Nestled behind Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn, the Sanders is the latest boutique hotel to open in Copenhagen. It exudes an understated luxury typical of socialist Scandinavia, with an eye on what’s happening in London – citing popular celebrity hangout Chiltern Firehouse and private members club Soho House as inspiration.
The hotel was founded by former Danish Royal Ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin, owner of Helenekilde Badehotel and Strandhotel Tisvildeleje both in Tisvilde, a quaint coastal summer town north of Copenhagen and home to Musik i Lejet, one of Europe’s best small festivals.
This latest project is perhaps Kølpin’s most personal yet. Nearby is the Royal Danish Theatre, where the young Kølpin performed as part of an internationally acclaimed ensemble (and the world’s third oldest). Built in the 1840s, the original Hotel Opera was popular with dancers, singers and actors. Its reinvention represents the closing of a circle.
The Sanders occupies three buildings on a quiet, cobbled residential street opposite a seamstress, shoemaker and fabric store which supply the gargantuan Royal Danish Theatre. Easily reached from Kongens Nytorv metro station it’s already proving popular.
Art Deco bar TATA (so named after the red velvet curtain that sweeps up before performances) pays homage to a golden age. There’s an array of beautifully balanced cocktails and best of all, guests are encouraged, as they are with meals from the hotel’s neighbourhood delicatessen, to sit in the cosy candlelit lobby-cum-living room.
The cocktail menu is a mix of light palette cleansers and heavy nightcaps, with everything in between curated into acts – another subtle nod to Kølpin’s past. We recommend the Diamondback, with Rittenhouse Rye whiskey, Coeur de Lion calvados, yellow chartreuse and bitter lemon. The golden mixture glows in the candlelight.
‘People in Denmark aren’t used to going to a hotel bar,’ head of guest relations Julie von Sperling tells Culture Trip. It seems Copenhageners are willing to make an exception for TATA which was packed on Friday night. The white tuxedo-clad bartenders worked furiously through the night. Word of mouth, it seems, is spreading.
Nearly all of the furniture in the Sanders is bespoke. Designers Lind + Almond have created a space that induces serious interior envy. The rattan chairs and sideboards work especially well with the woven rugs, velvet cushions and heavy draped curtains.
Culture Trip stayed in a Sanders Bedroom+ (one of six categories available), which is probably larger than most London studio apartments. The king-sized bed was incredibly soft, and the walk-in rainforest shower (typical of Denmark) and Ortigia bath products felt luxurious. All guests benefit from a complementary mini bar with soft drinks, gourmet chocolate and crisps.
London-based art consultancy Dais Contemporary were commissioned to add some colour. According to their website: ‘The artworks make a subtle reference to the Royal Danish Theatre, as well as Kølpin’s personal biography, with pieces inspired by music, movement and the human body. Other works in the collection reference the modernist and expressionist periods, two periods that have become synonymous with important works of Danish art and design.’
Sanders Kitchen, which along with TATA has its own separate entrance, is distinguished by grey porcelain and white ceramic tiles. Food is served from a central wooden counter around which elegantly dressed staff glide back and forth.
For breakfast, Culture Trip enjoyed a deliciously smooth portion of scrambled eggs on rye bread with a side of thin, crispy bacon indulgently paired with a steaming mug of real hot chocolate (don’t judge). The menu, from 26-year-old head chef Thomas Hurst, changes daily depending on what’s available in the market.
The hotel will soon expand from two floors and 20 rooms to five floors and 50 rooms by early 2018. Sanders will also open a rooftop conservatory with its own bar and views of the Copenhagen skyline. ‘We want guests to feel like they’re coming home to us,’ says Sperling. ‘The new generation of travellers want to live like a local and we aim to give them that experience.’
‘I recommend our guests borrow a Sanders bicycle and ride across the bridge to Christianshavn,’ she says. ‘While there they should enjoy a meal at Amass (from the same team behind Noma, considered one of the world’s best restaurants) before taking a private boat tour through the canals.’
‘Anyone visiting Copenhagen should explore its galleries including The Cisterns (a former water reservoir beneath Søndermarken park), backyard gallery Last Resort and Kunstal Charlottenborg, just a stone’s throw from Sanders,’ continues Sperling. ‘Start the evening with a cocktail at Ruby bar and end the night at TATA with one of our well considered and delicious cocktails.’
Culture Trip has no doubt that given its warm, knowledgeable staff, beautiful interiors, delicious food and cocktails, the Sanders is well equipped to shine on the big stage.