Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mum's gone to review The Thief Hotel, Oslo

What better way to escape the ominous arrival of my 50th birthday than to jet off to Oslo and lock myself away in the seriously chic Design Hotel, The Thief.

We have stayed in two other Design Hotels in recent years: The Hotel Urban in Madrid and the Nobis Hotel in Stockholm. Both hotels exude quality and style in huge measures. The Thief, young whippersnapper that it is, having only opened in 2013, is already stealing people's hearts with its contemporary architecture, luxurious furnishings and stunning waterfront location.

Its owner, billionaire Petter Stordalen, has a passion for art that has made this hotel truly unique. A collaboration with the new Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art next door has enabled Stordalen to acquire many superb pieces which adorn public areas as well as bedroom walls.

An Antony Gormley figure can be seen just outside the entrance; a £1.7m Andy Warhol painting looks down on diners in the Fru K restaurant; and in the lifts, Julian Opie's huge, colourful video installations blink at you in a rather unnerving way as you travel up to your room.

Breakfast in Fru K restaurant with Andy Warhol painting.


Two photos of Julian Opie's video installation in one of the elevators. 
She blinks and her ear-rings gently sway. (Apologies for husband's reflection)
The lobby is vast and yet there are quiet corners where the lighting is subdued and the sofas are squashy and inviting, ideal for reading a book, having a coffee or a game of chess. All the furnishings are, naturally, very chic but are comfortable and seductive at the same time.

The Thief's lobby and lounge area
The bedrooms are stunning with the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in. Wooden floors, thick rugs and warm blankets are unmistakably Scandinavian but the rich red of the wardrobe interiors and the chocolate brown and gold walls give a nod to somewhere steamy and hot. It's a very sensual room.

The Thief doesn't just provide a mini-bar, it has an eclectic selection of items it reckons its guests might want to purchase: socks, underwear, tights, nail polish, cuff-links with tractors on them, a shirt and discreetly packaged condoms. If all that Norwegian fresh air has exhausted you, however, the turn-down service offers a flask of hot water and a Night Time organic oatflower, lavender and limeflower tea to aid sleep. The thick, ultra-soft, mink-coloured bathrobes are divine: never before have I coordinated perfectly with a room while wearing a dressing gown..

The Thief bedroom
The main restaurant, Fru K, was closed for a few weeks during the summer when we visited so we weren't able to try it out but it's seen as one of, if not the best restaurant in the city. At least we were able to have breakfast there and experience its enveloping chairs while enjoying an extensive Norwegian buffet and freshly-made cappuccino.

We didn't manage to make it to the spa either but I gather it has brought together the best of Turkish, Moroccan and German rituals in surroundings influenced by the Norwegian landscape. I can imagine this would be the perfect way to spend a day in the dark winter months but as the temperature outside was a balmy 25 degrees plus, we made the most of the long summer days and evenings outside.


The Thief is located in Tjuvholmen (Thief Island), an area notorious for crime in the 18th century. Now it's part of a rejuvenated waterfront, with restaurants, office buildings and apartments, all sharing modern, striking architecture. Although it's an excellent choice for a business hotel, The Thief is perfect for leisure breaks as the ambience is very chilled: people saunter along the board-walk and sit outside at the numerous restaurants looking out into the harbour. In the hotel, all rooms have balconies, so there's a definite feeling of being on holiday. Deluxe rooms have a view through to the fjord.

View from balcony of Room 510

Service is unstuffy but attentive. Our only complaint was a faulty TV which we reported but had to contact reception again after nothing had been done after a day. But this was minor. Who needs to watch what's happening in the real world when The Thief has transported you to another world of luxury and decadence.

Disclosure: We chose The Thief Hotel for our celebratory break but negotiated discounted rates in return for a review. 



34 comments:

  1. I've never been to Norway, although I have cousins there (no Scandi blood, one of my first cousins married a Norwegian guy). I've always fancied a trip and your review makes it look fab!

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    1. So far we have loved all the Scandinavian countries we have visited - there is something so chilled about them. Norway was very expensive though. Hotels not too bad, in keeping with other capital cities but food and drink in restaurants very steep.

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  2. The hotel looks amazing, very luxurious. Quite right for a birthday celebration trip too.

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    1. It was perfect - far better than the stress of organising a party back home!

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  3. Wow. I imagine it's like sleeping, eating and living inside an artwork.

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    1. I hadn't realised the significance of some of the artwork until we returned -then I thought, blimey, I've been sitting next to a priceless painting while supping my morning cuppa!

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  4. What a completely fabulous place to stay! Can't wait to hear what you thought of the rest of Oslo? Or did you just stay in the hotel? I might have been tempted to do that... :D

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    1. Tempting but there was so much to do. Lots to tell you about Oslo in the coming weeks. X

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  5. The hotel looks amazing! I especially like the look of the lobby. And I'm a ten pillow in a bed kind of girl, this hotel looks right up my street :-D

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    1. Ha! I loved the idea of the tenth pillow, very Princess and the Pea.
      Thanks for stopping by to comment :-)

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  6. Been wanting to visit Oslo. Hotel looks really eclectic and interesting. Thanks for sharing the pics (including pic of husband!).

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    1. I'm so glad we decided to go. Husband has been going on about The Thief ever since we read reviews on its opening. So worth it.

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  7. Fab, lucky you. I wrote about this hotel for work - I think they had an art installation where you could sleep next to an (interactive) member of A-Ha for the night?

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    1. Yes, I think it's the Apparatjik suite - looks totally bonkers!

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  8. Fabulous place, very tempted! :) Glad you had such a lovely time and again... happy birthday! xx

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    1. Thank you. Am now recovering from the shock of this new decade...but slowly :-) xx

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  9. Looks just the place for a 50th birthday treat! What a lovely view from the room, and that board-walk looks very appealing.

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    1. Such a treat and yes, can't beat a great boardwalk.

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  10. Oh Glorious, what a wondrous place - good on you! Went once to Oslo, journalism trip loved all the oysters and food and generous peoplel

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    1. The people were lovely, I agree. Didn't try their oysters though...

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  11. Mys husband and I traveled to Norway before the kids came along, and we loved it. I often wonder about going back - this hotel looks lovely, and such glorious design. I love your photo of the lounge from above as well; really captured it brilliantly.

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    1. Sometimes I am disappointed with my snaps when I come home, but am pleased with these.
      Yes, do go back sometime, Helen.

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  12. Norway is on my list of places I'd love to travel to - this hotels looks lovely *hatches plan to farm the kids off to Grandma*

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    1. Yes, get them farmed out Annie!

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  13. Never been to Norway but I always wanted to go. maybe when we are older. I love the view from your room!

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    1. We didn't really start doing city breaks with my son until he as about 10 - you have lots of time to fit Norway into your future plans.

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  14. That hotel looks amazing - I'd love to visist x x

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    1. It is...we loved the style and yet, for a top hotel, it was very relaxed.

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  15. I for one adore the husbands reflection in the image.

    Hotel looks lovely and swanky as well x

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    1. He has to get his mush in somewhere.....

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  16. Ooooh, that looks fabulous. I hope you had a lovely birthday!

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    1. I did, thanks Emma. Apologies to my friends who thought they might get a party.

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  17. Oh wow, what a stunning space! Shame you didn't get to try the restaurant, but the design looks incredible, just my taste :)

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    1. We were able to experience the restaurant at breakfast so at least we knew what it felt like to sit in it. They did have a food bar but we decided to eat out instead.

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