Sommerro – the hotel you never want to check out of
Sommerro in Oslo is a hotel you check in to – and want to stay forever. Step inside a Jay Gatsby-like world of luxury that has everything you need to escape from everyday life.
"Welcome, what can I do for you?" asks a voice as we enter through two large sliding glass doors.
The voice belongs to a gentleman wearing a beige blazer, round glasses, a yellow silk scarf at his neck and a wide smile as he comes towards us. Warmth.
The gentleman, Ruby from Brazil, who is just as happy to speak Italian as Portuguese with the guests, stands ready at the entrance.
The monumental stairwell behind him leads up to the hotel's 231 rooms and suites and a huge lamp overhead affords us a first glimpse of Sommerro's luxurious art deco style. Light.
A well-dressed couple walks past us and into Ekspedisjonshallen. The sound of glasses clinking, cutlery ringing against lunch plates, chatter, and funky jazz music drifts by, before the door opens. Power.
– The reception is this way … come, come!
We meet hotel manager Karoline Bernander Silseth and guest relations manager Dominic Gorham. Our goal is to learn the secret behind the magic at Sommerro that everyone in the Norwegian capital is talking about.
Sommerro first opened its doors in the autumn of 2022 in the district of Frogner. The building was originally the headquarters of Oslo Lysverker, the city's municipal electricity company. The words lys, kraft, varme (light, power, warmth) are still etched into the façade. These words that have remained in place for more than 100 years have now become the DNA of the hotel.
As you know, energy can never arise by itself. Or disappear. It is simply transformed from one form to another. And that's also how Sommerro feels as we move from one attraction to another.
"Light, power and warmth are like a pillar for us when it comes to the way we have built up the entire concept at Sommerro, both through the interior and the people who work here," says Karoline.
It's not the first time Strawberry has brought historic buildings to life. In Gothenburg, Clarion Hotel® Post is located in the former main postal terminal in the city. The newly opened Clarion Hotel® Draken has preserved the original building of the listed cinema Draken. In Copenhagen, the luxurious Villa Copenhagen retains the high ceilings, arches, and large windows of what was once the capital's main post office.
A deep dive into history
"For those of us who work with concepts, it is a gift to be allowed to build on these venerable buildings that have so much unique history. So, it was a matter of course to do a deep dive into the history and find out what we wanted to carry forward with Sommerro," says Karoline.
The gift the hotel manager refers to includes the murals from the renowned Norwegian painter and sculptor Per Krohg. Guests can experience both the mural in Ekspedisjonshallen, the ceiling decorations in the Krohgsalen and the mosaics in Vestkantbadet.
Dominic nods enthusiastically:
"We have inherited a building that belonged to the city, with a long and strong association with Oslo. We therefore have a responsibility to preserve and protect the building and its history. And we've really brought it back to life, back to its full glory," says Dominic with a laugh, before adding:
"I mean, if you build a whole new building somewhere, it doesn't have a history. It's just a building and you can give it a fancy name and it can be grand, but it's not real. Here at Sommerro we have a unique starting point, and it is real. It's honest."
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The 8-hour rule at Sommerro
Even prior to opening, Sommerro became a hot topic in Oslo and the Nordic countries. Not only because of its history and luxury, but also for being a house full of hospitality and diversity.
"Can you check into the hotel and just stay there?"
"I would say a long weekend. No, for days," Dominic says, laughing. Karoline agrees completely. Sommerro is a complete package.
"You have seven restaurants and bars, from different parts of the world. The food and drink selection is endless and the quality is high. And we have everything from live jazz in Ekspedisjonshallen to a cinema and exciting cultural events."
"The rooms are in art deco style, and we have invested a lot in good beds and a good night's sleep. The rooms are absolutely gorgeous."
You see, at Sommerro, the 8-hour philosophy is important: a balanced day consists of 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and 8 hours of recreation.
"With us, you get 8 hours of quality sleep and rest, then you can work for 8 hours, preferably in our meeting and event department. And then there's the last 8 hours that are the most fun, which is about recreation."
"You can go to a concert, enjoy a good dinner or our wellness offerings – which is everything from quality sleep, learning to breathe properly with the Wim Hof method (the well-known Dutch breathing expert), or swim in Vestkantbadet," says Karoline.
Step inside Villa Incognito
We have mentioned a bit of what's on offer at Sommerro, but what are the guest relation manager's and hotel manager's personal favourites?
"Wow, you start, Caroline. I actually don't know your answer," says Dominic.
Caroline smiles calmly. The answer is Villa Inkognito.
"It's a big, hidden gem. The tension leaves your shoulders as soon as you walk in there. It is a that really epitomises what's excellent about Sommerro. It's so harmonious, and it's the people there who make it harmonious."
Villa Inkognito is located next door to Sommerro and consists of 11 rooms and suites. Guests have access to all the hotel's facilities, i.e., all of the action, but they can also retreat to more private surroundings.
"I understand why it's your favourite, it's really the nicest thing we have," says Dominic.
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"But for me, it's still going to be Ekspedisjonshallen. I love the brasserie, everyone who eats there, the traffic in the bar, and the fact that it's open from morning to night. You go there for a coffee, a dry martini or a glass of champagne, and it's absolutely fantastic. I, who have worked in the industry all my life, have rarely seen such a place. We've created something unique," says Dominic.
He describes it as akin to the feeling of the nightlife in New York and Paris combined into one place. But you will nevertheless not find anything more Norwegian than Ekspedisjonshallen:
"You have a building from 1930, Lysverker, Per Krohg, lots of Norwegian history. And yet you get a sense of being overseas. It's an escape for me!"
Ready to escape from everyday life?
Inside tips: 16 things you can do at Sommerro
- Sommerro – 231 bedrooms. Sleep in everything from sheltered alcoves and double rooms to opulent suites
- Villa Inkognito – 11 private and luxurious rooms, with access to Sommerro's facilities
- Ekspedisjonshallen – a brasserie serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and live jazz
- To Søstre – afternoon tea and a warm atmosphere
- Izakaya – street food and cocktail bar on the seventh floor
- TAK Oslo – Nordic dishes inspired by Japanese cuisine
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- Plah &; Ahaan – Thai restaurant
- Barramón – pintxos and Spanish wines
- The cinema – art deco lounge chairs, popcorn, wine and movie classics
- Lysverker scene – events, jazz evenings, cabaret
- Vestkantbadet – one of Oslo's oldest baths and swimming pools
- Spa & Wellness – at Vestkantbadet you can enjoy everything from infrared saunas and cold plunge pools to medical treatments
- Gym – work out on your own or book a PT
- The roof terrace – heated pool, sauna, and sun loungers
- The library – put away your phone and pick up a good book
- Meeting and event facilities – personal service and technical facilities for you and your colleagues