With my recent trip to South East Asia, I found a great value business class flight which stops over in Norway. Hotels in Oslo can be somewhat hit and miss, you either have hostels or 5* hotels, and it can be difficult to find something in between. However, if you want to experience luxury and be taken back in time to the 1900s, there is no better place to stay other than Amerikalinjen.
It all started back in 1919 where hopeful Norwegians embarked on a journey for a better life and the land of dreams – America. Of course the only means of transport back then was by sea so all the hopefuls needed a place to stay for the night before they embarked on their perilous journey and this is where Amerikalinjen (which means American Line in Norwegian) was established.
As I walked into the hotel lobby, I was wowed by the design; old and contemporary married together beautifully. The lobby boasts several seating areas which are designed to make you feel at home and the ‘new/old’ décor flows throughout the area.
I left London during the extreme heatwave and was expecting the same but with somewhat relief, I arrived to a misty and rainy Norway – a surprise since as Europe was baking, the Norwegians were wearing jackets and carrying umbrellas.
Located in the middle of city centre and two minutes walk away from the central station, the hotel still holds its grand old façade, which has aged beautifully over the years. The main tourist sites such as the Opera House, Kvadraturen shopping centre and the trendy nightlife on Youngstorget are all a short walking distance away. If you’re heading out, be ready to pay £11 for a pint. The Norwegians have a high tax on vice, such as alcohol and cigarettes. I guess, this is another reason why they are one of the happiest and healthiest nations!
Boasting 122 rooms and suites, it is designed with the guest in mind but also ensuring the décor and the history of the building flows across every touch points. My room was generous in size, very clean and modern. It had a desk and small dining area with state of the art techs; from a large tv, light switch to temperature control, it was a masterful demonstration of how modernity and tradition can work together. The wall to ceiling height windows gives you a fantastic view of the main square which the room overlooks. There is also a lovely reading seating area for those rainy days. And don’t worry, the windows are sound proofed.
The bathroom is spacious and packed with high-end amenities including Sprekenhus – the Norwegian equivalent of Aesop. Importantly it had the electrical outlets placed in the right location and the hairdryer plugged in in front of the mirror – no walking around to find a plug socket. The bathrobes were soft as well as the slippers and with a generous sized walk in waterfall shower. Equipped with spa standard amenities, I couldn’t wait to jump in and take a well-deserved shower after a long day of travelling and settle in for the night.
Before lights out, I couldn’t stop looking at the original photos of the building and of those who walked through it, which are placed surgically across the room – your very own private exhibition of the past and present.
Where to eat
The Atlas Brassiere & Café serves modern Italian cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For spring and summer, the hotel opens their courtyard called Haven, which works as an overflow for the main restaurant. It also has a famous Jazz bar, Gustav, located in the basement.
Pier 42 Bar
Voted the best cocktail bar in Norway 2021 and 2022, Pier 42 Bar is named after Pier 42 in Manhattan, which was the first thing passengers experienced when they arrived in New York by ship.
The main attraction is the cocktail menu. Put together by some of the leading mixologists in the world, each cocktail is dedicated to a different cultural district of New York City with a Norwegian twist. There were too many to choose from and it all depends on how you like your drink but if I had the time and stamina, I would’ve tried every single one as they all sounded delicious. However, with an early start the next day, I settled with a Spanish Harlem – a mixture of tequila, vermouth and Cointreau. Each cocktail also comes with its own canape, which is designed to match the drink. The bar is also fully stocked with top shelve drinks and wines/champagne if you don’t fancy a cocktail.
In a nutshell
Amerikalinjen is a staple of Norwegian history with world class service. It has taken the time and brought together components to meet the modern traveller needs but not forgetting how it started.
There are too many hotels in the world who opt to start fresh, losing years, if not centuries of history, which is a loss not only for the country, but to those who seek it. Amerikalinjen is not just catering for the modern world but preserving a bit of Norwegian history at the same time.
To discover more, visit: amerikalinjen.com
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All imagery courtesy of Amerikalinjen.