Location in quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood
Historic building dating back to late 19th century
20-minute or more walk to most tourist sights
Showers have folding glass doors and water spills into rest of bathroom
No fitness center
Limited on-site parking
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. The location is a bit removed from the heart of the action, and it's worth comparing rates with the slightly more central Oslo Guldsmeden - Guldsmeden Hotels.
The Saga Hotel Oslo is a boutique hotel in every sense: It's intimate, with only 47 rooms; features stylish, unique decor; and offers thoughtful free extras such as Wi-Fi and breakfast (though these are typically free at all Norwegian hotels). The hotel completed a major overhaul in spring 2011, and the interior design is definitely up to four-pearl standards. The lobby lounge is especially sleek, with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, cushioned chairs upholstered in orange, blue, or gray fabric, and flickering candles. It's a good spot to sit with a coffee (or something stronger) from the tiny lobby bar behind the reception desk.
Slightly less appealing is the windowless basement breakfast room, but the extensive free morning buffet spread is an appreciated extra.
In a quiet residential neighborhood behind the Royal Palace, and a bit removed from most tourist sights
Saga Hotel Oslo is located in the lovely residential neighborhood of Majorstuen, which is home to tree-lined blocks, embassies, and old mansions. Though the hotel is within walking distance of the Royal Palace, it's not in the heart of the action, and most sights will require a decent schlep.
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 daily 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.
11-minute walk to the Royal Palace
18-minute walk to Frogner Park and the Vigeland Sculpture Park
20-minute walk or 6-minute drive to Karl Johans Gate
20-minute walk to St. Olav's Cathedral
24-minute walk or 11-minute drive to the Nobel Peace Center
26-minute walk or 12-minute drive to Aker Brygge
30-minute walk, 20 minutes by foot and public transportation, or 8-minute drive to Oslo Central Station
27 minutes by foot and public transportation to the Opera House
36 minutes by foot and public transportation to the Edvard Munch Museum
40 minutes by 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
Rooms have modern decor but a traditionally elegant feel. Triple Rooms feature soft gold bed runners and upholstered chairs, accent walls with delicate gold and gray flowered wallpaper, and trendy black-and-white accent pillows. Decor in the Superior Suites is slightly different, with black and gold patterned fabric and gray wallpaper on the accent wall. All rooms have flat-screen TVs, minibars, and reading lights on the headboards.
Bathrooms are modern, but the showers with folding glass doors -- though common in Norway -- allow water to spill into the rest of the bathroom.
Reading lights on the headboards
Modern bathrooms, but showers with folding glass doors spill water