I’m excited to finally kick off the start of my Scandinavia travel posts with our incredible hotel in Oslo, Norway! And let me tell you, our stay was nothing short of “grand!”

The best hotel in Oslo, Norway!


The Grand Hotel Oslo was founded by a pastry chef in 1874 and initially opened with the Grand Café (the hotel’s restaurant today), and within a few years, became the meeting place for the people of Kristiania (now Oslo). In the early 1900s, the building was refurbished and the Grand Hotel was unveiled, featuring 120 rooms and 50 baths. This took place at the same time the city held its jubilee and the building was so large, so the name was a perfect fit.

Today, the hotel is the most well-known and prestigious hotel in Norway, hosting international guests, world leaders, celebs, and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!


When we first arrived to Oslo it was already dark out and since we didn’t feel like lugging our bags down the streets when it was dark and we had no idea where we were (it usually takes me a couple hours to get my bearings straight), we took an Uber from the bus stop to the hotel. Since some of the roads were one-way and our drive took about 15 minutes, I was a little nervous that our hotel was kind of far from everything, but when we arrived at the hotel and I looked around, I knew we were staying at the BEST spot in town.

Not only was the Christmas market happening literally across the way from our hotel, we were in the center of the big shopping area, and the train station/downtown area was a 10-minute walk straight down the road. We literally couldn’t have asked for a more perfect place to stay.

The Room

Where do I begin?! Our room was AMAZING. Upon first entering, we had a hallway with a mirror lining the wall and two coat hangers right next to the door. At the end of the hallway, another door leading into our suite. The first thing we noticed was the awesome welcome fruit tower + sparkling water the staff left for us, which was a wonderful surprise after a LONG day of travel!

A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!

The living room area featured a cozy couch, two chairs, a desk area, and a TV. The TV also had internet capabilities, so I was able to check in on Small Towns & City Lights at the end of the night too, loved it!

A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!

Against the wall, two windows, one of which opened to a mini balcony where we could poke our heads out to admire the shining lights of the Christmas tree and market just below us. The hotel also had our balcony (along with the others) decked out in Christmas lights. As a person who is all about Christmas, this was a dream come true!

Behind the living room couch, another TV and the comfiest bed! If you ask my mom, she’d let you know that she’s never slept in a bed so comfortable and actually started researching the mattress company (in case you’re wondering, it’s Jensen Beds, and unfortunately, they’re not in the U.S. – we’re on the hunt for beds as comfortable here!) and was eager to find out where pretty much everything in the room came from because she wants to design her house just like the Grand Hotel did. Scandinavia just really knows how to do home design!

The hotel also provided nighttime turn-down service and spoiled us even more with a bottle of water each and a chocolate coin! 

The bathroom included both a tub and shower and had two sinks, which was incredibly helpful considering it reduced our getting ready time in the morning! There were also two options to choose from for the showerhead (the overhead or detachable) and the water pressure was perfecto!

A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo! A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo! A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!

Service + Amenities

First up, let’s talk breakfast. Because nothing beats the European breakfast buffets! Each morning breakfast was served in the hotel’s restaurant and was completely packed (no wait, just every table filled)! There were several stations from bread and yogurt to hot items and beverages. Literally something for everyone!

The Grand Hotel Oslo also recently relaunched their rooftop bar, Eight, which we loved! The view of the city lights at night was incredible and we appreciated that in addition to the outdoor seating, we were also able to warm up in a cozy booth inside!

A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!

If you’re wanting to squeeze a workout or some relaxation time in, the hotel also has a gym, pool, and spa available to guests. Be sure to check the times in advance though, as they aren’t open 24/7!

A look at Norway's most famous hotel, The Grand Hotel Oslo!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Grand Hotel Oslo follow along on Facebook and/or Instagram

Stay tuned for more on our time Oslo to come next week! 

I received a discounted rate at this hotel. All opinions are my own.

Happy New Year! While I admit I’m still in a bit of a holidaze (daze from the holidays), and am 100% feeling the struggle to get back into my normal morning routine, I’m excited for the excitement a new year brings.

Sure, it’s technically just “another day” if you’re looking at it linearly, but there’s something about flipping the calendar to page one and the feeling of new beginnings + a fresh start when January 1 rolls around. Plus, the end of the year tends to get a little crazy once Thanksgiving hits, so January seems to be the time to get back on track with all the things.

Last year I wrote several posts highlighting my goals at the start of every month. While I’ll likely be setting these smaller goals month by month again, I just wanted to share an overview of them once on Small Towns & City Lights, so I can focus on even more awesome content for you to read throughout the year.

Personal Goals for 2017

  • Declutter + maintain: Lately I’ve been feeling super cluttered with things piling up all over the place, mostly due to my crazy busy schedule in 2016. I’m ready to donate and toss lots of things this year, and am excited to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Upwhich I’m hopeful will help even more!
  • Travel to 5 new states/countries: Travel is a huge focus for me. While I do have a couple trips already in the works this year (NYC and London), I want to cross some new places off my list as well, with a combo of new states and countries.
  • Read more: In 2016 I read much more than I have in years, but I still have SO many books sitting on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to read. My plan is to cut out some TV/computer time before bed and do some reading before bedtime.
  • Meal plan: I did this a little last year, but want to get better about it. Eating out is a huge downfall for me (on both my health and wallet), so I’m hoping that by meal planning I’ll be healthier and will save a lot!

Blog Goals for 2017

  • Create a newsletter: I’ve been wanting to do this for ages! It’s definitely going to happen this year.
  • Refine + balance my main categories: I’ve been working on refining my site’s primary categories to ensure a solid foundation of STCL’s direction for 2017 and beyond. So excited about all of the content I have planned to share with you this year!
  • Collaborate with more brands: 2016 was my biggest year of collaboration but I have big plans for 2017 when it comes to collaborating with brands. I love sharing my favorite things with you all!
  • Grow my following: A no-brainer, but still, a solid goal of mine. While I want to increase page views and blog/social media followers, I also want to boost engagement even more. I love hearing from my readers/followers!

My Word of the Year

I haven’t chosen a “word of the year” before, but this year I’m feeling inspired to. For me, this year is all about being unstoppable. We have the habit of finding excuses for why we can’t do something now, or hold off because we’re afraid of rejection. But this year, I’m not going to let anything hold me back. If there’s something I set my sights on, I’m going to go for it! I stumbled across this quote and love it – it really sums things up nicely.

Did you pick a word for the year? I’d love to hear it!

Also, get ready! TONS of travel posts from my trip to Scandinavia are coming, starting later this week!

Raise your hand if your mind’s blown that there are only a few days left of 2016! *Raises both hands* This year was quite the whirlwind between work, grad school classes, travel, and blogging. But overall, I have to say it was a pretty good one filled with lots of accomplishments! Let’s look back at some of the highlights.

Reflecting back on 2016.

Top 5 Life + Blog Moments of 2016

  • Completed my graduate certificate in business foundations (and with straight As!)
  • Received a HUGE promotion at work
  • Crossed off one new state + five countries on my travel bucket list
  • Reached my savings goal
  • Hit a milestone of 1k+ fans on the Small Towns & City Lights Facebook page

Top 5 Travel Posts of 2016

Top 5 Lifestyle Posts of 2016


Thank you all for your support of Small Towns & City Lights this year! I’m taking off these last few days of 2016 to recharge and can’t wait for 2017, which I have a feeling is going to be the best year yet! Happy New Year!