Norway's capital is swiftly gaining new modern architecture, but there are still a surprising number of hotels that make use of their buildings' historical roots. That's not to say they are dated: all the properties on this list have been restored in recent years with fresh room decor and features like upscale lounges and restaurants that blend nicely with original 19th and 20th-century details. Read on for the best historic hotels in Oslo.

Staying in Oslo

A sunset view of Karl Johans gate, one of Oslo's most historic streets

Norway's bustling yet compact capital is one of Europe's fastest-growing cities, as evidenced while walking around two sections of the city's waterfront: Aker Brygge and Bjørvika. This is where several new cultural attractions in modern buildings by famous and international architects are located. Visitors should dedicate some time to these up-and-coming areas, but let's not leave out the historical side of Oslo, where these eight hotels are based. 

An important chapter in Oslo's formation took place in the early 19th century when the town of Christiania became the capital of the newly independent Kingdom of Norway. A great place to see this period's growth is on the main street, Karl Johans gate, built in the mid-19th century to connect the capital with the Norwegian Royal Palace (pictured here), where the monarchy still resides today. This pedestrian-friendly area provides shopping, sidewalk cafés, and other state institutions like the National Theater and the Norwegian Parliament.

As for exploring the rest of the city, you can see other top attractions within a 30-45 minute walk of Karl Johans gate, including the Nobel Peace Center, Vigeland Sculpture Park, and Munch Museum, housing more than 26,000 works. When your feet need a rest, Oslo's public transportation is available with a single ticketing system for buses, trains, and trams, so you can easily combine a bit of old and new on the same day. For more ideas on what to see and do—even if you only have 24 hours—check out the best things to do in Oslo.

Hotel Continental

This corner hotel has a prime location across from the National Theater (Photo courtesy of Hotel Continental)

With a prime corner location, the Hotel Continental is one of Oslo's longest-running hotels, dating back to 1860; today, it's run by the fourth generation of the same family. It's also centrally located, just a short walk to the Nobel Peace Center and Aker Brygge waterfront area. The hotel completed a major renovation in recent years and today features plush room interiors with upscale amenities, like Nespresso machines, Apple TV, and Molton Brown bath products; some suites have lovely walkout terraces with tables overlooking fjord views. 

A key aspect of this hotel's popularity with locals and tourists is that it boasts one of Oslo's best drinking and dining scenes. The elegant lobby attracts theatergoers for predinner drinks (the National Theater is across the street). At the same time, the historic restaurant Theatercafeen—with a Viennese vibe—features portraits of Norwegian's famous writers and artists from years gone by (check out actual photos of the many celebrities and dignitaries who have dined here). There's also a high-end restaurant that serves set course menus that change weekly, plus a trendy pizzeria for a much more casual night. Learn more

Amerikalinjen

Look for the building's original details in this new hotel (photo courtesy of Amerikalinjen)

Though stylish Amerikalinjen opened in 2019, the concept in its entirety centers around the building's roots as the former headquarters for the Norwegian America Line. This is where immigrants were processed on their way to America in the early 20th century. After a thorough restoration, the hotel's iconic red facade has a great location mere steps from Oslo Central Station, with 20-minute trains to/from the airport). It's also a short stroll to the Oslo Opera House and the new Munch Museum, which opened in 2022.

With a simplistic black-and-white theme, the 122 rooms have parquet floors, tall ceilings, and light fixtures from a Norwegian glass maker. Luxe amenities include Nespresso machines, bathrobes, heated bathroom floors, and upscale bath products. Each room has a brand book where you can learn more about the building's history or just look at the unique nautical objects on the wall that help tell the story. 

The art-filled lobby is the place to sip cocktails in vintage glasses, while an all-day brasserie, Atlas (great for people watching), serves upscale Nordic cuisine from an open kitchen. On weekends, there's Gustav, an underground jazz bar. Health nuts can use the spacious, low-lit fitness center at any time of day. Learn more

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Grand Hotel
LUXURY

This historic hotel received a new spa and indoor pool in the last round of renovations (photo courtesy of Grand Hotel)

The expansive Grand Hotel has a famous historic exterior facing the Norwegian Parliament, making it one of the most sought-after locations in the city. Though this landmark has been bought and renovated by a major Swedish hotel brand (Scandic), the hotel still feels authentic, starting with the lobby restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea under a glass atrium. Other highlights include a swanky indoor tranquility pool, a full-service spa, and a year-round rooftop bar with views and complimentary breakfast served in a charming street-side café. 

The hotel's 280 rooms and suites were renovated in 2016 with modern decor and luxury amenities like Nespresso machines, minibars, bathrobes and slippers, and designer bath products. A range of specialty suites have French balconies—and there's even a Nobel Suite where the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize stays each year. The tradition is to have the winner (or winners) stand on the balcony and accept an ovation. Learn more

Hotel Bristol
LUXURY

Check out the hotel's Moorish architecture in the lobby lounge (photo courtesy of Hotel Bristol)

A block behind the Grand Hotel is Hotel Bristol—one of the oldest stays in Oslo, with Moorish-style architecture and a spacious lobby decorated with murals, velvet chairs, and chandeliers. There were important historical events throughout the past century, from German soldiers checking in during World War II to fashion shows in the 60s to jazz performances attended by sitting US presidents, including Bill Clinton. 

The hotel completed a massive renovation in 2019 in time for its 100th anniversary. The 251 rooms and suites still offer original details, like crown moldings and antique-style furnishings. At the same time, modern additions include luxury linens, Nespresso machines, thick bathrobes, and L'Occitane products in eco-friendly dispensers. 

Guests can start each day with an elegant breakfast buffet featuring organic produce and baked goods from the on-site bakery. Hotel Bristol's bars and restaurants are popular with locals, too, especially the Library Bar with live piano music every day, twice a day, which has been drawing listeners since the 1920s. There's also a traditional afternoon tea service and a steakhouse with an English vibe. Learn more

Karl Johan Hotel

MID-RANGE

The original staircase is one of the hotel's historical details (photo courtesy of Karl Johan Hotel)

The mid-range Karl Johan Hotel has grown to 157 rooms over the years, but its historic facade on Karl Johans gate feels much smaller. The hotel started in the 19th century when it was run by two sisters, Marte and Marie, who had a knack for hospitality. New owners completed a major renovation in 2021. However, you can still find many of the building's original details, like the staircase in the lobby with wrought iron handrails or a glass atrium providing natural light during breakfast. 

Bright rooms facing the street or inner courtyard take advantage of the original tall ceilings, especially the large corner suites with arched windows. Contemporary wood furnishings include plush beds and bedside outlets, while new tile bathrooms have upscale bath products. When not in the rooms, relax in a bi-level lounge with seasonal outdoor tables, where you can sip drinks with views of the Parliament building across the street. 

When it's time to explore, the central location is steps from the city's best shopping and theaters and about a 15-minute walk to Oslo Central Station with regular express trains to and from the airport. You can also walk to the Nobel Peace Center and the lively Aker Brygge waterfront area in about 15 minutes. Learn more

Hotel Christiania Teater
MID-RANGE

An upscale pizzeria on the second floor overlooks the street (photo courtesy of Hotel Christiania Teater)

The 102-room Hotel Christiania Teater has a romantic Neo-Renaissance facade. It's centrally located between the National Theater and Parliament building—just steps from Karl Johans gate on the other side of a lengthy plaza that holds seasonal events and parades. Though the hotel opened in 2008, the building dates back to a century earlier, when it first opened as a theater. Tucked in the rear, the space is still used for private events ranging from business conventions to weddings (ask the staff for a tour). 

To get to the theater means walking through a trendy lobby and bar area with dark, rich colors and eclectic decor that wouldn't feel out of place on a film set. On the second floor is Restaurant Teatro, an upscale pizzeria with an extensive wine list with windows facing the street and plaza where seasonal events occur. This space is also where the hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg dishes. 

Room categories range from cozy single rooms to spacious suites with unique wallpapers and furnishings in bold colors and patterns. They have hardwood floors, tall ceilings, minibars stocked with beverages and snacks, kettles, and CO Bigelow bath products. Some decor updates are expected to occur in 2022. Learn more

Camillas Hus

MID-RANGE

Each room is unique with original details and classic furnishings (photo courtesy of Camillas Hus)

The elegant Camillas Hus boutique hotel is part of a series of preserved clapboard buildings on the street that date back to the mid-19th century. This is a more intimate hotel experience than others on this list, and a member of the small staff will check you in and show you your room through a back entrance to the main house. It can feel as if arriving at a friend's home—a friend who lives across the street from Palace Park with walking and jogging paths surrounding the Norwegian Royal Palace.

There are only seven rooms, each decorated with tasteful decor and period furnishings. All rooms include bathrobes, slippers, and L'Occitane bath products; many have stand-alone bathtubs. Though the hotel is a bit removed from Karl Johans gate—about 10 minutes on foot through the park—there is an upscale restaurant next door serving lunch and dinner with an impressive wine list. The restaurant also has a private room where guests dine on complimentary made-to-order breakfasts, served daily. Learn more

Hotell Bondeheimen

STANDARD

Some rooms still have original wood beams (photo courtesy of Hotell Bondeheimen)

For history lovers on a budget, the Hotell Bondeheimen is a more affordable option in the heart of Oslo—one block from Karl Johans gate—with an impressive sustainability program. Though the interiors are fully renovated, you can find elements of history dating to 1913, when the hotel was a base for writers, artists, and actors. Each of the 145 guest rooms is attached to a former writer or cultural figure; look for a quotation accompanied by a portrait and biographical information in each room. Some rooms also offer original details like wood-beamed ceilings. 

A trendy lobby restaurant prepares an extensive breakfast buffet daily with organic items. At the same time, Norwegian specialties are available for lunch and dinner when the space transitions to Kaffistova, a restaurant popular with locals. There isn't a hotel bar; the front desk sells beverages and snacks throughout the day, including wine and beer. Learn more