Why would a luxury hotel in Oslo be named The Thief?
For the same reason that a luxury hotel in Boston is named Liberty.
Both hotels emerge out of a dark past laden with people who did bad things and were punished for them.
Boston's Liberty Hotel is the site of the old Charles Street jail where all sorts of criminals lived behind bars in the 19th Century. The Thief Hotel in Oslo, which opens this coming Wednesday, January 9, 2013, is built on the site where thieves, prostitutes and shady characters of 18th Century Oslo did their deeds and should have been locked up. Instead, they were executed, across the water from the present site, on Thief Island, called Tjuvholmen.
The Thief Hotel, part of the group called Design Hotels, is located in the Tjuvholmen area of the city and is Oslo's first waterfront hotel, overlooking the city's fjord and the canals of Tjuvholmen Island. Tjuvholmen today is home to one of Scandinavia's most exciting urban renewal projects. In an area which used to contain rundown wharves and filth, the hotel is across the street from the stunning Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, which opened September 29 of 2012. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the dramatic glass and aspen wood museum houses, among other treasures, the largest private collection of American modern art in the world. It is the anchor to a newly reconfigured waterfront upon which at the other end, about a half-mile away, sits the spectacular Oslo Opera House.
The Astrup Fearnley Museum will be loaning prominent pieces from its collection. In addition, world class art by renowned international artists such as Sir Peter Blake, Richard Prince, and up-and-coming Norwegian talents, will be on display in the hotel. It will also offer some innovative amenities in addition to the usual sustainability efforts to reduce energy and water consumption, handle waste,and offer local and organic ingredients in its restaurant, Fru K. For examples:
You can take the hotel's boat to explore the Oslofjord
Your smart phone will be used as your room key
They'll point out the best jogging route from the hotel, and
They will serve you their own custom made caviar.
We had a fine seafood dinner at Tjuvholmen Sjomagasin Restaurant and Seafood Bar very close to the Thief Hotel. If you want to drive further for a great view of the Osofjord from on high, the hilltip Ekeberg Restaurant also serves good locally grown and caught food. The building was considered one of the foremost Functionalist structures in Europe when it was finished in 1929. At our dinner there we enjoyed a crabmeat salad from nearby Hitra Island, marinated venison with juniper berry sorbet and chantelle grilled onions while watching the very same view that is said to have inspired Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in the creation of his masterpiece "The Scream."
Prepare yourself for the prices in Oslo, as it is the most expensive city in Europe. Bargains are nearly impossible to find in Norway, unfortunately. Condominiums in the renovated Tjuvholmen section average $1 million; the grandest of them sold recently for $25 million. A sandwich in thie pricy country can be $30, and dinner for two could easily run $350. Without wine!
Tjuvholmen Sjomagasin Restaurant, Tjuvholmen Alle 14, Oslo 0252
www.designhotels.com/the_thief -- room prices run from $373 to $4,458 per night