When you walk outside off Oslo Sentralstasjon, the first thing you will notice shall be the outline of the Oslo Opera. For me, however, this was a pink and navy flag adorning an entrance to an old, monumental building. Back in 1919 it was the headquarters of the Norwegian American Line – the line of cruise ships that took Scandinavian dreamers through the Atlantic Sea to the promised land of America, the land of the free, the Statue of Liberty, the most beautiful art collections hosted in casinos of all places…”
A century later, the building reopened to pay a tribute to the hopes & visions of its predecessors. This tribute is called Amerikanlinjen Hotel.
It’s been a few months since its opening and the hotel has already been listed by The Times among 100 world’s greatest places of 2019. I expect the extraordinary and this is exactly what I find as I enter the hall laid out with marble zig-zag floors and eclectic furniture. The hotel was designed by a local firm Krit Arkitkter together with a Finnish practice Puroplan, with an idea to reflect the spirit of adventure. An adventure that is up for guests to define.
It can start with the design itself. All you need to do is take a staircase leading up to the 7th floor. Its arches resemble somewhat of a medieval castle but if you descend using the elevator, its mosaic floor recreating the pattern of the compass will remind you this experience was not inspired by any fixed period in history.
On the ground floor you can enjoy Haven – a homely glass courtyard and an oasis featuring a lot of greenery and transparent bird lamps. The atmosphere will change radically as you enter the small library on the 1st floors with an all-wood décor inspired by interiors of old cruise ships, exposing building’s original artefacts.
Mid-century furniture and lighting were delivered by local firms: Eikund, Birger Dahl and a glassblowing company Hadeland Glassverk. Inside comfortably furnished rooms, visitors will find an eclectic mix of modernist desks, contemporary leather armchairs and velvet sofas contrasting with decorative wall moldings and chevron floors. Elegant black & white bathrooms feature amenities developed in collaboration with a local cosmetic brand Sprekenhus. For more relax and wellness, you can also head to the Finnish sauna and an open gym.
Still, the design would be complete without a carefully curated art collection prepared by Sune Nordgen. Navigating historical links with the American art, Amerikalinjen’s walls were adorned with the works of Alex Katz, Shepard Fairey and Julian Opie. The symbolic Barack Obama “Hope” poster at the bar is the ultimate expression of the connection between Amerikalinjen’s vision and aesthetic.
Speaking of art, hotel’s ultimately beautiful visual identity also deserves credits. Imagined by Scandinavian Design Group, it combines chunky typography with vibrant colors, mixing American bold spirit with Norwegian elegant restraint. The logo was applied onto all hotel accessories – slippers, robes and stationery – making it exceptionally desirable, as well as staff’s trendy uniforms designed by a local fashion brand Holzweiler.
The culinary adventure is yet another asset of Amerikalinjen. At Pier 42, visitors are invited to try crafted cocktails inspired by different moments in history such as moon landing or the opening of Oslo’s main train station. The formulas were defined by the Head Barkeeper from the Norwegian America Line – Kåre Breiby – and taste of heritage.
Hotel’s Atlas Brasserie is another stop on the road to your room where you can feed your culinary wanderlust. From sweet potato burrata salad to a classic burger, the tastes of Atlas are unparalleled while the overall spirit of the restaurant reminds of New York’s bistros.
Amerikalinjen offers a boutique adventure to modern explorers. It feels like home and upon leaving, I can sense the nostalgia that Norwegian travelers might have felt a hundred years ago as they headed to America. As cultural differences and uninhibited dreams opened new perspectives for the generations of Norwegians, Amerikalinjen brings the same diversity to its guests and proves that the entire world can be your home.