Denmark’s cultural cities and nature opportunities are widely celebrated, but there’s more to a true Danish experience – including its incredible boutique and design-led hotels, bookable on Culture Trip.
Danes get high marks for quality of life and outstanding food and design. They are also the masterminds behind hygge: that distinct feeling of candlelit, blanket-hugged, hot chocolate-wielding cosiness that the Scandinavians do best. That’s all expected on a trip to Denmark, but what many travellers don’t realise is how forward-thinking these contented locals are in other areas – like health, wellness and sustainability. These hotels somehow manage to fit in all these factors, whether they’re occupying a treetop cabin in a forest or a boutique spot near Nyhavn Canal. Get inspired by Denmark’s admirable way of life in one of its top hotel stays.
Copenhagen is no stranger to stylish boutique hotels in landmark buildings, like this gorgeous example. Rooms and suites at the Skt Petri feature Scandinavian design with windows overlooking the Latin Quarter or courtyard – some have balconies. On the lobby level is a beautiful all-day dining space that stays bright and cheery with glass elements and potted plants. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, or dine on veggie burgers or cod later in the day. There’s also a Middle Eastern kitchen on-site with grilled meats, colourful salads and mezze. Guests have free access to the fitness centre and sauna, while bike rentals, airport transfers and valet parking are offered for a fee.
Scandinavia’s historic trading hub is recognisable by its brightly coloured buildings along the bustling Nyhavn harbour. Housed in a set of converted and beautifully preserved brick warehouses there, this hotel offers 130 renovated rooms and suites showcasing original wood beams and artwork. They come with working desks, Nespresso machines and mini-fridges – just make sure you request a view of the water. Continental breakfast, included in the rate, is a highlight. The beautiful spread features Danish pastries, fruit smoothies and fair-trade coffee. Take a break from exploring and tuck into ravioli with turbot or steamed mussels in white wine at the on-site Italian restaurant.
Less than an hour north of Copenhagen by car is this elegant waterfront hotel in a historic complex, surrounded by manicured gardens. It’s an ideal getaway for city slickers looking to find their balance again. A highlight is the indoor pool and spa, which offers 16 Nordic-style water experiences with warming and cooling baths, saunas and a steam room. The modern fitness centre is also a standout, with more than 120 weekly classes. Simple, modern rooms have large windows – some with balconies and sea views. The brasserie serves plenty of options for vegetarians, along with house-made bread, sustainable fish, and organic meat, eggs and dairy – and to-die-for desserts crafted by pastry chefs.
This small boutique hotel has a central location in vibrant Aarhus, Denmark’s “second city”, close to festivals, museums and exhibits – this is a former European Capital of Culture, after all. Suites have modern decor and Nespresso machines, while upgraded studios come with small kitchens and balconies that face either a quiet backyard or the river. There’s a standout restaurant with a cosy ambience and an open kitchen so you can see the action. Try one of the set-menu dinners or keep it simple with a ribeye steak. There’s also a lounge and speakeasy bar serving cocktails. Parking is limited and should be requested in advance, for a fee.
Denmark’s third-largest city, Odense, is up-and-coming – and this buzzing new hotel is a shining example of that. Guests are close to the birthplace and museum of former fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen, as well as shopping, parks and nightlife. Minimalist rooms are bright and stylish with Scandinavian design and soothing colours, while suites offer sitting areas and whirlpool tubs. The on-site restaurant fuses Nordic fare with an international flair – ask about ingredients grown in the Danish vegetable garden. Try one of the set meals or order salmon, organic veal and veggie burgers on their own. Breakfast and parking are complimentary, as is use of a nearby fitness centre.
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This is the first property from the hip, ecofriendly brand named Guldsmeden, named for Aarhus’s iconic street that used to be a centre for goldsmiths and jewellers. Today, guests will find plenty of bohemian charm in the 26 rooms decorated in French colonial style – though bear in mind that some have shared bathrooms. Suites offer living areas and access to a rooftop terrace. Organic breakfast buffets are included in the rate and served in either a cosy cafe or a leafy courtyard, which transforms into a tranquil spot to sip a glass of wine in the afternoon. Bikes rentals are available, and ask about the company’s impressive sustainability program.
Want to get really close to nature? These three treetop cabins are built around tree trunks, that make up part of the interior decor – along with huge glass windows – in classic modern Scandi style. The cabins are hidden in a forest of oak, beech, spruce and pine trees, about a four-hour drive from Copenhagen. Each unit has a double bed and sofa bed as well as a fully equipped kitchen, toilet and outdoor shower, and a rooftop terrace to enjoy the views. Spend the day exploring the quiet trails around the property, or head to the nearby beach. Included in your stay is a light breakfast provided in the cabins, or pay a fee for a larger breakfast to be delivered each morning.
This elegant Relais & Chateaux property is just over an hour’s drive from Copenhagen, in a 13th-century baroque castle complex that’s surrounded by gardens and a lake. There are 41 polished rooms – some have more space, private terraces and soaking tubs. There’s plenty to do around the property with guided castle tours, yoga and mountain biking. Or just head out for a walk and recharge your batteries in the surrounding countryside, which has been designated Denmark’s first Geopark by Unesco. On site is an acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant, while a more approachable bistro dishes up items like seared langoustine with fermented garlic. Ask about seasonal cocktails, which are inspired by more than 100 different herbs in the castle’s herb garden.
On a side street behind Nyhavn Canal, this stunner of a boutique hotel seamlessly combines design elements from colonial to midcentury modern. Some of the 54 rooms are on the small side, inspired by luxury train cabins, while larger ones offer fireplaces, soaking tubs, kitchenettes and living rooms. The charming common areas include the all-day Sanders Kitchen where complimentary breakfast is served. The space evolves for lunch and dinner, drawing hip locals who come for the Jerusalem artichoke risotto and lamb saddle. There’s also a glass-covered roof terrace on the fifth floor for cocktails. When you’re ready to explore, jump on a complimentary loaner bike and hit the cobbled streets.
You can’t get much closer to Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park than this adjacent hotel, which wows visitors with its unusual Scandinavian and Moorish design. Despite its grandiose size, there are only 38 rooms and suites here, decorated with Nordic design, classical art and beautiful antiquities from the Far East. Health and wellness seekers have access to a rooftop pool with a built-in tide, as well as a fitness centre with a “cardio hot room” and hammam. Take your pick of four restaurants – including a healthy option that serves organic greens and falafels with coriander pesto – patisserie, lobby bar and seasonal cocktail bar on the roof. Look for special events, like intimate concerts and art exhibits.