These Top Copenhagen Hotels Are Proof That Danes Do Design Best

Rickard L. Eriksson

From classic to cutting-edge, Copenhagen’s top hotels are all evidence of the Danish commitment to great design.

Royal Hotel Copenhagen

Upon opening in 1960, the Royal was Copenhagen’s first skyscraper and was known as the SAS Royal. Several name changes later, the 261-room hotel still has the best location in the city, with views of Tivoli Gardens and the Baltic Sea in the distance.

Earlier this year the hotel underwent a major renovation at the hands of Space Copenhagen, which left intact much of Arne Jacobsen’s original design, from the dining room cutlery to the iconic Egg and Swan chairs, while adding a more informal atmosphere. Hard-core traditionalists should book Room 606, which is perfectly intact, right down to the doorknob. Rooms from $290.


The rooftop conservatory of Hotel Sanders. Courtesy Hotel Sanders

Hotel Sanders

Ballet dancer turned hotelier Alexander Kølpin likes to create a story for his audience, aka his guests. Arriving at his Hotel Sanders, just steps from the Royal Danish Theater, you immediately feel like you’ve entered another era. The clubby lobby has an English colonial (rattan furniture, potted plants) meets classic French bistro (warm lighting, Deco prints) vibe that draws a fashionable crowd at cocktail hour.

The 54 guestrooms feature an earthy, neutral palette, with lots of wood, leather, and linen, as well as artworks (vintage black-and-white photos, Expressionist paintings) chosen with Kølpin’s discerning eye. While the main restaurant serves an international menu all day, the rooftop conservatory is an ideal spot for an afternoon tea or a post-shopping aperitif. Rooms from $410.

Hotel 71 Nyhavn

This hotel is made up of two stoic brick buildings with green shutters—converted warehouses built in the early 19th century. A stone’s throw from the harbor, it has an enviable location on the Nyhavn canal, with busy sidewalk cafés on one side and antiques shops and galleries lining the charming, winding streets on the other.

The 130 freshly refurbished rooms are outfitted with comfortable, minimal furnishings from the likes of Fritz Hansen, Gubi, Bernard Schottlander, and Space Copenhagen. Rooms facing the water offer unobstructed sunrise views. Rooms from $275.


Hotel Herman K’s lobby bar. Courtesy Hotel Herman K

Hotel Herman K

In a city committed to innovative design, the new 31-room Herman K manages to stand out for its outré conversion of a once windowless transformer station in the center of town. Outside, it’s covered in striated metal cladding; inside, the walls are raw concrete. You enter a three-story, yet narrow lobby with a cozy lounge off to one side where you can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine or nightcap.

Restaurant Roxie, run by the team from the nearby Michelin-starred Kadeau, serves New Nordic cuisine like smoked cod roe on grilled bread or Norwegian diver scallops with leek flowers. The spare, neutral guest-room decor gets a graphic kick from the black-and-white marble in the bathrooms. Rooms from $490.

Hotel D'Angleterre

While newer hotels in Copenhagen have taken a low-touch, design-centric approach to luxury, the d’Angleterre has stayed firmly rooted in its old-school, white-glove grandeur. The gleaming Victorian palace right on the King’s Square, the liveried doormen, the formal Michelin-starred restaurant, the flowers and fabrics—it all conjures, well, a kingliness that is rare in the Scandinavia of egalitarian simplicity.

But stuck in the past it’s not: The recently redone interiors added a modern palette (black, plum, silver), and the Balthazar. Champagne Bar—a lively hangout from cocktail hour to nightcaps—diffuses any sense of stuffiness. Book the d’Angleterre Suite for panoramic views, and don’t miss the spa, one of the
best in the city. Rooms from $660.


One of two bedrooms in the Apartment. Courtesy The Apartment

The Apartment

Laid out like a residential space and arrayed with distinctive vintage furnishings and works of art, the gallery-cum-shop known as the Apartment has been a destination for design seekers since it opened seven years ago. This past summer, owner-curator Tina Seidenfaden Busck opened another Apartment—one that you don’t have to leave at closing time. In the same stately 18th-century building in trendy Christianshavn, where she lives with her family, she set up a two-bedroom short term rental with views of the canal.

The bright, book-filled spaces happily obliterate any misconceptions of Scandinavian design as being limited to monochromatic minimalism. “I’ve got a deep passion for textiles and patterns,” says Seidenfaden Busck. It shows here with a playful aesthetic—floral and striped wallpaper, furniture, and rugs from the likes of Ilse Crawford, Märta Måås-Fjetterström, and Muller van Severen—that’s 50 shades of anything but gray. From $1,140 per night.

Nimb Hotel

Built in 1909 next to the Tivoli Gardens, the Nimb Hotel is all bright extravagance on the outside, with thousands of bulbs illuminating a façade designed to look like a Moorish palace (from a time when Danes were besotted with the stories of the Arabian nights). The interior, however, is defined by understated luxe, with wide oak floorboards and working fireplaces in many guest rooms, some of which have terraces overlooking the famed Tivoli light installations.

A new extension has doubled the hotel’s capacity to 38 rooms and suites without sacrificing any of its boutique charm—each room is unique, furnished with handpicked antiques. The bar occupies the former grand ballroom, still lit by the original chandeliers, while the new wing has a rooftop terrace and pool, a first for a Danish hotel. Rooms from $435.