Oslo's waterfront continues to be a magnet for art, tech, and dining out—and its center of gravity is undoubtedly The Thief (rooms from $800). Perched at the water’s edge in Tjuvholmen, the 116-room property splashed down in 2013 and quickly became a favored address of the jet set. All the markers of international taste are here: dark woodwork, sumptuous fabrics, dim lighting, glassy rooms with sea-facing balconies, a sensational spa, and lots of big-name contemporary art on loan from the nearby Astrup Fearnley Museum. (The hotel’s owner helped build the museum as well as develop Tjuvholmen itself.)
Trying to win back the hotel crown is the city’s original grande dame, Hotel Continental (rooms from $355). It just overhauled its 153 rooms and lobby, which is lined with Edvard Munch lithographs. The redo has kept the tradition but lost the fussiness, and added the new Bar Boman to complement its beloved Theatercaféen restaurant.
By spring, another new hotel will have debuted in the city: The company behind The Thief is creating Amerikalinjen, Oslo’s answer to the Ace, within the old Norwegian American Line building—where, in the early 1900s, more than 900,000 emigrants began their journeys to America. Each of the 122 rooms feels like an industrial loft, with high ceilings and eclectic furnishings, a look that carries over to the Atlas Brasserie and Café, Gustav jazz club, and cocktail bar Pier 42.