Three centuries ago, Oslo’s waterfront quarter of Tjuvholmen was a seedy nest bristling with criminals, smugglers, and racketeers. How times change. In the wake of an ambitious urban renewal project that has transformed the area into a hip, car-free destination buzzing with cultural venues and smart restaurants, a new hotel cheekily named The Thief (Landgangen 1; 47-2/400-4000; doubles from US$375) has just opened along the water’s edge. A roll call of boldface named designers including Patricia Urquiola and Antonio Citterio was hired to work on the nine-story building, whose 119 rooms feature video art and Nespresso machines alongside Norwegian-wool slippers and bathrobes. The lively public spaces boast specially commissioned art by the likes of Richard Prince and Peter Blake. The culture quotient is kept high even when you step out the front door: next door is the brand-new Renzo Piano–designed Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, to which guests get free entry. —Daven Wu
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