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Copenhagen

January 5, 2009 By: Mary Winston Nicklin Travel Agent
 

Maritime allure and design-savvy digs define Denmark's capital


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There’s a storybook quality to the seaside Danish capital of Copenhagen, where cobblestone streets beg to be strolled (or biked), and canals meander past royal residences and traditional houses. After 1,000 years, the largest city in Scandinavia and home to one of the world’s oldest kingdoms, still seems like a village. The sensible Danes—known for moderation and social progressivism—have created orderly neighborhoods, replete with cool, 21st-century design. Copenhagen is a creative design capital, and its hotels are tributes to the contemporary zeitgeist.

Alberto K Radisson SAS Royal Hotel

Alberto K at the Royal offers a magnificent view of Copenhagen from the top floor of the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel

Case in point: The Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, hailed as the world’s first design hotel when legendary Danish architect Arne Jacobsen infused it with his “Danish Modern” style in 1960, building the city’s first skyscraper. Custom-designed furniture, like Jacobsen’s world-famous Egg and Swan chairs, were made expressly for the hotel and still preside over the lobby. Though the hotel enjoyed a recent renovation, Room #606 remains exactly as Jacobsen designed it, decked out in the original teal-colored furnishings, a tribute to the Danish design master. This is understandably the hotel’s most requested accommodation.

Naturally, a hotel of this caliber has attracted its share of celebrities, like Jackie Kennedy, Oluf Palme and Bill Clinton. For your very own A-list clients, contact Sales Coordinator Boline Andersen Karademir ([email protected], 011-45-3342-6479) for bookings. Most rooms have views, including some overlooking Tivoli Gardens, but book a suite on the twentieth floor for panoramic vistas of Copenhagen. (Rooms were smartly designed with walls of windows allowing as much daylight as possible in these northerly latitudes.) Alberto K at the Royal, the hotel’s award-winning Italian restaurant, also sits on the building’s top floor, so your clients can gaze out over the city while enjoying a four- or six-course menu just as sublime as the views. Bringing together Danish raw ingredients and classic Italian ones, Head Chef Søren Selin serves mouthwatering dishes like Langoustine from Læsø paired with pancetta and onion, Pork from Grambogård served with truffle from Umbria, and cheese plates that showcase magnificent morsels of Danish blue along with Italian goat cheese. The restaurant is named after the hotel’s first general manager. His son, Roy A. Kappenberger ([email protected], 011-45-3342-6084), is now the general manager.

Your clients will appreciate the complimentary Internet access and the 21,528-square-foot fitness center with personal trainers on call.

Hotel Twentyseven Copenhagen

Rooms at Hotel Twentyseven are simple and elegant

Another stylish option is the Clarion Collection Hotel Twentyseven, a cutting-edge hotel with a killer location in the middle of Copenhagen, just steps from Tivoli Gardens. Top Danish designers and architects fashioned the 200 rooms with Scandinavian functionality and style. Encompassing three categories (Standard, Superior and Executive), the rooms feature designer furniture, flat-screen TVs and duvet-covered “Tibrobädden” beds. Bathrooms are appointed in black slate. Your clients will enjoy complimentary wireless-Internet access, a free buffet breakfast and a complimentary business center. Book an Executive Deluxe room on the fifth floor to ensure beautiful views over the city’s rooftops, spires and turrets. Insiders tell us that there is one Executive Deluxe with a Jacuzzi. Director of Sales Jette Schjøtt ([email protected], 011-45-7027-5627) is happy to help with VIP reservations. The hotel is managed by Christopher Alm ([email protected], 011-45-7027-5627).

Your clients won’t want to miss an evening at the hotel’s Absolut Ice Bar, where even the bar glasses are carved from ice sourced from the Torne River, 125 miles above the Arctic Circle. Cooled to a constant 23 degrees, the bar lends coats and gloves for guests to keep warm during the 40-minute experience. Twice a year, international artists are invited to create ice sculpture exhibitions within this happening space. For a cozier nightcap, suggest the Honey Ryder Cocktail Lounge, specializing in “hyper-classical and molecular cocktails.”

Hotel Guldsmeden Bertrams

Hotel Guldsmeden Bertrams is organic and luxe at the same time

A little farther from the city center, Hotel Guldsmeden Bertrams radiates charm and hospitality. (The revitalized Vesterbro neighborhood is now attracting a hipster crowd to its cafés, vintage clothing boutiques and design shops.) Sandra and Marc Weinert opened their first Hotel Guldsmeden in 1999, and now their hotel chain has expanded to include four boutiques in Denmark (the Axel landed on the 2008 Condé Nast Traveler Hot List), a resort in Bali near Ubud and a small villa hotel in the south of France. Central to the hotel concept is the importance of going organic. Even the toiletries, created especially for the hotel, are eco-friendly. Your clients can order up organic cocktails and dive into a lavish breakfast buffet (included in the room price), featuring the freshest organic products from nearby farms and warm bread baked next door at Emmery’s, Copenhagen’s best natural bakery. Regulars keep coming back for the homemade yogurt, dried blueberries, honey-and-almonds and brown-bread muesli.

Bertrams is family-run, and it shows. It’s not just the attentive, individualized service from staff, who act as hosts and hostesses, but the warm ambiance, enhanced by rooms decorated with Persian rugs, Balinese teak furniture and four-poster beds. The 47 rooms (including five suites) have flat-screen TVs with DVD players and organic minibars. Superior Rooms, Junior Suites and Mini Suites have balconies. Junior Suites are the most spacious.

Agent Advice

­Thorunn Matthias Bigler of Protravel International specializes in Scandinavia. She started working as a travel agent in­ her native Iceland, then moved to Copenhagen and London before settling in New York, where she’s lived more than half her life. Her fluency in five languages facilitates her work. For Bigler, Copenhagen offers a wealth of sights for her clients not to miss. Tivoli Gardens tops the list, and a visit to Freetown Christiania, the controversial, self-governing community in the Danish capital, is fascinating.

Other important sights include the Little Mermaid statue (the national icon), the Nyhavn area, Rosenborg Castle and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. For accommodations, Bigler says, “The old ‘queen’ d’Angleterre is still my favorite hotel, although the Front and the Skt Petri are popular, more modern and happening.” She points out that Copenhagen boasts eight Michelin-starred restaurants. “There is the two-star Noma, Sankt Gertruds Kloster, Peder Oxe’s Vinkaelder Restaurant and Kong Hans Kaelder.”

Note: Kaelder in a restaurant name means “cellar,” and generally refers to an old wine cellar. “Most of these outstanding restaurants are small, so reservations are mandatory.” 

Insiders tell us that favorite accommodations are room numbers ending in 5 (Superior Doubles facing the courtyard with claw-footed bathtubs) and room numbers ending in 8 (Mini Suites with small separate sitting areas and balconies overlooking the garden). Rooms #100, 200 and 300 are situated on the ground floor and have direct access to the garden. It’s worth noting that courtyard-facing rooms are all quieter than rooms facing Vesterbrogade. Feel free to contact Hotel Manager Lise Egenius ([email protected]) with any special booking requests, though the booking department ([email protected]) is quite capable and friendly.

See more of Copenhagen, and beyond, in the video below:


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