Without a map I headed onto the streets of Oslo for a winter walkabout in the four hours before I needed to head to Oslo Gardermoen Airport.
Oslo city is a mix of old and new. There seemed to be far more new than old looking buildings in the areas I walked.
I thought to myself that perhaps the city had been devastated during WWII, but apparently the city was occupied by Germans without too much destruction.
In contrast to the grand buildings of Berlin and Helsinki, the architecture in Oslo trended to modernism with simple lines and little ornateness. Even many of the older buildings had a simple clean design.
Oslo Opera House
Walking onto the roof of the Oslo Opera House is a common trek in Oslo. I missed the sign stating the roof was closed due to ice until spotting the sign on my way down.
On top of Oslo Opera House roof.
I did see the sign stating walking on ice in the harbor was dangerous.
Oslo Opera House
She Lies is a stainless steel and glass floating sculpture by Monica Bonvicini in Oslo Harbor by the Norwegian Opera House. Apparently the sculpture on the concrete block floats on its axis giving different appearances in the changing tides. The piece was inaugurated May 11, 2010 by Norway’s Queen Sonja.
Akershus Fortress and Castle – Akershus Festning and Akershus Slott.
Akershus Fortress was first used in battle in 1308.
Akershus castle is only open on weekends in winter.
An information center has exhibits describing famous prisoners of the fortress.
The wood beam interior of the information center is what I found attractive.
Akershus Fortress also holds the Norway’s Resistance Museum and the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum. The castle has a Royal Mausoleum.
Parliament Building of Norway (1860-1866)– The Stortingsbygningen.
Lobby of National Theater, Oslo.
Walking around I came across several hotels from Choice Hotels brands. Oslo has over a dozen Choice Hotels including several Clarion Hotels, an Ascend Collection hotel, and several Comfort Inn and Quality Inn hotels. There are 11 hotels in Oslo available with Choice Privileges points and 28 hotels are listed for the Oslo area. Currently the hotels in Oslo are all 16,000 points for an award night except 20,000 points for the Ascend Collection and one of the Quality Inn hotels.
Clarion Royal Christiania Hotel across from Central Train Station, Oslo.
Sample rate Tuesday, April 9, 2013 = 2,590 NOK two single beds, standard room = $443.20.
This makes Choice Privileges points worth $27.70 per 1,000 points.
Rates like that make the Choice Privileges 8,000 points for two stays promotion through May 15, 2013 a great return on investment.
I particularly liked the location and building housing the Best Western Karl Johan Hotel in Oslo. This Best Western property is rated 3-stars, but the location is in the center of Oslo activity. Rates include breakfast and for the same April 9 date as I checked for Clarion the rates at Best Western are 1,345 NOK ($236.09) for a single bed and 1,745 NOK ($306.31) for two singles. Best Western Rewards hotel awards are 20,000 points per night for this date. On a side note, Best Western contacted me to state there will be no award rate increases for hotels in their program for 2013.
Best Western Karl Johan Hotel, Oslo
Scandic Hotels is a brand where I stayed occasionally when they were briefly part of Hilton a decade ago. They have just launched a new Scandic Friends loyalty program.
They have the best elite tier names starting as a “1st Floor” base member and moving to 2nd Floor after 5 nights, 3rd Floor after 25 nights and Top Floor after 45 nights in calendar year.
I will follow up on Scandic Friends in a separate post.
Scandic has 22 hotels in Norway. Scandic Edderkoppen has rates as low as 600 NOK ($103), but for same April 9 date runs 842 NOK ($144.13) for a single bed room to 1,550 NOK ($265) for superior upgraded room with King bed.
I stayed at the Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo, but there are many choices for hotels with points. Rate with breakfast included, April 9 is 2,245 NOK ($385). Here is my review of the Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo hotel from my March 11 stay.
Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo 37 stories and exterior glass elevator.
Oslo Hotel Rates April 9, 2013
- Scandic $144 to $265, breakfast?
- Best Western Karl Johan $236 to $306 includes breakfast.
- Radisson Blu Plaza $385 includes breakfast.
- Clarion Royal Christiania $443 includes breakfast.
Oslo, Norway is an expensive place to lay your head. Choice Privileges points are a valuable currency in Scandinavia.
One of the little alterations I noticed in Oslo and Helsinki is the custom of placing a burning candle outside a business that is open.
Keep the light on.
Related Oslo Posts: Hunger in Oslo. Prices? What Prices! (March 13, 2013)
The King’s Royal Guards in Oslo (includes 2 minute video) – March 18, 2013
Radisson Blu Plaza Oslo Norway hotel review – March 19, 2013
Europe in 5 cities for 50,000 AAdvantage miles + $168 (March 17, 2013)