Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel is Oslo's most prominent hotel in the most literal sense: The 37-story skyscraper is the tallest building in Norway, and towers above the other buildings in the city skyline. With 676 rooms, it's also Norway's largest hotel -- and as part of the luxurious Radisson Blu chain, it's definitely one of the highest profile picks in Oslo. Rooms are contemporary, if chain-like, and Business Class Rooms come with added extras such as free movie channels and Nespresso machines. The ultra-decadent specialty suites have hosted numerous celebrities. The hotel's features, as one might expect for a property of this size, are many -- a restaurant with jaw-dropping views, an airy fitness center, and even a lap pool -- but there is no spa. Some may find the size impersonal, and visitors should expect some serious crowds in the sprawling lobby.
Britannia Hotel Rating: 4.5 Pearls
The Britannia Hotel is Trondheim's grande dame. This historic luxury property (opened in 1897) has hosted royalty, celebrities, and diplomats over the years, and today continues to be one of the city's most prestigious options. Its rooms have traditional decor (most have plaid fabrics and wood furniture), and though they're not the most luxurious in town, the hotel's real draws are its historic character, impressive restaurants, and most notably, full-service spa -- one of the only hotel spas in Norway.
Hotel Continental Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Opened in 1900, Hotel Continental is one of Oslo's two grand dames, with its main competitor -- Grand Hotel -- sitting just across the plaza. Stepping into the lobby is to step back in time, which makes this luxurious hotel a great option for history buffs. The rooms in the hotel's original portion have been gorgeously renovated, though the rooms in the hotel's other two sections are a bit more standard, and some are even dowdy. The location can't be beat, with the majority of Oslo's sights just outside the door. Don't forget to admire the hotel's impressive collection of Edvard Munch prints that line the lobby bar.
Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 116-room Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret is considered to be Bergen's top hotel, and for good reason -- it has elegant, sophisticated decor, a prime location near Bryggen and Bergenhus Fortress, and modern rooms with sultry style. Plus, guests get the usual perks that come with the business-oriented Clarion Collection chain -- not only free breakfast, but free afternoon waffles and a free light evening meal, which add enormous value. The adjacent Radisson Blu Royal completed renovations in 2012, however, and is now nipping at the Havnekontoret's heels -- but though its rooms are now arguably just as nice, the property is larger and feels more impersonal.
Clarion Hotel & Congress Trondheim Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With 400 rooms, a soaring atrium over the lobby, and an event space that holds up to 2,500, this hotel that opened in April 2012 is more Las Vegas than Europe. Although the location could be better, the unique design, hip bar and restaurant on the top floor, and a cozy lobby bar -- reminiscent of a W -- are all upsides. Rooms have extremely comfortable beds, and some have views of the water. Environmentally conscious guests may appreciate the hotels many eco initiatives, such as textured windows that help conserve energy and a ballroom that adjusts its temperature based on carbon dioxide output.
Rica Nidelven Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Opened in 2003, the 349-room Rica Nidelven is a modern structure standing over the Nidelva River, with a soaring ceiling in the lobby and lots of lovely water views from public spaces. Its standout features are its delicious food and abundance of sun-filled meeting rooms, though the 24-hour fitness center and rotating art gallery in the lobby also add to the appeal. Rooms in the original part of the hotel from 2003 are awaiting renovations, and feel a bit basic and corporate; the rooms updated in 2009 are sharper and brighter, with sleek contemporary accents. The hotel isn't in the heart of the action, but it's a short walk to most sights, including the charming Bakklandet neighborhood.