Sleek and sexy, from the subtle lighting in the lobby to the seven-story central atrium featuring works by contemporary Russian artist Ekaterina (aka Ekaterina Ganchukova), the First Hotel Grims Grenka has an artistic, chic feel that sits nicely with the Old World vibe of the surrounding neighborhood. Accommodations are modern and minimalist in design, with pronounced edges and bold colors. Themed after each of the four seasons, the guestrooms in all categories are furnished with large platform beds and flat-panel LCD screens, while the larger deluxe rooms have broad-cushioned couches and more than enough space to entertain for those here on business. Nice touches abound in bathrooms, including the partially mirrored walls over the sinks and waterfall showers (double-overhead in some rooms). All rooms feature single-button mood control lighting, where pushing buttons marked work, play, and sleep will automatically shift the room's mood. Outward-facing rooms offer lighted catwalks with views of the surrounding city, while inner-facing rooms have windows overlooking the glass-ceilinged atrium and lobby bar.
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Although Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main shopping and tourist hub, is a mere five-minute walk to the north, and the old stone walls of the Akershus Fortress and Castle sit just a block to the south, the neighborhood surrounding the Grims Grenka is surprisingly un-touristy. Classical old Europe though they are, most of the buildings around the hotel are filled with offices, so once the workday is over the neighborhood gets quiet. The Dubliner (Rådhusgate 28), a lovely Irish pub with live music Wednesdays through Saturdays, is just around the corner. Offering Norwegian dining in a 17th-century setting, the Gamle Raadhus Restaurant (Nedre Slottsgate 1) is also nearby. Serving fish and meat dishes in a more contemporary setting, Café Skansen (Rådhusgate 32) is a block farther.
Need to Know
Rooms: 65 rooms, including 17 suites. From $150. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the casual, lobby-level MADU features Nordic cuisine in a chic environment matching that of the hotel. It’s also where the complimentary buffet breakfast—a spread of meats, local cheeses, fruits and, of course, smoked salmon—is served until 10 a.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. on weekends. Brooms & Hatchets, a low-key bar with a distinctly subdued, Nordic feel, serves cocktail creations made by bartender Mathias Alsen, who is something of a local legend in Oslo. Spa and gym details: The hotel has a small basement fitness room, open 24 hours, with weights and a few cardio machines.
Who’s it for: Business travelers looking for a place close to (but not on) the main drag; Oslo's young and hip set looking for a chic place to unwind. Our favorite room: With its very open feel and crisp mixture of dark reds, black, and gold, room 410 (a Loft Suite) has an especially sexy vibe about it. Deck with a view: Head up to the seventh floor, where the outdoor Q Lounge offers unparalleled views of nearby Akershus Fortress and Castle and the surrounding neighborhood's beveled rooftops. Though the lounge itself is open only from mid-May through September, the deck is accessible year-round and is a great place for photographers.