The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo, Norway ***

Q: What is it? A: A very designed and newly opened hotel located on the Tjuvholmen island, overlooking the Oslo Fjord. And a very welcome addition to accommodations available in the Norwegian capital.

The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo – the exterior
Everything is new in this new neighborhood in Oslo. And the hotel itself opened as late as the 9th of January 2013. Ajas Mellbye of Mellbye Architekter AS is responsible for the design.

The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo – the lobby
They have been working quite hard to keep their artsy image up. Mr. Sune Nordgren heads the hotel’s art concept in collaboration with the Astrup Fearnley Museum. As a result you’re looking at Richard Prince’s lithography ”Cowboy – The Horse Thief”. Current value; approx. USD 5,4 million.

The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo – the bed
The bed from the Swedish company Hilding is even more comfy than it looks, equipped with down duvets from HØIE. Note the plush plaid. The idea promoted is to use it while sitting on the balcony. Jaa, all rooms come with a balcony (see below).

The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo – the view (well, almost)
What you (almost) see through your window: Your balcony. The Tjuvholmen area is so new that construction work is still ongoing everywhere, which made spending time outside less pleasant. Armchair designed by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia.

The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo – bathroom
Where you clean up your act. A monsoon shower may come in handy at such moments. The hotel is also bragging about its Vittorio marble. Well, OK then… Amenities from the Cotswold-based brand Ila-Spa.

The Thief, Tjuvholmen, Oslo – the bike outside the entrance
Oslo-born architect Niels Torp is the man behind the transformation. If you visit a restaurant in the area, you are likely to be asked if you want to put the meal on the room bill. I’d like to emphasize that the concept includes the external restaurants located on Tjuvholmen.

Absolutely no expenses spared…
It’s clearly not the work of a committee. Very little in this hotel looks or feels like a compromise. And of course, it comes with some bold signature-features of Norwegian ”investor, hotel tycoon, property developer and environmentalist” Petter A. Stordalen. Inhale and you will recognize the solid and well-manicured smell of money – or quality if you like. It’s interesting what kind of emotions a guy like Stordalen is able to provoke in the well-behaved Nordic region where you are supposed to be humble and discreet (the idea of bashing Ian Schrager for his extrovert hotel creations has yet to come to me).

It’s on an island – the thieves island.
Tjuvholmen translates to Thieves Island, as thieves were executed here in the 18th century. The area was used for docks and shipyards until the early 80s. Now the renewal of the waterfront part of the central Oslo is almost completed and the hotel together with the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art are two of the keys in this complete transformation. Everything is new here; cutting-edge new; the feeling of driving a new Audi out of the car salesman’s garage-new. And the hotel opened as late as January 9, 2013. This is something I try to keep in mind during my stay. A place often need a bit of time to just adjust and become comfortable in its own clothes. This has yet to happen at the Thief. It’s like a pair of shoes that hasn’t been broken in yet, because it’s…

…so brand spankin’ new.
Hardly a scratch on the furniture. The espresso machine – squeaky clean. Has the bathroom ever been used? But, I’d better spell this out; the room is attractive. It’s not minimalistic but more homey than the pictures reveal but I’m almost afraid to touch things. Front desk is charming and ridiculously good-looking. However, they make a mistake with a taxi (guests get booking receipts printed out by reception), causing me to pay for another guest who hasn’t arrived to a waiting car in time. That is taken care of later, with a letter from the management, and a future discount. Nice gesture, but the damage was already made.

Another little room for improvement…
Breakfast is of the Scandinavian kind, meaning the more generous kind, meaning the good kind. But here I detect some glitches in service. Waiting 15 minutes on a cup of coffee (after a waiter gently stopped me from using the coffee machine myself – the simple flat-front type with six buttons to press). Orders are forgotten. I’m getting the sense that the staff are having problems to keep up, and the restaurant isn’t even half full. I’m pretty certain that it can be fixed. They will. They must. Because on this level there are very little things that separates the mediocre from the amazing. The flaws become so much more visible. And feel so much more unnecessary. So for the moment, I’m stealing one and a half star from you guys. So put me in jail or improve…

The Thief
Landgangen 1
0252 Oslo

+47 24 00 40 00

Book The Thief in Oslo simply by clicking here!

Link to another of Petter A Stordalens more recent ventures: The Copperhill Mountain Lodge in Åre.

Also at the Thief: a 750sqm spa with a swimming pool, training facilities and the usual equipment for sweating and relaxing and drinking over-the-top garnished strawberry smoothies.

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