Oslo, Norway ~ The Thief

September 2019

Our two-night stay at The Thief capped off a 10-day visit to Norway that included — between the two of us — six cities, nine inter-Norway flights, seven hotels, and a whole lot of rain. The Thief was meant to be a little treat at the end, a chance to splurge a bit in Oslo before heading back across the Atlantic and back to work.

It didn’t disappoint.

The marathon dodge

One of the features that led us to The Thief was its location on Tjuvholmen (Thief Island), a part of Oslo formerly known for “its reputation as a place where drunks and thieves lurked and criminals were often taken to be executed.” Those days are clearly gone. The master-planned — and very scrubbed up — district now features restaurants, shops, art galleries, a contemporary art museum, a pebble beach, loads of public art, and a single hotel.

Tjuvholmen (Thief Island)

The day we checked in to The Thief happened to coincide with the Oslo Marathon, a terrific event but also a not-insignificant disruption to the ways in which one traverses a city that has more waterways than roadways (maybe not exactly true, but….). Our relatively short walk from St. Olav’s plass to Tjuvholmen — what would normally be about 10 minutes — ended up taking the better part of an hour, as we not only had to get across the path of the racers but also negotiate the 100,000 people cheering them on. When we finally arrived at the hotel, all of that work getting there made the news that we had been upgraded to a one-bedroom suite all the better.

The Thief Suite


A few of the places we had stayed in Norway were nice — and one couldn’t be matched for uniqueness — but out rooms at The Thief were certainly higher on the indulgence scale than any of the others. Two balconies, two bathrooms (each with a shower and tub), a sitting room, a bedroom, a Nespresso machine (actually two of those), original artwork, many bed pillows, a mounted bug in a glass cylinder, fresh flowers, and a very high-tech toilet greeted us. It seemed that two nights wouldn’t give us enough time to use all of the suite’s features.

But we would do our best.

Many hits, perhaps a small miss or two

The Thief gets so many things right. We particularly loved the just-right size of the hotel (114 rooms), the views out to Oslo Fjord and back to Tjuvholmen (although the island development project itself was a little too programmed for us), the artwork throughout the hotel (a nice addition to the loads of public art throughout Oso), the breakfast (Norwegian hotel breakfasts rarely disappoint; the one at The Thief was exceptional), the complimentary tickets to the Astrup Fearnley Museum, the turn-down service with hot herbal tea and fresh cookies (we added a little aquavit from the downstairs bar to the mix), and the stand-up service from (almost) all of the staff.

We could offer only a few critiques: Our visit to the rooftop bar didn’t parallel the rest of our experiences at The Thief. The service was — quite honestly — not very good, and the cocktails lacked sophistication, particularly considering the surroundings. Our second critique — the high-tech lighting system — is probably due more to user error than actual functionality, but we didn’t love what seemed to be some kind of sensor  that turned on the bathroom lights in the middle of the night. While we’re sure we could have figured the system out, we didn’t want to take the time to do so.

Opulence over minimalism

After spending 10 days immersed in Scandinavian design — a lot of functional, yet tasteful minimalism — The Thief was almost a sensory overload. But everything was warm and inviting. And while we loved the mid-fall sunshine, we couldn’t help wonder what it would be like to spend a few days at The Thief in the dark of an Oslo winter. Those pillows, deep tubs, hot coffee, and comfy slippers — which guests are invited to take home — all would seem very appealing in December or January.

Stay details

  • The Thief
  • Location: Tjuvholmen Island, Oslo
  • Our stay: 2 nights, September 21 and 22
  • Room: The Thief Suite: Rooms 802 & 804

Where we ate, what we did

Oslo National Opera and Ballet

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