in advance) and two pools (inside and outside), both heated year-round.

Rooms are large by European standards. Standard rooms feel like Superiors, and Deluxe rooms are like Junior Suites — large with corner views. Every room in the resort has a view ... but the best views are found in the Junior Suites, especially large and directly facing the fjord. I spent the evening in a Junior Suite (pictured below) — a large bedroom area and an open-floorplan living room with sofas. French doors opened to a balcony. The bathroom had a soaking tub, step-in shower, and a single vanity. On the downside, the desk had no power plugs at desk level, and I blew a fuse using a floor plug ... and there were no power outlets near the bed, disappointing if you want to charge your iPhone overnight while using it as an alarm clock.


Breakfast is included in the rates, typical of hotels in Norway. There is a set menu for dinner, but while my salmon was certainly good, the meal had something of a mass-produced, banquet quality.
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Last edited by DavidO; Oct 26, 17 at 11:56 am
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Old Oct 26, 17, 11:45 am
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Norway has been on my radar for some time so this is helpful, thank you, David.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 7:28 pm
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We were in Oslo a couple of summers ago and stayed in both the Thief and the older more traditional Continental. We liked them both for different reasons.

The Thief ( recommended by Musken, thank you), was very modern, new, hip, in an up and coming part of town with a good restaurant and in an "artsy" neighborhood. We really enjoyed it and would return.

We also enjoyed the Continental which is in a more traditional downtown area. The hotel was being renovated while we were there but we had a beautiful suite with a large outdoor deck that had been renovated and was far away from the renovations taking place. It was in the traditional wing of the hotel which I'm sure with renovations is much nicer. we did not eat in their restaurant but had nice drinks on their bar. Our suite there was roomier than the Thief, but we liked both hotels for different reasons. I think the Continental is likely where I would stay for business, and the Thief more for vacation although we loved our room at the Continental. But, I think the Continental is only nice if you get a suite category and then you would have to get the "right" room as some could be below average I imagine.

Service at the Continental was more traditional and very good. The Thief was a bit more informal but the younger employees were very enthusiastic and friendly. I recommend both but at the Continental you must be very careful about the specific room!

If you go have dinner at Maamo - Oslo's top restaurant with a Michelin star. It's in a lovely location and a very interesting and fun dinner! Be prepared for twenty something courses ( at least when we were there!) Loved Oslo. Looking forward to returning!
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Old Oct 26, 17, 8:57 pm
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We stayed at the Continental in Oslo last year post renovations. Great location, easy access to both the metro/subway and the airport train. Also easy walk to the waterfront, although the Thief is right there from what I remember.

The service was phenomenal throughout the stay. Everyone we interacted with was very nice and helpful. I really appreciated this as I know in general Scandinavia isn't always the place for warm service. They were trained well.

Room was great. We had a basic room, and that was still very very large for European standards. It felt like our own little apartment, which is a positive! Beds were very comfortable, rooms very well appointed, and the bathroom was great as well, with good shower pressure/temps and great toiletries. Food was good too, although I'm not big on Scandinavian dishes.

Overall, can't recommend this hotel enough. Haven't been anywhere else in Norway or Oslo to compare it to, but this stay was comparable to the Park Hyatt in Hamburg for us. Room in Oslo wasn't quite as big as the room there, but everything else I would say was comparable. Great service, food, and room quality.
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Old Oct 27, 17, 10:06 am
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At THE THIEF, what benefits are included under a Preferred Platinum Partner rate?

I'm curious because I'm wondering how it may stack with what I get as Nordic Choice Platinum at this hotel (which is a Nordic Choice hotel although down as an independent of sort).
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Old Oct 27, 17, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
At THE THIEF, what benefits are included under a Preferred Platinum Partner rate?

I'm curious because I'm wondering how it may stack with what I get as Nordic Choice Platinum at this hotel (which is a Nordic Choice hotel although down as an independent of sort).
This is per the Preferred Hotels website. Breakfast and WiFi are already included, but the $75 credit represents real value ... and the hotel's sales rep is anxious to extend amenities to Virtuoso guests. The hotel is not yet Virtuoso but hopes to be.
.
  • Best Available Rate
  • Breakfast for Two Daily
  • $75 Hotel Credit per Stay (to be used on services such as spa, dining, or selected amenity valued at $75 or more)
  • Hotel Welcome Amenity and Welcome Note from General Manager on behalf of Travel Agency
  • Complementary In-Room Internet
  • Room Upgrade*
  • Priority Check-in and Check-out*
.
*Subject to availability
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Old Oct 27, 17, 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
This is per the Preferred Hotels website. Breakfast and WiFi are already included, but the $75 credit represents real value ... and the hotel's sales rep is anxious to extend amenities to Virtuoso guests. The hotel is not yet Virtuoso but hopes to be.
.
  • Best Available Rate
  • Breakfast for Two Daily
  • $75 Hotel Credit per Stay (to be used on services such as spa, dining, or selected amenity valued at $75 or more)
  • Hotel Welcome Amenity and Welcome Note from General Manager on behalf of Travel Agency
  • Complementary In-Room Internet
  • Room Upgrade*
  • Priority Check-in and Check-out*
.
*Subject to availability
Thanks for the info. I will have to use this to try to stack the Nordic Choice Club Platinum benefits with the Preferred Platinum Partner rate benefits to see how that turns out, especially as the Preferred Platinum Partner rate benefits are richer in various ways than what I would get as a regular Nordic Choice Club Platinum at this hotel booking directly on the Nordic Choice hotels app.

All the Nordic Choice hotels tend to be very good to me for upgrades and various other things as NCC Platinum and provide the benefits on all my stays (at least from my experience) regardless of booking/payment method. But the $75 credit for one-night stays there would be a big improvement for me.
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Old Nov 3, 17, 6:36 am
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I actually just stayed at the Thief last week. It was my first stay (and first time in Oslo). A few high level thoughts that come to mind:

  • Location - The hotel is located in a less than ideal spot for sightseeing, in my opinion. The area does have lots of restaurants, but for my first trip to Oslo, it probably wasn't the best choice, location-wise. I knew this going in, so it wasn't an issue for me, but rather something to consider, especially for those who want to be in the city center frequently.
  • Check In - We were proactively offered an upgrade from a Deluxe Room to a Jr. Suite, based on my Nordic Choice Gold status. That same status also provides for late check out up to 6PM (based on availability) - I did not need quite that late, so we agreed on 3PM (which did turn out to be a minor issue the next day, more on that later). Given that it was our first stay at the Thief, it would have been helpful if the agent gave us at least a high level overview of the property, where to find things (e.g., the gym), how the complimentary access to the nearby museum works, etc. - but we figured that all out ourselves easily enough.
  • Staff / Service - I was generally very impressed with the service at the Thief, which started from the moment I walked in during check-in. Compared to the 4-5 other mid/high end hotels I stayed in throughout Norway, the staff at the Thief were by far the most professional and helpful. However, I did have one interaction which really frustrated me and despite being minor in the larger scheme of things, unfortunately left a somewhat bad taste in my mouth about the entire stay.
  • Room - As noted above, we received an upgrade to a Junior Suite, which I appreciated after being crammed in a number of smaller rooms and a Hurtigruten cabin over the prior 1 1/2 weeks. I thought the modern decor was well done, but the room did feel a little crammed - in my opinion due to a bit too much furniture or a few pieces that were too large for the space.
  • Food - We only had breakfast here but as a point of comparison, it was reminiscent of some of nicer Park Hyatt breakfast buffets I've been to - quality over quantity, and particularly good coffee.
  • Check Out - This was where things went somewhat awry. As noted above, during check in, we agreed very clearly with the agent on a 3PM late check out. I know this because we had a back and forth discussion about the upgrade she gave us and how it was dependent upon what time we would be vacating the room. On the morning of check out, we decided that we would try to spend a couple additional hours sightseeing and asked about extending the late check out to 5PM. We understood that extending the late check out might not have been possible at such short notice, and frankly I expected to be told they could not extend it past 3PM (and again, I would have understood that). However, we were told by the agent (a different one than who checked us in) that we were not set up for any late check out and would have to vacate our room by 12PM. I noted that we had already agreed on 3PM and were just hoping to extend, and again he said we were not set up for a late check out and in fact, there was a note saying we asked about it at check in and were told no. We went back and forth for 5 minutes with me asking him to double check with the agent who checked us in, which he basically refused to do. The entire time he was acting like I was trying to "sneak" one past the hotel, which I really did not appreciate, especially in front of other guests. Ultimately, I just said we would be checking out at 3PM as we had originally agreed or he could get the manager, and he very rudely agreed. So that was that.

Anyway, despite the hiccup at the end, it is a nice property and I would consider returning under the right circumstances (e.g., dependent upon my plans in Oslo and where in the city I would need to be).

One additional note - the Thief is part of AMEX FHR. I could never get pricing to show up on the AMEX FHR website, but was able to book it over the phone. The special amenity was a EUR 85 Spa credit, which wasn't ideal for us, but when we initially booked, the FHR rate was the same as through the property directly. Ultimately, the hotel posted a promotional rate on their website which was less expensive than the FHR rate (but without the same benefits), and that is was we ended up using since it was an overall better deal for us and our plans.
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Old Feb 10, 19, 11:34 am
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Are there no chain hotels in Norway? Marriott/Starwood, Hyatt/SLH, Hilton, Accor/Fairmont... I don't think I have ever come across a major country before where there is not a single hotel from any of my 4 hotel chains where I have status. Ok there is a Moxy in Oslo but that's it, really? I guess I need a status match with another hotel chain, I see a Radisson in Bergen, what else is there?
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Old Feb 10, 19, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by escape4 View Post
Are there no chain hotels in Norway? Marriott/Starwood, Hyatt/SLH, Hilton, Accor/Fairmont... I don't think I have ever come across a major country before where there is not a single hotel from any of my 4 hotel chains where I have status. Ok there is a Moxy in Oslo but that's it, really? I guess I need a status match with another hotel chain, I see a Radisson in Bergen, what else is there?
Why does it need to be a “chain” hotel?
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Old Feb 10, 19, 9:10 pm
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In any event, only luxury hotel chains (Four Seasons, Mandarin Orient, etc) and luxury hotels within the major chains (St Regis, Park Hyatt, etc) are appropriate in this forum, so I suggest we stick to the forum topic area.

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Old Feb 10, 19, 11:03 pm
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Originally Posted by escape4 View Post
I see a Radisson in Bergen, what else is there?
There are lots of Radissons in Norway. After all, the chain was initially owned by SAS. We've stayed in Oslo (both airport and in the city), Trondheim, and Tromso at Radissons. Status means virtually nothing in the Radisson chain and the properties are far from luxurious.

You'll find discussion of more Norwegian hotels in this thread:

Luxury in Norway?
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