Smart Scandinavian design and timeless luxury

Copenhagen's most luxurious hotels are the perfect restoration of fascinating historic buildings with modern facilities and furnishings. With so many of them local landmarks, staying in one of these hotels provides both luxury and an overnight experience with Danish cultural heritage and design.

Best-known of these landmarks is the grand hotel D'Angleterre, sitting proudly on Kongens Nytorv Square for more than 250 years. Its red-carpeted entrance has become known for old-world opulence; those looking for something a little more untraditional might prefer the more contemporary makeover of First Hotel Skt Petri, a modern five-star transformation of a '60s department store.

Luxury isn't exclusively for the bigger brand-name hotels, and we find that small hotels can provide a personal level of service missing from the vast sky rises: The tiny, exclusive Nimb hotel on the edge of Tivoli, or the romantic seaside hotel Skovshoved are perfect examples.  

Other historic hotels on our list include the city hall square landmark Palace Hotel from 1910 and the world's first design hotel, the Arne Jacobsen-designed skyscraper the Radisson Blu Royal. Retro design fans will be similarly fascinated by the decor of the Hotel Alexandra, with its rooms fitted out with Danish furniture from the '30s and '50s.  

Waterfront views are offered in our last three hotels, with great harbor locations; north of Nyhavn, both Hotel Front and Admiral Hotel offer high standards of luxury, though quite different in atmosphere. On the other side of town, the Copenhagen Marriott provides brand-name, five-star treatment. 


This maritime-themed hotel is located on the harborfront a little north of downtown Copenhagen and out towards the Little Mermaid. A former warehouse dating from 1787, the building was restored in the late 1970s as part of a European project to restore places of cultural heritage. Its nautical details include the peephole windows. Landmark buildings visible from the hotel include the Opera House and Amalienborg Palace. The hotel restaurant Salt, with its outdoor terrace right by the water, is excellent. Despite this luxury and location, the 366 rooms of the vast Admiral Hotel seem to be used almost entirely by business guests; this spells potentially great weekend deals for online customers.

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The worldwide chain of hotels is synonymous with a high level of quality and Copenhagen's five star Marriott, located on the Vesterbro waterfront not far from Dybbølsbro station, offers all the standard perks and services you might expect. While there's no faulting the hotel's high standards in all of its 401 air-conditioned, spacious rooms, this vast hotel can feel a little impersonal, especially in comparison to other options in the area.

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One of the handful of boutique hotels that have sprung up in and around Copenhagen since the onset of the new millennium, Hotel Front is the stunning transformation of a rather dilapidated waterfront hotel into a glowing white cube with restaurant, gym and 132 modern design rooms; the reliable Scandinavian chain Scandic purchased the hotel a couple of years later. Its placing on the waterfront a short walk from popular tourist street Nyhavn gives a direct view over to the landmark Opera House building on the other side.

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One of Copenhagen's oldest hotels, the grand Palace caused quite a stir when it first opened on city hall square Rådhuspladsen in 1910. For several decades, it was synonymous with luxury, but by 1985 – despite being declared a historic landmark - it began to seem a little old-fashioned. Now under the umbrella of the Scandic group of hotels, it was carefully restored and extensively modernized in 2008 with a more contemporary makeover; the new Palace offers exceptional service in one of downtown Copenhagen's best locations.

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A fashionable old apartment building from 1910, retro design hotel Alexandra is one of Copenhagen's most interesting hotels, retaining a feeling of tradition along with modern facilities including eco-friendly certification. All rooms are furnished with original pieces from the 1930s to '50s, the pricier, 'Classic Danish Design rooms' are decorated in tribute to a single design icon, with interior designers like Finn Juel, Hans J. Wegner and Arne Jacobsen on this list. The lobby is similarly kitted out; the hotel also has full board restaurant in the building.

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Outside the city
Skovshoved Hotel
Photo courtesy of Skovshoved Hotel

A 17th-century country inn north of Copenhagen in the upmarket coastal suburb of Skovshoved, popular with both the jetset crowd and the boating circuit. A stay here combines old world luxury with five star pampering. The hotel has been listed as one of the world's hippest small hotels by Conde Nast and its restaurant was recommended by the Michelin guide for four consecutive years from 2007 onwards. With just 22 rooms, this hotel offers a personal touch and sea views from most of its modern, though romantically-styled rooms. Not surprisingly, the hotel is popular with wedding parties.

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The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel was the world's first design hotel: Opened in 1960 and created by Arne Jacobsen, it made international waves with its groundbreaking architecture, including a reflective facade decades ahead of its time and a distinctive spiral staircase; small details include the 'Swan' and 'Egg' chairs in the foyer and the cutlery in the upmarket, top-floor restaurant Alberto K, which Stanley Kubrick found futuristic enough to incorporate into his sci-fi masterwork '2001'. Today, the 260-room, 20-floor skyscraper remains one of the highest buildings in Copenhagen; still luxurious, it can feel a little 20th-century. Checking out the hotel's Room 606 should be a must for all fans of retro design; it's the only one of the Royal's rooms to retain completely Jacobsen's original interior.

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Nimb Hotel
Photo courtesy of Nimb

Part of the glittering white Nimb building on the edge of Tivoli gardens, this Moorish palace houses Copenhagen's most exclusive boutique hotel. Nimb has just 14 rooms, nine of which are suites, and all of them unique. Old-world luxury sits comfortably with the ultra-modern here with open fireplaces and antique furniture next to B&O flatscreen TVs and an iPod docking station; lounge decadently in your room while below you the thrill seekers of Tivoli play on. For the jetsetter sightseer, a private limousine service in the hotel's own Audi A8 can drive you around the city. A stay here starts at DKK 2,000 a night; pampering is naturally included in the price.

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Hotel D'Angleterre

Despite the fact that the closest most people will get to staying in this historic mansion of a hotel is a fancy lunch in the hotel's ground floor restaurant, D'Angleterre is one of Copenhagen's best known landmarks and has come to epitomize luxury and affluence. It's stood proudly on the King's Square since 1755 and attracts dignitaries, royals and celebrities who value the hotel's high levels of discretion. The list of prominent people who have stayed at the Angleterre goes back as far as HC Andersen, with Grace Kelly and Laurel and Hardy in between (the heroes of silent comedy used their hotel balcony to wave to fans). These days, the grand Kongens Nytorv landmark is considered rather too traditional; as the hotel is currently closed for renovation, we'll have to wait and see what changes will be unveiled when D'Angleterre reopens in fall 2012.

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Ever since stars like Robbie Williams started choosing Skt Petri over D'Angleterre its reputation as the hotel of the rich and famous was cemented. This luxury five star boutique hotel is situated in Copenhagen's historic Latin Quarter, close to both the city's cathedral and its renaissance Round Tower. With excellent conference and meeting facilities (used regularly for fashion shows and product launches), Sankt Petri is the only hotel in Scandinavia to have made Condé Nast's top 100. The 268-room Skt Petri has come a long way since its department store days: Daells was more Sears than Selfridges before it closed in 1999, the transformation of the 1920s building into luxury hotel taking place in 2003. Skt Petri is also the name of the local German church situated on the other side of Nørregade. Check out the hotel's modern brasserie restaurant or its exclusive cocktail lounge Bar Rouge.

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Meet Jane Graham

After touring most of Europe in her twenties, Jane was charmed by Copenhagen's relaxed tempo and moved there from her native northern England in 1999. Four young children at home has meant...  More About Jane