Feeling like you’ve found a home away from home in Oslo in the middle of winter is not easy or even expected … but this is exactly what we found during our recent stay at The Thief Hotel on the first stop of our winter in Norway family vacation adventure. Located in the lively Tjuvholmen area (formerly known as Thief Island) of Oslo on the redeveloped waterfront of the Oslofjord, The Thief offers families a home base with personality, a Norwegian sense of place and wonderful, warm service. It’s no wonder that this 118-room property is a favorite for everyone from celebrities to business travelers to families seeking something unique and luxurious.
Given the location next to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, creative expression is the theme of The Thief and the handpicked contemporary art collection showcased throughout rooms and public areas is an integral part of the eclectic design. The visual feast begins in the lobby with striking sculptures (include a pricelessJeff Koons original), colorful paintings and digital art. It’s busy but, amazingly, the environment is exciting rather than chaotic, with no shortage of things to admire. The fun factor created by art fosters a casual and fun vibe that makes The Thief approachable and appealing for all ages, even if the underlying tone is sophisticated.
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The art is wonderful, but my favorite feature of The Thief is the plethora of picture windows that overlook the Oslofjord and let in loads of natural light. Despite the dark tones that create the cozy ambiance, the hotel feels light and airy, even on the darkest of winter Oslo days. As delightful as the winter experience is here, I can only imagine how blissful it must be during the summer months when the sun barely sets and the property is surrounded by all of that water. There is a small spot on this waterfront that is popular for swimming when the weather is warm (and even when it’s not!).
We stayed in a king room that easily fit an extra bed. Rooms are incredibly cozy and comfortable with soft shag carpets, both atmospheric and functional lighting that can be controlled from the bed, and a floor-to-ceiling window with a small balcony. The design magic is the combination of light and warmth. Our bathroom had a large rain shower and pedestal sink. Fluffy white duvets are standard and there are wool blankets for extra coziness.
Junior Suites and Suites have separate bedroom and living room areas. Both rooms and suite categories have connecting options. Baby supplies and Playstations for older kids are available on request.
The Thief has two dining outlets and two bars. The FOODBAR is the main dining outlet with a buzzy ambiance. We didn’t have dinner here, but the breakfast was one of the best that we’ve experienced anywhere at any hotel in the world. Everything presented is handmade using locally sourced produce and protein. From in-house smoked fish to an array of smoothies and from homemade nutella to the biggest pile of perfectly cooked bacon I’ve ever seen, this buffet is paradise for all ages and palates.
FRU K is the fine-dining seafood restaurant, tucked away in an intimate corner. It looked like a place for parents’ night out, but this may be where a babysitting booked with the concierge comes in. There’s also a bar and lounge off the main lobby with snacks and handcrafted cocktails, as well as a rooftop bar.
The in-house spa and fitness center is truly impressive for a hotel of this size and enables guests over 16 to escape the cold with a sauna or steam, or swim in the 12-meter pool. There’s an array of face and body treatments with themes from around the world and a well-equipped fitness center. Children are not allowed in the spa, but it is a blissful escape for their parents.
Weather aside, Oslo is an easy city to get around, with very efficient public transportation. Because everyone speaks English, it’s easy to ask questions, so figuring out the system is not intimidating. We found The Thief to be an ideal location from which to explore the city, and when we were tired at night, we found all kinds of appealing dining options right outside the door.
Editor’s Note: The Thief Hotel Oslo provided a media rate for our stay. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy and The Thief Hotel Oslo.
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