Oslo was felted with half a foot of evening snow when we arrived at The Thief and all was silent save for the satisfying crunch of boots.
A fire was blazing in the library adjacent to the hotel’s lobby and there was a tempting smell of freshly brewed tea in the air. A sense of supreme comfort enveloped us as we entered, as if we were being draped with warm Viking cloaks to protect us from the cold winter night outside.
The warmth continued through check-in and into our room, where the blonde-wood floor sported a thick, fluffy rug (heaven for cold feet) and the bed was draped with velvet-soft blankets from traditional Norwegian wool producers, Røros Tweed.
We poured ourselves a couple of glasses of Linie (famous Norwegian aquavit) and threw ourselves into the welcoming mass of pillows and cushions and fell deeply and luxuriously asleep.
Next morning, we grabbed a window table in the restaurant, settled into the blue velvet chairs, gazed out at a sunny, snowy Oslo and began what is possibly the best hotel breakfast we have ever experienced – and we’ve had a few. Beetroot and orange juice, homemade liver pate (made in the depths of the night and still warm), Norwegian caviar and herring, cured hams, local cheeses, homemade jams and marmalades, a smorrebrod of breads … the list goes on.
If you think that all sounds like hotel heaven, wait until you see The Thief Spa. It features a sauna, steam room, six treatment rooms, a fully equipped gym, Oslo’s first hammam and a serene 12-metre pool in which guests float beneath a ‘star-lit’ ceiling and by the warm glow of candlelight. Very romantic, especially if you have the place to yourselves.
A three-night stay at The Thief was clearly not going to be enough; we wanted to stay for three months.
- Take time to enjoy the public areas such as the calm, sumptuous ground-floor library, even if it is just to hang out, read a book and sip a Linie.
- Get to breakfast early and stay late; you will not regret it.
- Check out the artworks in the public areas of the hotel (all hand-chosen by the art curator from the hotel’s own collection), especially the portraits in the lifts – they are alive!
- Guests get a free pass to the nearby private modern art museum Astrup Fearnley Museet; some of the works are a little challenging but it’s worth a visit.