Historic and modern, noisy and sophisticated at the same time, Copenhagen opens up to every person with its own facet of emotions.
According to statistics, the Danes are among the happiest people on the planet and it seems that when you get to the capital of the kingdom – Copenhagen, you unwittingly become one of them.
In the summer, when many EU countries had restrictions related to the pandemic, we were lucky enough to visit one of the safest cities to travel to. This is due to the fact that more than 75% of the Danish population are vaccinated, and restrictions in the country have been completely lifted from September 10, as of 2021. Anyone can take a free test for the presence of coronavirus – both a citizen of Denmark and a traveler from any country.
Therefore, the capital of the Kingdom is always lively, combining historical and cultural heritage, modern architecture and green parks, many gastronomic establishments and original places for leisure. The smiling faces of Danes, crowds of pedestrians and cyclists, mouth-watering Danish pastries, minimalism – all this contributes to the positive mood to the everyday life of the citizens with an ecological bias, which they care about so much.
What to see in Copenhagen? If you’re young, this city, with its world’s oldest amusement parks, trendy shops and nightclubs, will feel like a children’s playground. Culture lovers will be able to admire magnificent palaces all day long and visit museums that display treasures from the Viking and Bronze Age. For example, you can visit the castles of Kronborg, Frederiksborg and Christiansborg Palace. By the way, not far from the latter, in about a five-minute walk, there is the lively Strøget shopping area, starting at the Town Hall Square. You will not find the name of the area on city maps: in fact, these are several intersecting streets; and a huge pedestrian zone is a concentration of prestigious shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Strøget is one of the largest pedestrian open-air shopping streets in the world. There are also specialized establishments with a rich history selling international brands such as Max Mara, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, H&M, Weekday and Zara, as well as less prominent shops for fashionistas.
Regardless of whether you are looking for a small souvenir or shopping in an upmarket boutique, you will find what you are looking for here. Although prices are quite high in this shopping district, there are also sales. If you want to save some money, walk along Strøget towards the Old Town, and then turn into one of the narrow alleys – there you will find the goods you need at more affordable prices. In Denmark, beauty usually manifests itself in something practical and well thought out. Household items, especially kitchen items, are a favorite of Danish design. They are not necessarily made of expensive materials, but they should be simple and work flawlessly. The beauty of Danish design is functionality and reliability. In short, the capital of Denmark will not disappoint anyone!
All major sights of Copenhagen are within walking distance from the Central Railway Station, opposite of which there is an original, historical building, built in 1912, which until recently housed the Central Post Office and Telegraph Office of the Danish capital.
THE HOTEL AS A PUBLIC SPACE
After careful and thorough reconstruction of the historical building, a five-star hotel “Villa Copenhagen” appeared here, which kindly welcomed us and became our cozy home during our visit to Copenhagen. Considering that the building, built in the neo-baroque style, was recognized as an architectural monument and had a unique status, special attention of the Danish public was riveted to this property.
After visiting the hotel, we can safely say that the team of architects, engineers, restorers, designers and artists did their jobs brilliantly: preserving the cultural heritage, historical interiors and details of the past, successfully combining them with modern infrastructure for a comfortable stay at the hotel.
We sat down with Peter Høgh Pedersen, Managing Director of Villa Copenhagen, and talked about the successful implementation of the project and how this property stands out from others.
PHP: Our complex is located in a historic building, which served with dignity for the postal Administration of the capital of Denmark until 2015. We started working on the project in 2017 and its implementation is the result of a lot of work done, and in many ways it also testifies to the resilience of the Copenhagen people, which helped us open our doors in July 2020, in the midst of a pandemic.
Looking at the structure of the building, it seemed that it would be quite suitable for hotels of a classic, luxurious style like KEMPINSKI or RITZ-CARLTON. However, for us Scandinavians, some of the outstanding examples of modern hotels in London, Berlin and New York have become sources of inspiration.
Our vision behind the project was to create an original place for the majority, not a select few.
Thus, the idea manifested itself in designing a space with a boutique hotel atmosphere and a cozy ambiance in a building measuring 25,000 square meters, and we did it.
I also had a desire to remove the word “hotel” from the name, hence “Villa Copenhagen”, where everyone is always welcome, regardless of the status of visiting the complex.
There are extensive outdoor and indoor green spaces available for visitors, contributing to a sense of well-being and tranquility in public places, an inspiring and fun atmosphere. Social spaces include The Courtyard, designed by Shamballa Jewels, a jewellery brand that combines Scandinavian design traditions with ancient oriental philosophy to create a multidimensional space for events, live music concerts and exhibitions.
Interesting is the Old Boardroom, a legacy of the Post and Telegraph era, formerly located in the building and now serving as an excellent venue for private meetings and dinners for which there is a well-equipped kitchen. The historic hall has almost completely retained its original appearance with antique chandeliers, restored wood paneling and wall tapestries.
We also offer various premises with a total area of 7,546 square meters, which can be easily transformed for meetings of any level, whether for small gatherings or large events with up to 1200 people.
We commissioned Mater Design to create conference room chairs, each made exclusively from 6 pounds of recycled marine waste.
Of particular note is our rooftop pool and bar, where guests can take a dip in the 25-meter eco-friendly swimming pool, heated year-round by the excess heat generated by the kitchen refrigerators. Here you can enjoy an excellent cocktail while sitting comfortably in the original armchairs, work out in the 24-hour wellness center, go to the sauna or go for a run in the cozy garden, where we grow organic herbs, spices, vegetables and collect honey for our culinary establishments.
– What other dining establishments are there at the Villa besides the rooftop bar?
PHP: Located on the ground floor of the former mail sorting room, Public and Rug Bakery are a spacious open kitchen area where guests are provided with a personalised selection of fresh breads, pastries and coffee, as well as à la carte meals that can be served to their room.
Archival photographs inspired the entire design process using original arched openings, draped lamps, wall cladding, and original glazed brickwork. Using these elements, we try to tell the story through the lens of modernity.
T37 Lounge Bar offers a menu of ironic aesthetics, signature cocktails and light snacks.
The bar has been designed with a fresh take on contemporary luxury. Mailbag straps hang as a centrepiece above the counter, and a striking palette of cherry and olive colours contrast with vintage cherry wood and marble elements. A tiled fireplace, cabinets reminiscent of residential Danish design, plush rugs and multi-layered warm lighting ensure that guests experience the Danish hygge.
Next door is the Playroom with board games, books and luxurious furnishings for private and quiet evenings.
The cozy brasserie Kontrast has its own entrance from the street facing the Central Station and offers 24-hour service. Fresh, aromatic dishes made with organic ingredients from our garden and local suppliers are served in the lively open kitchen.
I want to emphasise that in all gastronomic establishments at the Villa, we offer only organic food, which focuses on zero food waste.
– Please tell us more about the main principles of Villa Copenhagen?
PHP: Our level of service is based on three values: Contrast, Happiness and Conscious Luxury.
Regarding contrast, our hotel is focused on a balanced approach to life, reflecting Copenhagen’s rich heritage, sustainability and diversity.
Happiness is to strive to appreciate the little joys of life, while not forgetting about your impact on the environment.
Finally, deliberate luxury – from high ceilings and herringbone floors in rooms to critically acclaimed paintings by Wilhelm Hammershoy, the 19th century anti-impressionist – Villa Copenhagen surrounds you with exquisite luxury and opulence. We are also home to the finest private art collection in the city, valued at over USD 2 million. Together with renowned art curator Sune Nordgren, works by local talent and renowned international artists are now on display.
– Can you tell us more about the stylish design of your Villa?
PHP: To keep the new interiors in line with the grandeur of 1912 Neo-Baroque architecture, and to keep the building at the forefront of Scandinavian design for another hundred years, we invited Universal Design Studio, an award-winning London architecture firm, to design several public spaces and 381 rooms on five floors of the hotel. The rooms now evoke the ambiance of a sophisticated Danish residence and have all the comforts, as well as restored original windows and interiors in muted tones of the color palette. Modern technologies have made it possible to enter rooms without a key, remote check-in and virtual check-out.
The firm also designed the two-story Universal Penthouse Suite, which features a large spiral walnut and steel staircase leading to the living room and master bedroom.
Other contributors to the project include Danish architect Eva Harlow, who designed the popular Earth Suite, a suite made entirely of recycled materials and textiles with sustainable furnishings from Mater Design, while the remaining seven suites were designed by Shamballa Jewels, including the Shamballa Master Suite.
– “Villa Copenhagen” was named one of the most beautiful hotels in the world by ELLE Décor. What is the current mission of Villa?
PHP: We strive to attract both local residents and visitors from other cities and countries, therefore we play an active role in creating a sustainable Copenhagen. Resilient cities and communities are attractive to tourists both now and in the long run.
We want to be the best hotel in the world by making the extra effort, testing sustainable hospitality concepts and passing on knowledge to our fellow partners, competitors and customers.
– Thank you, Peter, for the interesting conversation and warm hospitality! We wish you and the friendly team of “Villa Copenhagen” success, well-being and prosperity, as well as the implementation of all the plans!
Leaving this exceptional place to go to the airport, which can be reached by train from the railway station in just 16 minutes, it felt that while being part of the Nordic Choice Hotel Group, this boutique hotel is like no other. It offers its vision aligning with the values of contrast, conscious luxury, Danish happiness and is determined to redefine the hospitality industry.
We love this fitting alteration of an old building – as it now has a chance for a second, no less interesting, life!