Staying in Oslo
Most visitors stick to the compact city center when deciding where to stay in Norway's capital. Many of the best things to do in Oslo are here, which are easily accessible on foot, making the city ideal for walking. By pure coincidence, the three boutique hotels featured in this article are on the north side of the city center with easy access to Aker Brygge, a modern waterfront area with restaurants, shops, and museums, as well as Palace Park, where the Royal Palace resides. Another perk of being on the north side is easier access to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, with more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland.
With a good pair of walking shoes, you can hoof it to more attractions on the south side of the city in about 30-40 minutes, including Karl Johans gate for shopping and cafés, the Oslo Central Station with express service to and from the airport, and architectural gems like the Munch Museum and Oslo Opera House. Another way to get around Oslo like a local is to hop on public transportation—i.e., buses, trams, and underground trains—which uses one ticketing system.
With only seven guest rooms in a wooden clapboard house, Camillas Hus is about as intimate as it gets. You'll be rewarded with tasteful decor and a small staff providing warm service. And though there aren't many common areas besides the front desk space, the next-door restaurant is a classy spot for lunch and dinner and offers guests complimentary made-to-order breakfast, served daily.
The bedrooms are individually decorated with elegant decor, and the tall ceilings and oversized windows add to the roomy feel. Guests can help themselves to the minibar, tea and coffee, and a plate of fresh fruit on arrival. Other cushy perks include bathrobes, slippers, and L'Occitane bath products. Moreover, Camillas Hus sits directly across from the Palace Park, where the Norwegian monarchy resides—great for travelers interested in long walks or jogs through manicured paths and flowering gardens. Parking in a private outdoor lot is also free for guests, a nice bonus. Learn more
The 47-room Saga Hotel is a brick building set on a tree-fringed street in the Majorstuen neighborhood, close to independent shops, bookstores, and restaurants. The entrance is easy to spot, lined with red carpet. One or two staff members take care of the front desk, and there are seating spaces on the main floor, ranging from lounge areas for reading or working to a cozy bar with candles that serves wine and beer in the evenings. A complimentary breakfast buffet is served on the lower level each morning, and staff can arrange a takeaway option for early departures.
Rooms have varying layouts given the historic architecture, with either carpet or hardwood-style floors. All rooms have Nespresso machines, minibars, and flat-screen TVs, while bathrooms have walk-in showers. The hotel also manages nearby one-bedroom apartments with kitchens, some of which have sofa beds for families.
Though the hotel is a little farther from the city center, this is an excellent base for travelers who want peaceful environs and quality time in Palace Park and Vigeland Sculpture Park as it's between both. Other attractions can be reached on foot, or you can use the city's public transportation system close to the hotel. Free parking is open to those with a car based on first-come, first-served availability. Learn more
The Oslo Guldsmeden is part of a small chain of hotels in Europe and Asia. The eye-catching decor encompasses various continents, and this particular location has a Balinese-meets-Nordic design with a mix of oversized leather furnishings, textures, and funky accessories. The restaurant serves organic à la carte breakfasts (for a daily per-person fee; kids get a discount). You can also reserve the small Turkish-inspired hammam with dry and infrared saunas and a steam bath for an hourly fee.
Rooms, for their part, have hardwood floors, canopy beds, mounted iMac screens instead of televisions (movies are available for purchase), and interesting textiles like deerskin throws and Asian rugs. Rooms range in size for solo travelers, couples, friends, and families with adjoining rooms or multiple bedrooms, and suites have bathrobes, slippers, and stand-alone tubs.
This location is closer to Aker Brygge than the other two boutique hotels on this list, so if waterfront museums, shops, and restaurants are a priority, you'll be about a 10-minute walk away. It's also a 10-minute walk to see the changing of the guard ceremonies in Palace Park in the other direction. Learn more