Travel Guides for Un-tourists


Live and Breathe Danish Design at Copenhagen’s Loveliest Boutique Hotels

by CB Cowling

posted on January 22, 2020

Photo Courtesy: iStock/atosan

Copenhagen has long been a mecca for lovers of sleek stylings and aspirational interiors, but until recently, the city’s passion for design failed to extend to its hotels. Luckily, a rebirth of boutique accommodation during the last decade means discerning visitors are now positively spoiled for choice. As devoted to curating swoon-worthy surroundings as they are to providing impeccable service, these smaller, design-forward hotels are the perfect base for visitors looking to surround themselves with the beauty and simplicity of Danish design.

While they all embrace the elegant functionality synonymous with the city’s artistic culture, you’ll find no cold minimalism or stark modernity here: Copenhagen’s best boutique hotels encompass all the contradictions that make the country’s interior tableaus so beloved. Light, texture, and pattern coalesce in myriad ways, from grand Danish classicism to mid-century modernism. Should you manage to tear yourself away from their stunning environs, our favorite boutique hotels create the perfect base to explore the rest of the city in style.

Photo Courtesy: Hotel CPH Living Website

Boutique accommodation meets life on the water at this charming concept hotel in the heart of Copenhagen’s maritime Christianshavn neighborhood. All 12 rooms of the CPH Living Houseboat feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls and romantic balconies overlooking the sparkling port and city skyline. Rooms are designed thoughtfully to provide maximum space and comfort in small quarters, with polished, heated wood floors and bright, pared-down decor that blends nautical elements with classic Nordic style. A stunning roof terrace atop the boat offers sunset drinks with a view, while loaner bikes make exploring the colorful houses and canals of the area a breeze.

Photo Courtesy: wingardhs

Copenhagen’s former Danish Royal Conservatory was reimagined and redrawn by Swedish architect Gert Wingardh to blend a lavish turn-of-the-century setting with the cool, clean lines of the modern Scandi aesthetic. The Nobis Hotel’s beautiful but unfussy interiors marry grand turn-of-the-century staircases, high ceilings, and arched windows with pared-down mid-century furniture, natural textures, and clear natural light. Rooms are airy and bright, with pale blonde parquet floors and walls of sea greens and peacock blues leading into Bardiglio marble-clad bathrooms filled with luxe Byredo toiletries. The city’s chic set enjoy imaginative Nordic fare against a backdrop of soaring glass and copper in the adjoining Restaurant Niels, while the hotel’s cultural district location is perfect for art lovers, with the glorious Glyptoteket Museum as a next-door neighbor.

Set in a quiet but central location (an easy walk from the city center, Tivoli, and the famous Lakes), this bohemian hotspot’s crowning glory is its soaring inner atrium, complete with jewel-tiled pool, lush hanging gardens, and glowing lanterns. The six floors of Manon Les Suites’ apartment-style rooms open out onto the main courtyard, and there’s a touch of Balinese resort alongside the otherwise Scandi-chic interiors, with carved four-poster beds, rough natural wood accents, and spacious lounge and kitchenette areas. A mellow rooftop bar serves cocktails and organic snacks against a backdrop of colorful sun loungers and terraced gardens, while the enormous industrial-chic gym downstairs boasts a full-size boxing ring.

Photo Courtesy: NIMB Hotel

Over-the-top opulence blends with Scandi-sleek stylings at this five-star fairytale palace in the heart of Tivoli’s carnival atmosphere. Built in 1909, Hotel Nimb’s ornate Moorish-inspired exterior features minarets of Venetian marble, grand terraces that overlook the park’s famed pagodas and boating lake, and sprawling lawns complete with strolling peacocks. Indoors the theme changes seamlessly to understated, Nordic luxury, all cool greys and clean lines. Spacious suites offer large fireplaces, dreamy bathrooms, and views of the glittering park. A fleet of stylish Velorbis bikes await sightseers, but there’s plenty to do without ever leaving the hotel’s hallowed walls: take a dip in the stunning emerald green rooftop pool, visit the hammam-style spa, or take afternoon tea under the high-ceilings and crystal chandeliers of the former ballroom.

Photo Courtesy: interiordesign

Step back in time at this exquisite retro gem in trendy Vesterbro, enviably located right on the Town Hall Square and steps from the pedestrian shopping thoroughfare of Strøget. Every inch of the beloved Hotel Alexandra is devoted to mid-century Danish design, with carefully sourced original furniture, artwork, and textiles from the 1950s and 1960s filling its unique but luxurious rooms. With each dedicated to an iconic designer or artist of the period, rooms and suites manage to feel like shrines to the era without sacrificing modern comfort. The impeccable detail extends to the service: there’s a genuine warmth to the welcome, and staff share an encyclopedic knowledge of the city and its charms.

Photo Courtesy: hotelsanders

Understated luxury is garnished with a touch of the theatrical at this exquisite townhouse-style hotel in the heart of 17th-century Nyhavn. Hotel Sander’s location across from the Royal Danish Theater is fitting: owner Alexander Kølpin was a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet, and drew on his past as inspiration for a different kind of hotel. Designers Lind + Almond took the bones of a grand but dilapidated Jugendstil building and created an homage to the golden age of travel, with mid-century pieces blended with touches of operatic drama and Danish colonialism. Tones of ochre, olive, and cream provide a backdrop to rattan furniture, potted palms, and velvet drapes, and each room feels bespoke: from the bijou singles inspired by vintage train compartments, to vast suites with views across the neighborhood’s traditional tiled rooftops. Upstairs, a light-filled rooftop conservatory serves breakfast with a view, while the ground floor beckons with the plush, red velvet-upholstered TATA bar.

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