The Grand is a real institution in the Norwegian capital. Housed in a charming city-centre residence and offering a modern yet authentic ambience, it is often the first port of call for any celebrities visiting the city. Its women-only services also make it the only hotel of this kind in the world.
Located on Karl Johans Gate, the main avenue and Champs-Élysées of Oslo, lined with shops and restaurants.
Madonna, who was on tour when we visited the hotel, had booked a room here!
The Nobel Suite is reserved for the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in Oslo every year.
Another suite is housed in the tower at the corner of the building, its location making it the most pleasant of all the hotel's rooms, in our view.
The Grand is housed in a very old building dating back to 1774 and displays architecture typical of Oslo. Whilst the Art Deco style of the reception and entrance hall is a bit retro, the floors above are far more stylish, bringing a more quirky aspect to this hotel where old stone sits alongside modern facilities and where period chandeliers, old furnishings and designer furniture harmoniously combine. The 7 floors between the old-fashioned restaurant-bar on the ground floor and the ultramodern spa, swimming pool, restaurant and bar on the top floor house 290 guest rooms and 51 suites. A spa was opened on the 8th floor in 2008, providing a wonderful setting in the garrets of the hotel. Unlike the vast majority of hotels in Oslo, The Grand also boasts an all-black glass-roofed indoor pool with granite walls, as well as a small wooden terrace where you can enjoy the few sunny days the Norwegian capital gets! You might even manage to get sunburnt at midnight if you're visiting in July! The spa also consists of a hammam, a sauna and 7 massage and treatment rooms for a little pampering, whilst the light therapy showers will put your mood right even if you've not seen daylight all day, which is likely to be the case if you're visiting in the middle of winter. There is also a small gym which, though in certain need of renovation, does serve its purpose.
With 290 rooms and 51 suites, this is no small affair! This being the case, the only downside of the charming, traditionally-decorated rooms is that they are poorly soundproofed. Here, too, modernity is harmoniously juxtaposed with antiquity to offer the best of both worlds. The stylish decor commands respect and may initially appear somewhat off-putting, but you'll soon come to appreciate the upmarket surroundings. All rooms have everything you would expect of a 5-star hotel, including a television, telephone, trouser press, hair-dryer, air-conditioning, free WiFi and a minibar, and whilst all bathrooms have a shower, some have a bathtub as well. Add this to the ice machines in the corridors, next to the rooms ending in 11, and we're talking about a really high-quality hotel!
The rooms on the first floor have been decorated by women, for women. Each of these is different, but all include the small details a woman might dream of, from soft fabrics, bright colours and well-positioned mirrors to top-quality L'Occitane beauty products and a powerful hair dryer for perfect blow-drying.
The glass-roofed Palmen tea room, located just behind the reception, is an old-fashioned, red-carpeted haven of tranquillity built in 1930, and the perfect place to enjoy a quiet drink any time of the day, but if you really want the true tourist experience, head for the Grand Café, where novelist Henrik Ibsen had his regular table. Along with his painter friends such as Munch, Ibsen has been immortalised in a giant fresco on one of the walls in the cafe. This bygone setting is also where the hotel's very generous buffet breakfast of salmon, cheeses, jams, pastries and various other equally delicious delights is served, and its terrace overlooking the street is perfect for watching the comings and goings of Oslo's main avenue. At lunchtime, guests can choose between the buffet option and an 'à la carte' dish, bearing in mind that lunch in Norway is rarely more than a sandwich or a salad and a dessert. A live jazz brunch is organised every Sunday and is very popular with the locals.
The best spot in the hotel, though, is undoubtedly the glass-roofed bar-restaurant on the top floor, complete with a terrace where you can enjoy a sunny day away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Inside, it is stylishly decorated and has a lively ambience. The light lunches served here consist mainly of sandwiches and salads, whilst carefully-prepared dishes making good use of local produce feature on the evening menu. The views across the city from the restaurant are spectacular, whilst the bar, which is open until 1:00am during the week and 2:00am on the weekend, is very popular with the local jet set.
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