Sprawling lobby with bar, piano, and gas fireplace
Sauna and small lap pool
Free Wi-Fi and breakfast
Numerous past celebrity guests
Some may find the huge size impersonal
Lobby and breakfast room get crowded and busy
Elevator stops at the 33rd floor
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.
A huge 37-story business hotel with impressive views and convenient features
The Radisson Blu is a massive, business-oriented hotel and feels like one, from the sprawling lobby (often swarming with people) to the chain-like rooms. But it's certainly convenient, with a location right next to Oslo Central Station and numerous features -- a restaurant and bar on the 34th floor with gorgeous city views, an airy fitness center (also with great views), and a lap pool. The only feature it's missing is a spa, a rare amenity in Norway that only a handful of hotels in the country offer.
The views from the highest floors of this hotel are unbeatable; the 37-story skyscraper is Norway's tallest building, so there really are no other hotels that can match its lofty outlook. Guests who want a guaranteed view should book one of the Business Class Rooms, which are located on the hotel's top nine floors. Guests can also enjoy the view from the trendy restaurant and bar on the 34th floor, or the airy fitness center on the 37th floor -- though it should be noted that the elevator stops at the 33rd floor, so guests heading to the gym will get their workout warm-up by taking a few flights of stairs.
The hotel is one of the city's best-known luxury options, and has a prestigious reputation. Numerous celebrities have stayed here, including Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Catherine Zeta Jones. Bill Clinton's stay here was of historic significance; he was present when Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed the Oslo Accords in the hotel's Royal Suite in 1993.
The Radisson Blu Plaza is across the street from Central Station, Olso's transportation hub for both inter- and intra-city travel. It's not the most picturesque part of town, but it's convenient for business travelers, and popular attractions are still within walking distance.
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.
1-minute walk to Oslo Central Station (4-minute walk to the main entrance beyond the plaza)
15-minute walk to Karl Johans Gate, the city's main thoroughfare, with restaurants and cafes
18-minute walk or 13 minutes by subway to Oslo City Hall
19-minute walk or seven minutes by subway to The National Theater
20-minute walk or eight minutes by subway to the Royal Palace and Gardens
21-minute walk or 12 minutes by subway to the Nobel Peace Center
21-minute walk or 12 minutes by subway to Aker Brygge
26 minutes by subway and foot to Frogner Park and the Vigeland Sculpture Park
27 minutes by subway, foot, and ferry to Bygdoy, the peninsula that's home to the Viking Ship Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, Fram Museum, and Norwegian Maritime Museum
30-minute metro ride from Oslo Central Station to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump
Contemporary chain-like rooms; Business Class Rooms have extra amenities and great views
Rooms at the Radisson Blu are about what you'd expect from an upscale business-oriented chain. Standard Rooms and Business Class Rooms are both 280 square feet, but Business Class Rooms have different decor and added amenities: bathrobes, slippers, Nespresso machines, daily newspaper delivery, and most notably, free movie channels. Standard Rooms typically have striped bed runners and red chairs, while Business Class Rooms feel a touch more sophisticated, with rich red bed runners and accent pillows. They're also located on the top nine floors of the hotel, and have impressive city views.
The hotel has several specialty suites that have hosted celebrity guests. Annie Lennox has stayed in the Polar Suite, Alicia Keys has stayed in the Shipbroker's Suite, and in impressive number of celebrities -- from Bill Clinton to Elton John -- have stayed in the Royal Suite. The suite even has a wall of fame to document past guests. (The retail price for a night in this suite is $48,000, but it's only available to select guests upon hotel approval.)
Handicap-accessible rooms and suites are also available.
Flat-screen TVs with satellite channels (Business Class Rooms have free movie channels)
The fitness center on the 37th floor has spectacular city views, and the floor-to-ceiling windows and light wood flooring make for a bright, airy space. Some may find the slanted glass roof inconvenient, however. The hotel also offers a lap pool and sauna on the 35th floor.