Oslo’s coolest luxury hotel, The Thief, is a cultivated hangout, with Sir Peter Blake pieces in-suite, Julian Opie artworks in the lift and Warhols in fine-dining restaurant Fru K. It’s not quite the second-coming of the Factory, but a pop art paradise nonetheless, thanks to input from the Astrup Fearnley gallery next door. Sultry navy blue and sienna rooms, a disco suite (designed by supergroup Apparatjik) and balcony views of the surrounding fjords set a high standard for nouveau Nordic chic, and the concrete-lined spa is set for stolen moments.
Sleek designer decor
Big-name pop art pieces
Buzzy bar scene
Free entry to the Thief Spa (usually £20 for each guest from Monday to Friday, £40 on weekends)
In the know
Also need to know:
Public areas are wheelchair accessible, lifts go to all floors and facilities are offered for the hearing-impaired. There are 12 specially equipped rooms for mobility-impaired guests. Orthopaedic pillows, a humidifier and ioniser can be ordered in room.The hotel’s nooks and crannies hold artworks curated by Sune Nordgren, former director of the National Museum. These are no washed-out watercolours: big-ticket names such as Anthony Gormley and Sir Peter Blake and respected Nordic artists Bård Breivik and Kjell Nupen provide a colourful splash of pop. Art tours through the hotel are available on request. Private meals can be arranged on the roof terrace too.
The Thief’s concierge has mapped out shopping routes covering Oslo’s best fashion, beauty and home wares. Grab a guide from reception and clear some suitcase space for achingly hip Norwegian brands like Mardou & Dean.
Upmarket and au fait; with Norway’s coolest kids and culture-makers dining next to you, style stakes are high. Mr Smith should pack proper shoes and don a jacket.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
The Thief Hotel. Very tall, very glassy, suave and arty – hardly been there three minutes and I’m already feeling a bit secret agent. Captivated by installations, prints and paintings, my inclination is that I’m about to be charmed by the quaint precision of the Scandinavians. After my jaw drops, I struggle to not hum John Barry, one hand on my carry-on luggage, letting my imagination carry. I'm overexcited and under packed, and a man with a smile as wide as the Cheshire cat makes a gesture at me that is so friendly I fear for a masked agenda or malevolent plan. Turns out he is just really lovely. Feeling bubbly, we float up to the eighth floor in the warmth of no-immediate hurry.
‘Wasn’t that man just lovely?’
‘Yes he was.’
‘Shall we check in again?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous.’
Four doors along a chocolate corridor and we’re in. Magic magnet key gives the magic lock a kiss and then, once again, our pupils are presented with an impressive level of sophistication. The bed's almost as wide as the hotelier’s grin; we set our bags aside and let the feathers give in. Soft and cloudy. More hand-picked fine, slick art decides to hang with us. Rainforest shower. Decent dressing gown. Temporarily occupying this room feels like slipping on a good pair of socks. I hadn’t packed any socks but the room has some in a drawer of practical treasure. Underwear too. I haven’t mentioned the view.
For five stars you’d expect to see at least that amount in a night sky from your window. Tonight it feels like we’ll see the whole universe. The view is a joke. That’s slang for good. The window is a bit Bill and Ted in that you can see ‘far out’ and it was ‘awesome’. I can see the organised, chic layout of the docklands surrounding us. A bit further away I can see some kind of archaic settlement. A cruiseship the size of a small town. I am happy where we are though.
Snazzy is a word that wouldn’t really do this hotel justice. Dinner is on the cards. The magic magnet card was on the table as Mr and Ms Smith fumble into attire they consider to be fabulous.
‘I think I’m going to tuck my shirt into my trousers.’
‘I think I’m going to wear wedges.’
No one other than us has really dressed up for dinner. Similarly, no one really cares that we have dressed up for dinner. It’s fun to play dress up. Napkin in my collar so my shirt doesn’t get messed up. What’s on the menu? For starters, the restaurant is on the hotel’s roof, so they’d quite literally upped the levels in regards to the view. Ponchos if you’re chilly or just feeling silly. We are. Stuck them on instantly. The service was impeccable. Oslo’s quality of life must be pretty respectable. The remains of meat and vegetables left little else other than satisfied as suggestible, splashed out on a fine wine flowing conversation aided digestion. Less tense, I felt at home.
‘How was the food sir?’
‘Yeah, it was mental.’
Spaaaaaah. Onomatopoeic. The menage à trois of one’s self plus hotel and spa is difficult to surpass. We book a couple of treatments and look forward to what the treats mean for our mental and physical stability. The time comes. Glass elevator… secret ground floor… we spend the whole evening in the spa, couldn’t ask for more. Service deserving of further applause (it’s getting ridiculous now) – I’m even able to purchase shorts (that I hadn’t packed). Encouraged to learn more about Scandinavian sauna traditions – we are in bliss. Beautiful lights. Calming music.
‘You must use the salts in the steam room before you go!’
Skin fizzing and glistening we saunter into the glass elevator and hope it didn’t shoot through the roof. The allure of the room remained true. In our absence it’d been turned down, ready for the shady hours. On a little table lay two small brownies, two Earl Grey tea bags.
Had this hotel done some personal research on us?
The sparse, contemporary beauty of Oslo twinkled around a darkened ocean.
‘So do you fancy going out and getting smashed then?’
‘I’m easy with whatever to be honest.’
‘Let’s just stay in.’
Landgangen 1, Oslo, N-0252
0.7 mi / 1.2 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Room service
- Onsite laundry
Fru K (named after a former Tjuvholmen native), serves delightful Nordic fare. Chef Johan Laursen plundered Norway’s best produce for his tasting menus, which showcase Lofoten-caught cod, langoustines from Otrøya island and reindeer fillets from Nordås. Guests sit on velvet banquettes and armchairs. Lunch – either a chef’s choice three-course meal or hot sharing plates and marina-caught seafood – is served in the first-floor dining room or the Thief’s Foodba – the new heart and soul of the hotel. Take a seat in the super-stylish restaurant and tuck into sizzling snacks and hearty comfort foods with a Scandinavian spin. Breakfast is a hefty smorgasbord of homemade paté, fresh bread from Kolonihagan bakery, meat and cheese platters, 'perfect' eggs (cooked at 64°C), fruit salad, yoghurt and fresh juices. Fru K closes over the summer and will reopen 22 August.
In summer, take in Tjuvholmen’s quirky, cutting edge architecture and canal views from the seasonal terrace. If it’s chilly outside, clock chic locals from Fru K’s window.
Monday to Friday, breakfast is from 6.30am to 10am (till 11am and later on weekends). Lunch is from 11.30am to 2.30pm (1pm to 5pm on Saturdays). Dinner is 6pm to 10pm, and the bar closes at 1am Sunday to Wednesday and 1.30am Thursday to Saturday.
From 6am to 11.30pm (Monday to Saturday, 11pm on Sundays), omelettes, salads, burgers and sandwiches are served. The night menu has three tasty items: chicken soup, a roast beef sandwich with Thybo cheese, and fruit salad with granola and yoghurt.
A Tom Ford light installation dimly illuminates the hotel’s moody art deco-style bar. Muse over objets d’art in gold cubby holes and nod along to DJ-spun tunes while sipping master mixologist Chris Grøtvedt’s concoctions – the Nordic Nina gives you a splash of local flavour, with caraway-flavoured tipple Aquavit, yuzu sake, absinthe and green tea-flavoured syrup, lemon and torched star anise. Book launches and artist talks are frequently held here, and Thief Unplugged live music sessions take place twice a month. From May, sparkling drinks and rum-heavy summer cocktails are served on the roof terrace, which overlooks Holmkollen Ski Museum and Akershus Fortress.
# night(s) ---