27-inch iMacs for streaming music and shows (in lieu of TVs)
Within walking distance of the Royal Palace and Aker Brygge
Intimate, family-owned boutique hotel
Connecting and Family Rooms available
No fitness center
Most bathrooms lack shower curtains or doors (common in Norway)
Only Norwegian public broadcasting included to watch on the iMacs
Location is a bit removed from the heart of the action
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.
An intimate boutique hotel with lovely rustic-chic decor and a vaunted organic breakfast -- but a location a bit removed from the heart of the action
The Carlton Oslo Hotel Guldsmeden is part of a small, family-owned hotel chain that is dedicated to environmentally and socially conscious practices. The hotel uses energy- and water-waving appliances and uses only organic ingredients for the free breakfast, among other measures.
Though the chain only comprises a handful of properties, one of them is in Bali -- which helps explain why the decor here is a blend of Scandinavian and Asian influences. The generous use of wood and stone is also eco-friendly, since these materials require less frequent replacement.
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.
8-minute walk to Aker Brygge
11-minute walk to the Royal Palace
11-minute walk to the Nobel Peace Center
16-minute walk to Oslo City Hall
19-minute walk to Frogner Park and the Vigeland Sculpture Park
20-minute walk to St. Olav's Cathedral
13 minutes by foot and tram to Oslo Central Station (or a 7-minute drive)
21 minutes by foot and tram to the Opera House
28 minutes by foot and tram to the Edvard Munch Museum
30 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
Gorgeous rustic-chic decor that is a blend of Scandanavia and Bali -- though some rooms and bathrooms are very small
The beds are the most prominent feature of the rooms, and the rustic-chic wooden four-posters exemplify the hotel's Asian-inspired Scandinavian decor. The delicate white curtains tied with bundles of shells are pure Bali, while the fur throws (many of which are reindeer skins) are definitely Norwegian.
The 27-inch iMacs hooked up to the Internet are also notable; the hotel offers them in lieu of TVs so that guests can stream their shows and music rather than watching a set selection of channels. Only Norwegian public broadcasting is included, however, which some may find annoying, but guests can hook up their iPads to play any movies or shows they might already own. Movies can also be purchased on the iMac for a fee.
Standard Single Rooms, meant for only one person, are seriously tiny, but rooms get larger as you go up in price category. Most bathrooms lack shower curtains or doors, which is common in Norway, but means water will spill out onto the rest of the floor. Some of the higher-level rooms have luxurious standalone soaking tubs, sometimes at the foot of the bed rather than in the bathroom.
Organic cotton sheets and animal skin throws on the beds
Gorgeous rustic-chic four-poster beds with white curtains
The Carlton Oslo Hotel Guldsmeden has several room types that can accommodate families or groups -- namely, the Family Room, with two bedrooms and three beds, and the Double Connecting Room, with two bedrooms and two beds.
The food and drinks at the morning breakfast are made with entirely organic ingredients. The spread includes meats, cheeses, homemade vanilla yogurt, dried fruits, nuts, scrambled eggs, bacon, and pastries.