Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A mid-range boutique hotel with a delicious breakfast and helpful staff, though not much else.
This hotel was originally designed as an apartment building, which helps explain why it doesn't have any on-site features. But a lack of amenities isn't uncommon in Oslo, and the hotel is a convenient enough home base, located on a fairly quaint, narrow street lined with old buildings that's within walking distance of the Opera House. Right next door is Oslo's original city hall, and behind that small structure rises the tall, modern building that houses the hotel, its height providing the views that gives the hotel its name.
The free breakfast buffet is above average, and is served in a large windowless gray-and-white room that is very Scandinavian in design. The decor throughout is basic but clean-lined and contemporary.
Close to the Opera House and the water, and a manageable walk to the center of the city
Thon Panorama is in the quiet Kvadraturen neighborhood, which is removed from the heart of Oslo but still reasonably convenient (though you won't find many restaurants and bars right outside the hotel's door). Several sights are within easy walking distance, including the modern Oslo Opera House (opened in 2008), the Oslofjord (the city's main body of water), and the Oslo Cathedral. It's also a short walk to Oslo Central Station, the city's main hub for intra- and inter-city travel.
Oslo is Norway's largest city, and is centered around the thoroughfare of Karl Johans Gate, which leads from the Royal Palace to Oslo Central Station. Visitors can expect to find shops, cafes, and bakeries along this route, and in the summer can watch mounted police officers and a military marching band lead the royal guards to the palace for the changing of the guard ceremony, which takes place daily at 1:30 p.m.
The waterfront Aker Byrgge area is also a popular area. In nice weather locals and tourists alike can be found strolling up and down the Stranden, lining up at the ice cream and hot dog stands, sitting on the benches to watch the boats, and dining at the outdoor restaurant tables along the street. The restaurants here, as in all of Norway, are astonishingly expensive -- though visitors trying to keep costs low will be able to find more affordable ethnic eateries (Indian, Thai, and Chinese) elsewhere in the city.
Most visitors should expect to walk quite a bit to get around, and to rely on the tram and bus system. Taxis, like everything else, are very expensive, and most tourists use them sparingly.
Basic rooms with an "Ikea" feel to them.
Rooms here are simple (especially the bathrooms), but many are apartment-style with a living room that's separate from the bedroom, which gives guests space to spread out. Of the apartment-style rooms, some of those have kitchenettes and some have two TVs (one in the living room, one in the bedroom). The decor could be called "minimalist Ikea."
In general, rooms are variable -- layouts differ even within one room category -- so it's hard to know exactly what you'll get. Some kitchenettes have stove burners and some don't (and some of the kitchenettes aren't functional at all); some apartment-style rooms have two TVs but some have only one; only some rooms have balconies; only some have a view. In addition, what you will (or won't) find inside your room will vary: safe, iron, toiletries, full-sized fridge, and so on.
This 118-room mid-range chain hotel doesn't have many features to offer, but apartment-style rooms, a friendly, helpful staff, and a convenient-enough location make it a good option for travelers who just need a home base. While not in the heart of the action, Thon Panorama is right near the waterfront (called Oslofjord), the eye-catching Oslo Opera House, and Oslo Central Station; it's also a reasonable walk to most of the city's main sights. Not much makes this hotel particularly business-friendly, but the two spacious, eclectic penthouse suites -- both with gorgeous views -- can be used as meeting spaces. Despite its name, only some rooms have views worth writing home about (many face into a courtyard).