Staying in Stavanger
Located in southwestern Norway, Stavanger is the country's fourth largest city yet retains small-town charm thanks to its preserved wooden architecture from the 18th century. You can find many of these structures along a scenic harbor that draws a mix of small pleasure crafts and large cruise ships. The compact core beckons visitors to wander slowly, especially along the colorful shopping street Øvre Holmegate known for its photogenic boutiques and cafés. The waterfront also hosts a busy schedule of seasonal events, including festivals dedicated to food and art.
For cultural attractions, you can visit the 12th-century Stavanger Cathedral and museums dedicated to the maritime, canning, and petroleum industries—all of which play an important part in Stavanger's rich history. The city is also an excellent hub for outdoor activities in Norway, including famous hikes to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and Kjeragbolten (Kjerag Boulder) and cruises in the Lysefjord, which include a stop in Flørli, where you can climb up the longest wooden staircase in the world (4,444 steps). For more ideas, check out the best things to do in Stavanger.
Eilert Smith Hotel
One of the best luxury boutique hotels in Norway, Eilert Smith Hotel opened in 2019 and is named after the building's original architect: Eilert Smith. Twelve magazine-worthy rooms have luxury amenities and hand-crafted wood furnishings from a Danish company. The single rooms have Nespresso machines, complimentary minibars, and Malin + Goetz bath products, while the higher room categories add kitchenettes and seating areas. There is even a residence on the upper two floors with a panoramic view of the harbor.
Each morning, guests receive a made-to-order breakfast in their rooms based on a seasonal menu, which helps minimize food waste. Though it's practically impossible to get into, guests have a little pull at the on-site restaurant, RE-NAA, which is the only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Norway since one table in the restaurant is reserved for in-house guests. Hotel staff can assist with other quality restaurant reservations, plus in-room spa treatments and private excursions to nearby attractions. Guests also have complimentary access to a gym a short walk away.
The hotel is on a quieter street in Stavanger across from the harbor, with views of boats and occasional cruise ships docked nearby. Though slightly off the beaten path for most visitors, guests are within a 10-minute walk to the city's best shopping and restaurants in nearby cobblestone streets. Learn more
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Hotel Victoria is Stavanger's oldest hotel dating to 1900, and its Neo-Renaissance red-brick exterior is noticeable from all areas of the harbor. The hotel has undergone an extensive renovation and offers much more modern interiors than before when it was a traditional business hotel with a steakhouse. And you can't beat the location across from the ferry terminal, with quick access to a range of boat excursions in the Lysefjord area. It's so central that a large cruise ship might be docked right in front of the hotel.
All 107 rooms have tall ceilings, luxury bedding, and elegant furnishings in neutral tones. Bathrooms have new subway tiles and bath products in eco-friendly pumps. Regarding categories, standard rooms have minibars, kettles, and bathrobes, while superior rooms have Nespresso machines. The deluxe rooms have seating areas with sofa beds that can sleep an additional two guests. These rooms also face the harbor.
An impressive breakfast buffet, included for guests, is served in two adjacent rooms on the second floor with chandeliers and white-table-cloth service. This is an excellent spread with hot and cold items and many healthy options that can easily accommodate vegetarians and gluten-free guests. Downstairs, a stylish restaurant serves lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, and custom cocktails. During the warmer months, you can sit outside on a patio that faces the harbor or grab a loaner bike (if your legs aren't too tired after the hike) and take a spin. Learn more
Thon Hotel Stavanger
Thon Hotel Stavanger is part of a reliable Norwegian chain, and this property received a major interior renovation in 2016. Though it's not on the waterfront like other options on this list, the hotel is located steps from Stavanger's charming shopping and restaurant district and a short walk to the harbor with fjord excursions.
Colorful, contemporary rooms have fresh decor and new bathrooms with walk-in showers. The standard rooms come with kettles, mini-fridges, and rain showers, while superior rooms offer more space and extras like Nespresso machines, Bose speakers, bathrobes, and slippers. Business rooms are the largest category, with sofa beds that can sleep up to four guests.
Start each day with an extensive breakfast buffet (a brand staple) offering espresso drinks and various hot and cold items, including eggs, smoked fish, granola, and smoothies. Another lounge with large windows and street views offers free all-day water, coffee, and tea. Learn more
Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge
The Clarion Collection Hotel Skagen Brygge is an approachable option on the waterfront. The hotel opened in 1988, and the award-winning architecture was inspired by Stavanger's old sea sheds or boathouses during the heyday of its herring fishing industry. While the inspiration behind the design evokes a bygone era, the hotel has a laid-back lobby and front desk with brochures and other traveler conveniences.
One hundred sixteen basic but contemporary rooms have big windows, and a percentage of all categories—even standard—face the waterfront (request upon check-in). All categories have large windows and the same muted color palette with carpeting and bright bursts of jewel tones. Standard rooms have single and double options, while superior rooms offer more space. Deluxe rooms can accommodate up to two extra beds for families, or opt for the two bi-level suites that can sleep five guests.
Clarion's freebies are beloved by repeat guests and include a breakfast buffet, an afternoon treat, and a light evening buffet with a hot and cold item. If the weather is nice, take your food and drink to the outdoor deck surrounded by a white picket fence and potted plants facing the harbor view. Learn more