Photography by Villa Copenhagen
08 February 2023
In the heart of Copenhagen is Villa Copenhagen, an environmentally friendly five-star hotel that embodies design principles the Danes are renowned for – open space, light, symmetry and minimalism.
It all starts in the stunning atrium lobby, above which is the original 1912 Danish Post and Telegraph Office tower.
And let’s not forget function. As well as being a beautiful space that demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between past and present Copenhagen, the Courtyard consists of a cocktail bar that is marketed to locals as well as international guests, with regular DJs, bands and pop-up events, plus spacious, comfortable chairs and lounges.
The Danes are masterful at redesign and re-use, and the latter is central to the hotel’s philosophy of “conscious luxury”, which sees it taking responsibility for its environmental footprint by including carbon-free dining and zero waste in the brasserie Kontrast.
There’s even an Earth Suite. Big on luxury and sustainability, all materials and fabrics used to design and decorate the room have been recycled. They say it’s the greenest hotel suite in the world.
The rooms are beautiful – the colour palette is muted and neutral with flashes of gold and chrome black and shiny marble surfaces. The bathroom is huge with a deep tub underneath a bay window that looks out onto the Copenhagen skyline and a double shower head.
One of my takeaways from staying here – and I literally mean takeaways – is the exquisite bath products provided. (Upon returning to Australia, I researched how I could get my hands on more.)
Villa Copenhagen uses environmentally friendly local brand Scandinavisk, specifically the SKOG fragrance, which smells like washing and moisturising in a fresh Danish pine forest.
With 390 rooms, Villa Copenhagen is big, which means you need to book a time at the heated, rooftop lap pool and bar. The staff mention this at check-in and it’s worth doing there and then. I stayed at the tail end of summer on a Thursday night and it was busy, however, it’s worth visiting the rooftop to have a dip and a steam in the Swedish sauna before a sundowner.
And the next morning, hit the buffet breakfast that is famous for Rug, the hotel’s in-house bakery that makes the most delicious cakes, croissants and cinnamon buns. The smell alone is intoxicating.
While you wouldn’t know it from the rooms, which are blissfully quiet, the hotel is centrally located on the busy Tietgensgade, near the famous Tivoli Amusement Park and Gardens, one of Copenhagen’s historic landmarks.
But if shopping at the uber-cool Danish boutiques, bar hopping and sampling New Nordic cuisine is more your speed, you’ll be spoilt for choice with some of the inner city neighbourhoods within walking – or cycling – distance.
Once a red-light district, this neighbourhood on the other side of Central Station (Kobenhavns Hovedbanegard) has a diverse demography that has changed in recent years as a result of urban renewal.
Trendy bars, cafes and restaurants frequented by hipsters characterise this “bro”. In 2022, one of its streets – Vaernedamsvej, known as Little Paris as it boasts due French restaurants, wine bars, and florists – was named the fifth coolest street in the world by Time Out magazine.
If there’s one photo that encapsulates the beauty of Copenhagen, it’s standing in front of the coloured buildings that frame the canal in Nyhavn. There are plenty of cafes and bars with outdoor seating to have lunch or afternoon cocktail by the water.
To get there, it’s a walk down the Strøget, one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe which has a range of shops, in particular luxury brands.
The multicultural melting pot of Copenhagen, which is a centre for Michelin-starred New Nordic restaurants at one end of the culinary spectrum to rustic seafood bars and the best shawarmas in the city.
The finest and most eclectic Scandi fashion and design shops can also be found in this neighbourhood, where you can easily lose yourself for hours.
This is one of the most picturesque parts of Copenhagen. Made up of a group of small islands, it is one of the best places to do traditional boat tours or guided kayak tours. There are also waterfront bars that boats pull up to, order beers and then get back onto their boat and motor off down the canals.
Nearby is the famous Christiania Free Town, a unique, self-governing commune that sprung up in 1971 after a group of homeless people turned an abandoned military area into a community. Feel free to visit but don’t take photos.
Rooms at Villa Copenhagen rooms start at DKK1790 ($370) to penthouse suites for DKK23,210 ($4775) *depending on the season.