Clarion Collection Hotel Grand Olav Rating: 4.0 Pearls

Touting individualized service and interesting amenities, some of our favorite stays across Norway are these intimate boutiques: This business-oriented, 106-room boutique hotel is located in the same building that houses the Olavshallen concert hall, and has a unique music-inspired theme. It also has numerous freebies -- a DVD library, rental bikes, and most notably, free breakfast, afternoon waffles, and a light evening buffet -- all of which make this a serious value, especially in a country as expensive as Norway. Decor is sultry and sophisticated, with plush fabrics in jewel tones, and rooms come with good-sized flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and marble bathrooms.

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Norway's Best Boutiques (1 of 8)

 Touting individualized service and interesting amenities, some of our favorite stays across Norway are these intimate boutiques: This business-oriented, 106-room boutique hotel is located in the same building that houses the Olavshallen concert hall, and has a unique music-inspired theme. It also has numerous freebies -- a DVD library, rental bikes, and most notably, free breakfast, afternoon waffles, and a light evening buffet -- all of which make this a serious value, especially in a country as expensive as Norway. Decor is sultry and sophisticated, with plush fabrics in jewel tones, and rooms come with good-sized flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and marble bathrooms.
Touting individualized service and interesting amenities, some of our favorite stays across Norway are these intimate boutiques: This business-oriented, 106-room boutique hotel is located in the same building that houses the Olavshallen concert hall, and has a unique music-inspired theme. It also has numerous freebies -- a DVD library, rental bikes, and most notably, free breakfast, afternoon waffles, and a light evening buffet -- all of which make this a serious value, especially in a country as expensive as Norway. Decor is sultry and sophisticated, with plush fabrics in jewel tones, and rooms come with good-sized flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and marble bathrooms. This 50-room boutique hotel is notable for two reasons: Its charming Norway-meets-Bali decor, and its eco-friendly philosophy. Some rooms and bathrooms are tiny, and the location is a tad removed from the heart of the action (though the Royal Palace and Aker Brygge are within walking distance). But features such as rustic-chic four-poster beds with fur throws; 27-inch iMacs in the rooms in lieu of TVs; a free organic breakfast; and a small spa area with a sauna make this an attractive, intimate option. Rica Park stands out for its old-world ambiance: Think floral drapery, studded leather armchairs, and wooden bookcases lined with colorful books. It's intimate at 59 rooms, and the cozy feel is furthered by a lobby fireplace and the smell of freshly-baked waffles wafting through the lobby all afternoon, a treat for returning guests or those checking in. The decor and style of guest rooms (particularly the bathrooms) is a bit unexciting, especially considering the pleasant lobby, but they're large, and the hotel has a fairly central location near the lake and theater. This trendy 47-room boutique hotel is located in the quiet residential neighborhood of Majorstuen, to the northeast of the Royal Palace Park. It re-opened in spring 2011 after major renovations, and now features stylish contemporary decor throughout. The building housing the hotel dates to the late 19th century, and the hotel honors Oslo's past with subtle decor details; for example, historic photographs of the city are emblazoned on the elevator doors and on decorative pillows. Rooms blend traditional elegance with modern style, and come with flat-screen TVs, minibars, and walk-in showers. The hotel offers a free breakfast buffet and cozy lobby bar, but no other features. This hotel, connected to the city's main train station, is a juxtaposition that works splendidly: The building is from 1854 and was Oslo's first train station, and in spring 2012 opened a stylish, tech-savvy boutique hotel decorated with funky, colorful motifs -- while still preserving some original details. High-tech features abound, and guests can check in on computers in the lobby, use their smartphones as a room key, and store their luggage in a personal lockbox. There's an Italian restaurant on-site, and the hotel's adjacency to the train station makes it as convenient to transportation as it gets (for both within Oslo and outward). The 149-room Scandic Vulkan is a contemporary, upper-middle-range boutique hotel outside of the city center. Rooms are stylish, with blue walls and bed throws, bright accent pillows, eye-catching graphic art of industrial beams on the walls behind the beds, wood floors, and handy storage cubes. But there few frills -- no real closets (instead, there's a closet rod attached to the wall) and no luggage racks; bathrobes, coffee/tea facilities, and bath products are only available in Superior Extra Rooms and above. The hotel was part of a city revitalization project that also involved a second hotel and the Oslo Food Hall (located right out the front door), and the shops and restaurants of Grunerlokka are within walking distance. An excellent free breakfast, a trendy restaurant and bar, and a small gym are upsides. This small, stylish hotel doesn’t have many amenities to offer, but its location just steps from most of Oslo’s main attractions make it a great jumping off point for travelers looking to explore. It’s part of a chain that’s popular across Norway and Sweden (there are eight in Oslo alone), and has a spacious restaurant (open for breakfast only) and a small wine bar with quirky art -- though don’t expect to find much else. Rooms are quite small but they all have floor-to-ceiling windows and clean design. Free bike rentals are a thoughtful touch. This 160-room Clarion Collection Hotel, just a few blocks from Central Station, succeeds at combining style and function. Its rooms and decor are decidedly hip, and most rooms feature a unique wall unit with a TV, mounted mini-fridge, and hidden pull-down desk (though bright red velour and black bathrooms may not appeal to everyone). But there's substance, too: a fitness center, strong free Wi-Fi, an attractive restaurant right next door, free nightly dinner, and one of the city's best free breakfasts. Several of the Signature Suites (each one is different) make for great meeting spaces.
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