Classical European grandeur, luxurious rooms, and a chance to feel the living pulse of history awaits those entering the Grand Hotel Oslo, easily among the finest examples of traditional Grand Hotels. From the royal ambience of the stately lobby (bedecked with chandeliers and a grand piano) to the absolutely plush rooms, the Grand Hotel Oslo pulls out all the stops in making guests feel like visiting dignitaries. This should come as no surprise, since the Grand Hotel has played host to countless actual visiting dignitaries. Its Nobel Suite is where Nobel prize winners give interviews, and it’s from this suite’s balcony that more famous recipients (including such notable guests as the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela) traditionally greet crowds.
Yet the Grand manages to be luxurious without being overly ostentatious, in part due to small touches of artistic whimsy found within the hotel. Rooms are immaculate (as one would expect), and all feature top-of-the-line furnishings, fixtures, and unique objets d’art. Of special note is the Ladies Floor, a section with art-adorned hallways and 13 unique rooms, each designed with a distinctly feminine touch (including yoga mats, spa and beauty products, and special menus) and around the central theme of notable women from contemporary Norway such as Sami musician Mari Boine and golfer Suzann Pettersen.
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The Grand Hotel is a major feature of Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s central plaza. The cobblestone pedestrian plaza is filled with shops, restaurants, historical spots of interest, and, of course, pedestrians. Extending from Oslo Central Station at the Plaza’s eastern edge to the beautiful Royal Palace Park in the west, Karl Johans Gate is quite possibly the best spot in Oslo for people watching year-round.
Need to Know
Rooms: 292 rooms, 54 suites. From $240. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Just off the main lobby, Palm Court offers an exquisite farm-to-table fine dining experience beneath a glass atrium ceiling. Palm Court serves new Nordic cuisine using fruits, berries, meat, and vegetables sourced from local farms and fish caught in Norwegian waters. The Grand Café is where is breakfast (included in the room rate) is served, and was once a favorite of both Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen. (Legend has it that Grand Café staff would set their watches by Ibsen’s arrival for both lunch and dinner.) The Grand Café serves salmon, lamb and other traditional Scandinavian dishes, and, like the Palm Court, sources most of its ingredients from local small scale producers. Spa and gym details: Artesia Spa Grand Hotel has seven different treatment rooms offering traditional Scandinavian massages, facials, a VIP Room, a Finnish sauna, and a rooftop pool lined with birch trees (hand picked by the spa’s architect). The overall feeling is at once distinctly natural and uniquely Nordic.
Who’s it for: Nobel prize winners; also ordinary travelers looking to experience life at a classic European Grand Hotel in the heart of central Oslo. Our favorite room: Purple is the dominant color of the beautiful Mikado Suite, a 775 square-foot, two-room suite with a study, a walk-in closet and a French balcony facing the main plaza. Local highlight: Walk through the Palm Court to the restaurant’s smaller, more intimate seating area in the back to check out the wall lined with photos of Nobel Prize recipients and other international luminaries who have stayed at the Grand over the years.