This is my review of The Thief hotel in Oslo.
The Thief is probably the best hotel in Oslo, although the competition isn’t much. It’s not part of one of the six major global chains we cover but I am reviewing it because – as I covered yesterday – you can get an exceptional deal on this hotel by buying Choice Privileges points during a promotion.
I saved over 70%, using £92 of bought points per night to get a room selling for £340. I explained how I did that in this article.
The other reason I am reviewing The Thief is that I was really impressed by it – and I don’t know why.
On the face of it, it didn’t tick a lot of my boxes, especially over room size. On a remarkably sunny night in Oslo, however, there was something magical about working in the beautifully designed room with my balcony door flung open, boats bobbing away below me in the water and the chatter and laughter from the harbourside restaurants hanging in the air.
(Day 2 was more typical Oslo – cloudy and drizzly – but I won’t dwell on that!)
I flew to Oslo from London Gatwick in style, in Norse Atlantic’s Premium cabin. Read my review here.
The Thief is in Tjuvholmen, a new waterside district full of glassy (and glossy) apartments, restaurants, shops and galleries.
Directly opposite the hotel is the Astrup Fearnley Museum, designed by Renzo Piano and filled with modern art. Hotel guests get free entry by showing their room key which is a decent saving. Entry is usually NOK 150 / £13 per person.
It is about 15 minutes walk from National Theatre station, which is the next stop after Central Station if you take the airport express train (£18 per person each way, cheaper local trains are available). Take the short stroll down to the water, turn right and keep going. You approach the hotel from the direction shown in the photograph above.
Oslo is a small city so everything is walkable. That said, you are about as far away from the new Munch Museum and the opera house as you can get if you are staying in the city centre. You do, however, have the new National Museum very close and the Astrup Fearnley Museum literally next door.
If you are visiting in Summer I think it is a great location to enoy the sun. If you stay elsewhere I strongly recommend coming down to the area to spend time in the waterside restaurants and cafes.
I was quickly checked in (note that the hotel is entirely cash free). Whilst I had booked a Standard room according to Choice Privileges, my confirmation from the hotel itself said Superior and this is what I received. The difference appears to be the bathtub and a few extra square metres of space.
It was on the 7th floor. Norway uses the US floor numbering system, so we would see this as the 6th floor.
The pictures don’t really do the room justice, because you can’t see the quality of what is there. You also don’t fully see how the whole room has a coherent design, with everything chosen to work together.
What you can see above is the floor to ceiling window, which is actually a small balcony with a sliding door. This is what I saw looking towards the city:
…. and this was the view towards the water, with the art museum on the right:
The bathroom had one oddity – the entrance was next to the bed, instead of in the hallway by the door as is the case with 90% of hotel bathroom entrances. As the shower and loo both had separate doors this wasn’t an issue, and you could at least have a chat with your partner if they were in the bath and you were on the bed!
The single sink wasn’t ideal. The sink was also made of a plastic material – no marble here.
No boutique hotel worth its salt can avoid the quirky minibar, of course. In this case I could take my pick from:
- bamboo socks (41-46)
- no-show socks (36-40)
- two-pack of bamboo boxer shorts
- two-pack of bamboo hipster briefs
- silk eye mask
- an expensive looking face cream
- a selection of knitted bangles
- deodorant spray
- a detox kit (lavender oil, cooling head strips, re-hydrating sachet, herbal supplements)
- Marvis toothpaste
Luckily I didn’t need any of these items. If I had, they would have been cheaper at two handy Tesco Express-style shops within a five minute walk among the restaurants – these are also good for a quick snack if you don’t want an expensive full meal.
The wardrobe isn’t huge and a couple would struggle for more than 3-4 days. There is a Nespresso-style coffee machine but not an original.
It’s also worth mentioning the lights. How many hotels have you ever visited with NO light switch by the door as you enter? The main lights are activated automatically as you come in, with separate controls by the bed for reading lights. The same happens in the bathroom, with a switch only if you want a higher level of illumination.
Wi-fi was excellent and free.
There is more going on in the hotel than the small lobby implies.
The ground floor has a smart bar, albeit closed. However, the rooftop bar was open (PR photo):
This is less flashy than I expected – I had visions of some sort of East London hangout, but it is nothing of the kind. Because this is Oslo and the sun is a rare visitor, it has a roof and side panels that can be closed off.
There is also a rooftop steak restaurant.
Almost all hotels in Norway seem to include free breakfast, which is a good way of filling up if you’re on a budget. I couldn’t get any photos because it was busy. It is a very pleasant room on the 2nd floor. The spread isn’t the biggest you’ll ever see – I couldn’t see any breakfast cereal for a start – but everything is well done. There didn’t appear to be any cooked to order items although there were plenty of hot options available.
The Thief also has what appears to be a very smart spa, including a small pool. This is not free to hotel guests, unfortunately, so I didn’t try it – I didn’t think that NOK 295 (£25) was good value for a quick swim and sauna. The gym is free.
If you’re looking for somewhere smart and well designed to stay in Oslo, I strongly recommend The Thief.
This isn’t just because of the hotel, but because of the whole package – the hotel, the traffic-free neighbourhood, the waterside surroundings, all of the neighbouring shops, restaurants and bars and the modern art museum opposite. If the sun is out you could spend a pleasant weekend there without ever leaving Tjuvholmen.
My article on how to buy Choice Privileges points for cheap Scandinavian hotel redemptions via the ‘Nordic Choice’ group is here. Otherwise, you’re looking at £300+ for a room in high season, and even at those prices it seems tricky to find availability on many days.
Hotel offers update – September 2022:
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.
Want to buy hotel points?
- World of Hyatt is offering a 30% discount when you buy points by 30th September 2022. You can buy here.