Kurhotel Skodsborg: A luxury spa hotel you’ll love in Copenhagen

Set between the ocean and the forest, Kurhotel Skodsborg just north of Copenhagen is one of the leading luxury spa hotels in Denmark and an easy 30 minute train ride from the city or the airport. Although close to the vibrant centre of Copenhagen, the hotel is seductively relaxing, with views of the ocean from the rooftop terraces and a private jetty where guests can swim all year round. With a fabulous spa and state of the art fitness and wellness facilities, this could be the perfect hotel if you are planning a spa break this year. Read on for my review of Kurhotel Skodsborg;

Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen

Kurhotel Skodsborg and the royal connection

In the 19th century, King Frederick VII of Denmark bought a country estate just outside Copenhagen and had a large villa built in what is now the grounds of the hotel. Since the king’s wife, Countess Danner was a divorcée and had risen from humble beginnings, their marriage was not popular in Danish society and so they preferred to spend time together at Skodsborg, away from the glare of the Danish court.

Villa Rex at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Villa Rex at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

Villa Rex, as it is now known, was built in 1857, set in lovely gardens and was used by the king to entertain and to hold meetings with his ministers during the summer months. The villa has been restored to its original appearance based on drawings of the period and is now used for special dinners and parties at the hotel. When we visited it was beautifully set out with pink roses for an engagement lunch.

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Because of its lovely setting, the hotel is popular with Copenhageners for parties and celebration events and there were three christenings and a birthday party going on the weekend we were there. There’s also a cookery school in Villa Rex, where Thomas Rode, a Michelin-starred chef, TV personality and fitness trainer runs cookery demonstrations with lunch in the Villa, combining delicious, healthy food with lifestyle advice.

Roses in Villa Rex, Kurhotel Skodsborg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Roses in Villa Rex, Kurhotel Skodsborg

Check out my hotels booking page for this and other small luxury hotels in Copenhagen

Dr Carl Ottosen and the Skodsborg Sanitorium

In 1898 the hotel was founded as the Skodsborg Sanitorium by Dr Carl Ottosen who had studied health and physiotherapy in the USA. His belief in a healthy lifestyle for the prevention and treatment of illness was extremely modern for the time and the sanitorium was built around his principles of light, air, water, nutrition, exercise and rest. Read my article about finding a healthy holiday in Copenhagen.

Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

Man has more endurance when work is interchanged with rest” wrote Dr Carl Ottosen and at that time before antibiotics, rest and recuperation after illness were essential. Sea bathing was considered extremely healthy and many Badehoteller or bathing hotels were established along the Danish coast. Kurhotel Skodsborg also combines spa and wellness, with a health centre offering professional medical help for rehabilitation, convalescence and physiotherapy, with an acupuncturist, reflexologist, podiatrist and chiropracter available for consultation.

Dr Ottosen's healthy juice drinks at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dr Ottosen’s healthy juice drinks at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

Inspired by Dr Carl Ottosen a different fresh juice drink is available each day in The Lobby, made from fruit and vegetables pressed by a slow juicing method to retain the vitamins and minerals in each glass. We enjoyed the performance-boosting combination of cucumber, celery, pear and apple while on other days you may be offered the anti-inflamatory beetroot, apple, watercress, lemon and ginger, created by top Copenhagen cocktail maker Gromit Eduardson to be delicious as well as healthy.

Where will you stay?

Last summer I stayed with my daughter at Kurhotel Skodsborg in a lovely room with a balcony looking towards the sea. The theme of understated luxury extended to the bedroom which had been recently renovated in a design scheme that is being rolled out throughout the hotel in 2016. The soft green décor reflected the royal forest of Dyrehaven behind the hotel with green-grey walls, a luxurious deep carpet and velvet curtains. I loved being able to see the occasional white sail drift across my view on Øresund, the stretch of sea that divides Denmark and Sweden.

Bedroom in Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Bedroom in Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

The bathroom was also luxurious, with a huge black sink, powerful walk in shower and plenty of delicious natural Karmameju toiletries in big bottles to avoid waste. In the wardrobe we found our towelling robes for the spa as well as a stylish rubber basket to carry all our things. When we visited in June many of the rooms still had the old style decor from a few years ago, but all are due to be redecorated in 2016, so it is worth checking when you book which style you will be getting.

Bathroom at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Bathroom at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

Check out my hotels booking page for this and other boutique hotels in Copenhagen

Spa and fitness at Kurhotel Skodsborg

The spa is one of the highlights of a stay at Kurhotel Skodsborg, which is perfect for those looking for a relaxing spa weekend by the sea with easy access to Copenhagen.  The hotel spa fills one wing overlooking the courtyard and was built in 2012 to create a light, airy oasis of calm with sixteen different water experiences, as well as specialist wellness and beauty treatments.

The Spa at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Spa at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

The Danish artist, Malene Bach was commissioned to create subtle and delicate ornamentation around the spa. Look out for the handblown coloured glass panels set into the roof of the spa, geometric tile patterns inspired by a Moroccan hammam and the washed out stencils in a Japanese fish scale pattern on the walls. At the bottom of the pool the turquoise tiles have a pixel-like pattern to enhance the feeling of moving water, while in other places iridescent mother of pearl effects are used.

Spa at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Spa at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen

With my daughter Sophie-Anne I wafted around the different pools and water experiences, our favourites being the tiled loungers in the small pool overlooking the main spa and the four season water experience with jets of hot and cold water and waterfalls to stand under, accompanied by the tweeting of spring birds and the thunderclaps of autumn. There’s even a snow dispenser so you can recreate that authentic Scandinavian experience of running out of the sauna to roll on the fresh snow!

Relaxing in the Spa at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Relaxing in the Spa at Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen

Be sure to book for the Sauna Gus, an aromatic group spa session managed by a “Gus Master” who gradually raises the temperature of the sauna to an almost unbearable heat, while telling you stories or jokes to take your mind off the heat. There are three spells in the sauna broken up by a break to cool down and shower, and after the final one you get the chance to run outside to the sea and jump off the jetty for an invigorating dip. For those who are a little squeamish about going naked in the German and Austrian spas, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Danes keep their swimwear on in the sauna! After your spa, we laid out in the relaxation areas, with a view of the outdoor Jacuzzi.

Cooling off after an exercise class at Kurhotel Skodsborg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cooling off after an exercise class at Kurhotel Skodsborg

For those who like to keep up a daily fitness routine, the hotel has a state of the art gym and is an accredited CrossFit centre, with fitness sessions being held in the gym, rooftop terrace or even by the sea or in the deerpark adjoining the hotel. While we were there we attended one of the morning fitness classes which ended up with us all running to the jetty and jumping in for a swim at the end of the class. Once the water has reached 16 degrees, usually by June, swimming and paddle-boarding classes are also on offer in the sea.

Bathers at the jetty at Kurhotel Skodsborg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Bathers at the jetty at Kurhotel Skodsborg

Relaxing around the hotel

The gardens around the hotel are beautifully kept and the white rose bushes that lined the drive were wafting their perfume when we visited in June. There is a little summerhouse with a classical statue, a wild meadow area under the tree, pots of purple pansies along the paths and everywhere were wicker easy chairs to sit and relax. Across the coast road that runs outside the hotel are holiday homes and the hotel’s private jetty, and on a clear day you can see across to Sweden. The atmosphere is elegantly restful and many Copenhageners use the hotel for a relaxing spa weekend break away from the city.

Gardens at Kurhotel Skodsbourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Gardens at Kurhotel Skodsbourg

Check out my hotels booking page for this and other luxury spa breaks in Copenhagen

Dining at Kurhotel Skodsborg – the delicious choice is the healthy choice

As you might imagine, with such an emphasis on health and wellbeing, the aim is to make the food both delicious and healthy. The chefs, who have experience from Michelin star kitchens, have created a menu of light, seasonal dishes, based on New Nordic principles of using the best local ingredients in mouth-watering combinations.

Dinner at Kurhotel Skodsbourg in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner at Kurhotel Skodsbourg in Copenhagen

On one evening I dined in the light and airy second floor restaurant with a view towards the sea with attentive and charming service. I chose a dish free-range pork with morels, green asparagus and cabbage sprouts  followed by a desert of rhubarb compote with bright green sorrel granitée and white chocolate crumble, all delicious. (Main dishes 250 DKK, Deserts 120 DKK)

The restaurant at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The restaurant at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen

Breakfast is also served in the restaurant with plenty of healthy choices such as rye and wholegrain bread, salmon, scrambled eggs, meusli, yoghurts and fruit compotes. (Breakfast is 250 DKK if not included with your room). The restaurant adjoins the roof terrace where you can sit on the white wicker sofas with a coffee and a view of the sea, shaded by a sail, almost believing you could be in Santorini.

Roof terrace at Kurhotel Skodsbourg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Roof terrace at Kurhotel Skodsbourg

For informal dining, cocktails and snacks throughout the day, we loved The Lobby on the ground floor of the hotel with soft grey velvet sofas, marble tables and candles flickering in cut-glass holders – so restful and elegant. This is the heart of the hotel where guests can read, chat with friends or have a coffee outside in the courtyard when the weather is fine.

The Lobby at Kurhotel Skodsbourg in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Lobby at Kurhotel Skodsbourg in Copenhagen

In The Lobby we tried the Tea with Georg, a healthy Nordic twist on afternoon tea, served on fine china from Georg Jensen, the Danish jewellery and lifestyle brand. Instead of scones and clotted cream, there was nutty paleo bread with thick slices of smoked salmon and creamy soft cheese, raw nutty cookie balls crumbly shortbread and dark chocolate cakes. We drank the fennel tea, a favourite with the Danes who love any licorice flavours. It was an unusual high tea that lived up to the hotel’s food philosophy of “the delicious choice is the healthy choice”. (Tea with Georg 130 DKK)

Tea with Georg at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tea with Georg at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen

On Sunday the main restaurant was closed, so we ate in The Lobby where I tried “The Meal”, a healthy dish of the day and Sophie-Anne ordered her favourite Caesar’s Salad. A selection of snacks and bistro style dishes are served in the Lobby throughout the day. (The Meal 175 DKK)

Dinner in The Lounge at Kurhotel Skodsbourg, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner in The Lounge at Kurhotel Skodsbourg, Copenhagen

New Nordic cocktails

In the elegant bar at Kurhotel Skodsbourg, we couldn’t resist trying some of the New Nordic Cocktails created by leading Copenhagen bartender, Gromit Eduardsen, creator of the award-winning Copenhagen cocktail. Sophie-Anne’s choice was the Clover Club, a feminine, frothy combination of Tanqueray gin, lemon juice and raspberry syrup while I tried the hotel’s classic New Nordic Whiskey Sour, the Nordic twist being the Frederiksdal cherry wine that is used to finish the cocktail. Read more about New Nordic Cocktails in Copenhagen with the recipes of the ones we tried.

Cocktails at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cocktails at Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen

Who will enjoy staying at Kurhotel Skodsborg?

Kurhotel Skodsborg is very popular with Copenhageners who come to use the fitness and spa facilities and use the hotel as their weekend escape from the city. The hotel also plays host to conferences and business guests in the week and there are often parties and celebration events at the weekend. The hotel will suit couples and groups of friends looking for relaxing spa breaks close to Copenhagen. Older children are welcomed but it’s not really a family hotel.

The hotel would be ideal to stay for a couple of days once you’ve done your sightseeing from a hotel in the centre of Copenhagen – check out the similar style Avenue Hotel. It is also very well connected by train so that you can easily base yourself here and take the train into Copenhagen or head north to Helsingor to see the Hamlet castle. Being a luxury spa hotel the guests were mainly a 50+ crowd but I also noticed quite a few 30-something couples who love the spa and fitness facilities and use the hotel for weekend breaks. Checkout the Kurhotel Skodsborg spa weekend packages as well as their day packages if you are staying in Copenhagen and fancy a relaxing spa day to treat yourself and break up the sightseeing.

Are you a traveller who enjoys a bit of pampering and relaxation when you travel? Do let me know in the comments if Kurhotel Skodsborg sound like your kind of place.

Stay at Kurhotel Skodsborg

Kurhotel Skodsborg is situated just north of Copenhagen in the North Sealand region, with easy access to the city and airport by road or by train – you can be in the city within 30 minutes. There are 85 rooms and suites as well as meeting rooms and conference facilities, extensive spa and fitness facilities, a private jetty for ocean swimming, a rooftop terrace with sundeck and restaurant and lobby bar serving healthy Nordic cuisine and cocktails. Rooms at Kurhotel Skodsborg start from 1900 DKK (£180/€250/$280) per night for 2 people bed and breakfast with use of spa. Check the best prices for Kurhotel Skodsborg and other Copenhagen hotels on my Hotel Booking Page

Louisiana art museum near Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Louisiana art museum near Copenhagen

What can I see nearby?

If you’re staying at Kurhotel Skodsborg there are many things to do nearby that are easily accessible by car or on the train that runs along the coast. It’s worth mentioning that bikes are available to hire at the hotel and you can take them on the train, making it easy to get around. We recommend;

The Karen Blixen House: The home of Karen Blixen, the Danish author of Out of Africa, now open to the public and furnished as when she lived there. Take the train to Rungsted and then the house is a 30 minute walk or 15 minute cycle ride from the station. Read my article: Out of Africa and other Danish Stories

Louisiana Modern Art Museum: A seaside villa that has been enlarged to house a fabulous collection of modern art and sculptures in the gardens. There’s a large cafe with outdoor terrace or you can bring your picnic and sit on the grass overlooking the sea and even go for a swim from the shingle beach. The museum is open late on summer evenings too. Take the train to Humlebaek station, then walk 15 mins or take a short bus ride down the road following the signs to get to Louisiana. Read my article here.

Dyrehaven: Although the main entrance to Dyrehaven or the Deer Park is closest to Klampenbourg station, the park extends right up to Skodsborg and can be accessed behind the hotel for jogging, walking and cycling. There’s an amusement park in the centre of Dyrehaven at Bakken and you can also take a horse and carriage ride around the park.

Helsingør and Kronborg castle: Take the train north to Helsingør to see Kronborg castle, the one that Shakespeare made famous when he wrote about Elinore in Hamlet. You’ll find a picturesque old town and harbour, where ferries run across the Sound to Sweden, should you fancy a day trip. Check out the state of the art Danish Maritime Museum while you’re there.

Finn Juhl House: I wanted to see this but ran out of time, but if you enjoy art and design this is the former home of Finn Juhl, one of the leaders of Scandinavian design, which he built and furnished in the 1940s. The house is next to the Ordrupgaard Modern Art museum designed by Zaha Hadid and a joint ticket will get you in to both. The nearest station is Klampenborg or Charlottenlund but the museum is a little way from the station so you may want to take a taxi or cycle. More details here.

How to get to Kurhotel Skodsborg

For more information about things to do in and around Copenhagen, check out the Visit Copenhagen website as well as the Visit Denmark website for other parts of Denmark.

Heather and Sophie-Anne flew with Scandinavian Airlines from London Heathrow to Copenhagen. SAS fly several times a day to and from London to Copenhagen giving you a choice of times to make the most of your time in Copenhagen. On arrival take the train direct to Kurhotel Skodsborg on the coastal line stopping at Skodsborg and the hotel is a 5 minute walk from the station (turn right as you come out of the station).

Heather and Sophie-Anne used the Copenhagen Card which covers free public transport around Copenhagen as well as free or reduced price entry to many of the attractions in and around Copenhagen.

More things to do in Copenhagen

Light, Air, Water – finding a healthy holiday in Copenhagen – healthy tips for rest and relaxation on your spa break by the sea in Copenhagen.

In Photos – our weekend break in Copenhagen – Our winter weekend in Copenhagen, staying in hip Vesterbro, taking a gastro-cruise around the harbour and seeing the Danish crown jewels.

Like Mother Like Daughter – What we loved on our trip to Copenhagen – Sophie-Anne suggests some things to do in Copenhagen that mothers and daughters will both enjoy.

Thanks to Kurhotel Skodsborg who hosted Heather and Sophie-Anne for their stay at the hotel and Scandinavian Airlines who provided Heather’s flight.

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A year in review – where Heather travelled in 2015

We’re in that lull between the feasting and celebration of Christmas and the fresh starts and new plans of New Year. It’s the quiet time when we can reflect and review the year that’s gone, the time to reminisce and consider what the year brought us: the adventures and challenges, the excitement of visiting new places, the holiday times we enjoyed with loved ones. Here’s a look back to the travels I enjoyed in 2015.

Where Heather travelled in 2015 Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

January – A cottage stay and fossil hunting in Devon and Dorset

The ammonite pavement at Lyme Regis Photo: Heatheronhertravels

The ammonite pavement at Lyme Regis

We started the year with a weekend at Red Doors Farm in Devon through Premier Cottages, a collection of 500 year old thatched cottages, set around a cobbled farmyard. My teenage son and friends made good use of the indoor swimming pool and proved that you’re never too old to feed the goats and chickens. We climbed up to the hill fort near the farm and enjoyed a bracing walk along the beach at Lyme Regis where we spotted fossils on the ammonite pavement that was revealed at low tide.

Read More: Fossil hunting and a weekend in the country at Red Doors Farm, Devon – video

February – A charity visit to India

Meeting sponsor children in India Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Meeting sponsor children in India

In February I flew with Jet Airways to India for a week that was off the tourist map, although I spent a little time exploring Bangalore at the beginning and end of the trip. My purpose was to visit a local charity that I support in Andhra Pradesh and see some of the projects that we had funded. Together with one of the charity trustees I was treated to Bollywood style dances in all the local schools, had endless cups of teas with the nuns who ran them, cut the ribbon on a new water purification plant and presented a womens’ tailoring class with their new sewing machines. It was a week that made me realise more than ever that when you give to those in need, you come away much richer from the experience.

Read More: 13 stories from my charity visit to India – going off the tourist trail

March – A weekend by the sea in St Mawes, Cornwall

St Mawes Harbour in Cornwall Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

St Mawes Harbour in Cornwall

We spent a weekend with friends at the magical Dreamcatchers house from St Mawes Retreats with a view over the Fal estuary in Cornwall. From the bedrooms we could see the tankers passing St Anthony’s lighthouse and the St Mawes ferry heading for Falmouth. We’d stayed at another St Mawes Retreats house before (read my review of Stargazers here) so we knew that we could expect gorgeous Designers Guild fabrics and luxurious furnishings, with sea views to die for. This time we wandered around the harbour and took the St Mawes ferry across the estuary for a Cornish pasty and ale pub lunch in the quaint streets of Falmouth.

Read More: Sea views and springtime in St Mawes – our weekend in Cornwall

April – Venice with the family

Gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice

I was lucky enought to win an apartment stay with Go with Oh through the Passports with Purpose fundraiser and decided to use it for a few days in Venice with my family. Although we visited a few tourist highlights like the Doge’s Palace, we found that the neighbourhoods away from St Mark’s square were much more enjoyable to wander around. We loved the modern art at the Peggy Guggenheim and saw Venice from the water on our boat tour with Walks of Italy when we climbed up the campenile of San Georgio Maggiore for views across the lagoon to San Marco. The only disappointment was the food, but hopefully you’ll do better than me with my tips on How to not eat badly in Venice.

Read More: Join me on our Venice boat tour – with Walks of Italy

April – A weekend in Wiltshire and a sunrise visit to Stonehenge

Stonehenge at Sunrise Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Stonehenge at Sunrise

I stayed at Sarum College inside the close of Salisbury Cathedral for the Social Travel Britain conference and part of the weekend included a walking tour of the cathedral, a private viewing of Magna Carta and a visit to Edward Heath’s old residence of Arundells. The highlight, though, was a sunrise visit to Stonehenge during which we were allowed to walk within the stone circle. This access is only allowed on special guided tours and most tourists can’t get up close to the stones, so it made the experience much more magical.

Read More: Sunrise at Stonehenge – inside the stone circle

May –  Lloret de Mar in Costa Brava, Spain

Seafront at Lloret de Mar Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Seafront at Lloret de Mar in Spain

Lloret de Mar is one of those coastal resorts on the Costa Brava coast of Spain that was built up in the 1960s as one of the first places to welcome mass tourism from the UK. I was there as a speaker at the TBEX conference but took some time out to explore the town and discover its history. While the Lloret de Mar of recent years has gained a reputation for 20-somethings looking for nightlife and older couples seeking a retirement in the sun, I enjoyed walking around the older squares and along the rocky coast path on the edge of town.

In the Museu del Mar, I discovered the connections to Cuba where many locals sailed to make their fortunes, returning to build the grand mansions on the seafront. I tasted the Daiquiri cocktails, another import from Cuba and now the favoured drink of Lloret de Mar, and I loved the restful Santa Clothilde gardens, planted in Italian Renaissance style, overlooking the sea.

Read More: Lloret de Mar – sun, sea and so much more…

June – A weekend in Copenhagen with my daughter

Heather and Sophie-Anne in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather and Sophie-Anne in Copenhagen

I’ve visited Copenhagen many times and in June I returned with my daughter for the opening of  the Absalon Hotel which had been newly renovated in Designers Guild furnishings. I was able to interview Tricia Guild, Creative Director of Designers Guild who was there to open the hotel, as well as trying out new restaurants and cocktails with my daughter. We also spent a couple of nights up the coast at the gorgeous spa hotel, Kurhotel Skodsborg where we wafted around the pools and jumped off the jetty to cool off after our sauna.

Read More: Like mother, like daughter – what we loved on our trip to Copenhagen

June – Alpine Sports Week in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

Mountain-biking in Wilder Kaiser, Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Mountain-biking in Wilder Kaiser, Austria

I love being in the mountains in summer so I jumped at the chance when I was invited to try out some of the outdoor activities on offer during Alpine Sports Week in the Wilder Kaiser region of Austria. During this week different mountain sports are on offer, from high rope walking to canyoning, mountain-biking to Via Ferrata and all for the knockdown price of €99 for 5 days of activities with expert guides. It was the perfect opportunity to try something different, since I’m a keen hiker but was able to test myself with the mountain-biking and high wire climbing in the Hornpark tree forest.

Read More: Heather goes e-mountain-biking in Wilder Kaiser, Austria – video

July – A week with the family in Zakynthos, Greece

Anadalis restaurant in Zakynthos, Greece

In July we made our annual visit to Zakynthos in Greece to visit my sister who runs two hotels there with her husband. We spent the week visiting different beaches, swimming, eating, sunbathing and catching up on family news. This summer my niece had returned to the island after training with a leading hotel group and had decided to get involved in the family business, opening a new Mediterranean restaurant in an idyllic setting by the sea. Anadalis, as it is called, is named after the old estate on which the hotel is built which once belonged to an aristocratic family with a house just a little way up the shore, but you’ll have to read to article to find out why the locals thought the old ruined mansion was haunted. If you visit Zakynthos I highly recommend that you book a table for dinner as the sun goes down over the bay.

Read More: Anadalis – a Mediterranean restaurant by the sea in Zakynthos, Greece

August – Our Azamara Greek Island Cruise

Azamara cruise to Mykonos in Greece Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Azamara cruise to Mykonos in Greece

Later in August we were back to the Greek islands again for a cruise with Azamara Club Cruises which took us from Athens to Santorini, Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi and finally to Istanbul where we ended our cruise. We absolutely loved the luxurious small ship cruise experience with Azamara Club Cruises where the spotlight is firmly on the destinations you visit, creating unique experiences like our magical evening concert among the ancient ruins of Ephesus as the sun went down.

Read More: Windy Mykonos – Day 2 of our Azamara Greek Island Cruise

September – A walking holiday in Austria with Headwater Holidays

View over Seefeld in Austria with Headwater Holidays Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View over Seefeld in Austria with Headwater Holidays

September saw me back in Austria for a few days walking with Headwater Holidays who specialise in relaxing walking and cycling holidays. I was accompanied by my friend Julia for our annual walking trip which has become our tradition since we walked the Tour de Mont Blanc together. On the first day on the high slopes of the Gaistal valley I fell down a slope and hurt my ankle but using the Headwater walking guides we chose the less strenuous walks on subsequent days and enjoyed the rest of the holiday. We watched a rifleman’s parade in Seefeld and walked along a Mental Power trail, walked through the wild Leutasch Gorge and round the lakes above the picturesque town of Mittenwald with its painted houses. Each day brought different mountain scenery and things to see, confirming my love of the mountains in summer.

Read More: Hiking in Austria – the views from the cross at Seefelder Spitze

September – A gourmet visit to Luxembourg

View of the Petrusse Valley in Luxembourg

View of the Petrusse Valley in Luxembourg

In September we spent a few days in Luxembourg, a city and tiny country that’s full of surprises. While Luxembourg is known as a centre for international business, we found a charming and easily walkable city with great food, museums and a fascinating history, making it an ideal weekend break location. We also spent some time touring the Moselle wine region where the Moselle river forms the border with Germany, with many wineries to taste the delicious white wines the sparkling Cremant which was my favourite.

Read More: A gourmet walking tour of Luxembourg old town

November – The Christmas Markets of Heidelberg, Germany

Student Kisses in Heidelberg

Student Kisses in Heidelberg

At the end of November we spent a few day in Heidelberg, Germany to see the Christmas Markets and generally get into the festive spirit. We’d visited Heidelberg previously on a day trip from our Rhine River Cruise and were pleased that we could have more time to explore this picturesque and romantic town at our leisure. We took the river boat down to the Neurberg Abbey Christmas Market, climbed up to the castle, learned the history of the ancient university and student fraternities and ate plenty of hearty German food, delicious cakes and chocolates as well as drinking quite a few mugs of hot Glühwein.

Read More: A Food Lover’s Guide to Heidelberg, Germany

December – A weekend in Le Havre, France

Port of Le Havre in France

Port of Le Havre in France

My final trip of this year was a hop over the channel to le Havre with Brittany Ferries to discover what this channel port would offer for a weekend break. Most Brits drive through Le Havre on their way to their holidays in France but I discovered that there are many fascinating things to see here that make it worth stopping to visit the city and surrounding area. The city was reconstructed after heavy bombing in WW2 and the architecture of the new town (now a UNESCO World Heritage site) represents the modern designs of the 1950s. We visited a 1950s show flat which would have been allocated to those who lost their own houses in the bombing, as well as a gorgeous 18th century ship owner’s mansion. Another highlight was the MUMA modern art museum, a light and airy glass building with the largest collection of Impressionist paintings outside Paris, since painters such as Monet loved this part of the Normandy coast. I’ll be writing about my weekend in Le Havre very soon so stay tuned.

Reviewing the year was a fun way to remind myself of all the fun I had on my travels in 2015. There’s much more to come in 2016 and I wish you Happy Travels for the year to come.

Please note that many of the trips were hosted by the companies mentioned and you can find more details in the articles from each trip.

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Read about where Heather travelled in 2015

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen – and the Designers Guild connection

The colours sizzle and sing as I step into the lime and turquoise reception area of Absalon Hotel in Copenhagen from the stone grey streets of Vesterbro. Colour is at the heart of this newly renovated boutique hotel, as the elegant CEO, Karen Nedergaard told me, when I stayed at the hotel in June; ” In Denmark everything is black and white but I wanted this to be different, to have an international touch.

Absalon Hotel Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Having used Designers Guild furnishings in the sister hotel, Andersen Hotel (as in Hans Christian ) just across the road, Karen was keen to work with the design company again when her much larger Absalon Hotel was due for renovation. Karen and her designers worked with Creative Director, Tricia Guild and the Designers Guild team in their London and Paris showrooms, as well as visiting other hotels for inspiration.

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings

Over many months of renovation, structural changes were made to the 160 room boutique hotel, opening up the ground floor to the street with larger windows for more daylight and restoring many of the traditional plaster cornices and door frames. But Karen was also keen to create the cosy feeling of wellbeing that is known here in Denmark as Hygge, telling me “anyone can sell a night’s stay but what’s difficult is to make the guests feel comfortable and relaxed so they want to come back, you have to work with the emotions as well.”

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Lobby of Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen using Designers Guild furnishings

The vibrant colour choices on the ground floor were a conscious decision as Karen told me “Maybe the guests don’t want to have this in their own home, but they’ll remember that it was something different and that they felt well when they were here.” Interestingly Social Media also influenced the design choices, and old books and an antique telephone booth were placed around the reception area, knowing that guests would love to photograph these details and share the photos with their friends. The new Absalon Hotel aims to attract the well-travelled, design conscious traveller, both Danes and international travellers spending a few days in Copenhagen or starting their cruise here.

Heather (left) meets Tricia Guild of Designer's Guild (centre) and Karen Nedergaard (right) of Absalon Hotel Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heather meets Tricia Guild of Designer’s Guild and Karen Nedergaard of Absalon Hotel

During my stay for the opening party I was thrilled to meet my design heroine, Tricia Guild, Creative Director of Designers Guild, who was there as guest of honour to open the hotel. Over the years I’ve loved Designers Guild fabrics for the colourful designs that reference global and vintage inspiration but always feel fresh and modern. Tricia told me that she feels hotel design around the world is a new way for travellers to learn to express themselves;

“Hotels are no longer 5000 rooms with the same wallpaper in every bedroom, they are really design spaces and I think that’s brilliant. People travel more, they see more individuality and I think that tempts them into being more individual themselves.”

I hope you enjoy the video below where Tricia Guild gives her thoughts on the Absalon Hotel Design

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I chatted with Tricia about the many sources of inspirations she has drawn from her travels, from the renaissance art of Florence to the vibrant saris worn by women in India. It might be an impression from the colours of the landscape or the wild flowers growing, yet everday situations can also be inspiring; “You can walk down the street and be inspired if you keep your eyes open”. A great collector of vintage and antiques, Tricia told me how she loves the great Scandinavian designers like Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Finn Juhl and uses their iconic furniture designs in her interiors.

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

For the Absalon Hotel, a classic Designers Guild silky taffeta stripe fabric called Zetani was used in a different colourway for each floor. The vibrant shades were picked up in other elements of the furnishings, wallpaper, furniture and accessories with the help of the Copenhagen Designers Guild team at ZenOut Home in Hellerup.

5th floor Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

5th floor Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

Our cosy room up on the 5th floor under the eves reminded me of a circus tent with stripes of green, lime and fuschia on a base of silver grey and black. The rooms up here were a little more luxurious, with deep green carpet and air conditioning (not that we needed it in June). We had all the essentials; a flat screen TV, fridge and safe, but the trendy design was not at the expense of details such as the built in reading lights on the headboard and lighting under the bed to guide you in the night. There was a touch of glamour in the mirrored wardrobe and glass chrome tables, with an easy chair to relax and a view over the rooftops of Vesterbro. The only thing I could have done without was the strange perspex box on the wall displaying a design item, since I kept banging it as I passed to get to the wardrobe.

Bathroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Bathroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

The bathroom was ultra-modern with Philippe Starck fittings softened with creamy marble tiles and cool lighting effects from Phillips so you can bathe in any colour of the rainbow. To avoid waste, the toiletries from Karmameju were in dispensers above the bath and sink but there’s no skimping on quality from this Danish skincare company that uses pure, natural ingredients.

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

Bedroom in Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

On other floors the scheme is silver grey with highlights of royal blue and green or softer lilac and plum and here wooden floors have been used for a Scandinavian touch. While there’s no restaurant in the hotel, there is plenty of seating space and a bar area where guests can relax in the evening with coloured lighting that changes mood depending on the time of day.

Bar at Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhrtravels.com

Bar at Absalon Hotel, Copenhagen

Who will enjoy Absalon Hotel? Anyone who loves colour and individual style and is looking for a cool base to explore Copenhagen. The hotel is conveniently located just a 5 minute walk from the main station in the trendy Vesterbro district so you are surrounded by hip bars and restaurants, but be aware that it’s the red light district too. The breakfast is a continental buffet with plentiful and varied choices including fabulous nutty Danish bread and all the speciality teas you could wish for. Staff are efficient, helpful and happy to help with recommendations or anything else you need. With a Concept24 policy that allows you late check-out, we think it’s the perfect hotel for your Copenhagen city break. Prices for a double room from around 1665 DKK (£160, €225 or $250)

Absalon Hotel Website | Address: Helgolandsgade 15 | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

You can also read my review of Andersen Hotel just across the road

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Check out the neighbourhood

Dinner at Bio-Mio

A 10 minute walk down the road from Absalon and you reach Vesterbro’s trendy Meatpacking district where the boxy industrial buildings, some of which still house catering wholesalers, are being converted into restaurants and bars. There wasn’t too much happening in the day when we passed by, but at night this area is buzzing. If you want relaxed dining with a bistro feel we can recommend Bio-Mio which you’ll spot by the large neon Bosch sign. This organic all-day diner has an open kitchen running down one side, so you can watch the chefs at work, and you sit at high tables on bar stools and order your meal at the central till. We ordered from the specials board with simple, well cooked dishes under 200 DKK like my fish of the day that arrived topped with a swirl of fennel and leeks. Bio Mio website | English Menu | Address: Halmtorvet 19

Dinner at Bio-Mio, Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner at Bio-Mio, Copenhagen

Cocktails at Lidkoeb

Make your way through the side streets to the main drag of Vesterbrogade and tucked away through an arch you’ll find Lidkoeb, in an old restored townhouse. Up the stairs we sat in the wooden booths draped with shaggy sheepskins and sipped our summertime cocktails. Apparently the Danes love anything with ginger but I tried the Kolonihaven, fragrent of summer, made from geranium gin, cloudy apple and cucumber juice.

On the top floor is the cool whisky bar, serving only the finest whiskies and whisky cocktails. It’s a cross between a student attic and a gentleman’s club with old leather chairs, cut glass decanters and flickering candle-light. Lidkoeb website | Address: Vesterbrogade 72B

Cocktails at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Cocktails at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen

Hot dogs at Urban House

If you fancy something more gritty, to relive your student days, head across the road to Urban House Hostel where their bar serves gourmet hot dogs smothered in various delicious toppings. Choose from Classy Sassy, Grill’n’Chill or the veggie Green Spleen Dog, for an evening snack they’re a snip at 35 DKK. Urban House Website | Address: Colbjørnsensgade 5-11

Hot Dogs at Urban House in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hot Dogs at Urban House in Copenhagen

Fun time at Tivoli

Tivoli is a must-see pillar of the Copenhagen scene; part amusement park, part landscape gardens, with restaurant quarter and entertainment venues packed in. During the day it’s great for families who’ll enjoy the rowing boats on the lake, old fashioned carousels and ballet in the open air pantomime theatre. As the evening wears on, the Chinese lanterns glow and the screams from The Demon roller coaster get ever louder as the teenagers and after-work crowd arrive for thrills and dinner.

There’s something for all ages to enjoy and the park maintains a quality, Danish feel that manages to stay charming rather than tacky. Tivoli Gardens are open April-end September and also at Halloween and Christmas. Entrance 99 DKK, Multiride ticket 209 DKK with other packages available. Tivoli Website | Address: Vesterbrogade 3

Tivoli in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Tivoli in Copenhagen

New Nordic cuisine at UFormel

For a sophisticated but informal dining experience our new find on this visit was uFormel, the cool younger brother to Michelin star Formul B. The restaurant menu offers small plates, with the idea that you order around four dishes, which are served in a succession of different courses. This is the place for adventurous palates and between us we tried scallops, ceviche, beef tartar, lamb and numerous and varied taste combinations. The decor is dark, the ambiance lively and loud (I found it difficult at times to hear any conversation) but the dishes priced at 100 DKK are well priced for the standard of cuisine. If you really want a blow out you could try 750DKK menu with wine pairings but I think it would have been too much. Read the review of uFormal from Alex Berger who joined us for dinner and took all the tasting notes for me.  uFormel website | Address: Studiestræde 69

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Dinner at uFormel in Copenhagen

Culture fix at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Just a 10 minute walk from the Absalon Hotel and opposite Tivoli is the delightful Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. This museum houses the art and sculpture collection of the 19th century brewing magnate Carl Jacobsen and is full of classical Greek and Roman sculpures as well as turn of the century marble figures by Danish sculptors.

We also enjoyed the impressionist galleries upstairs, packed with Gauguins, Van Goghs and Cezannes and the petite bronze by Degas of the Little Ballerina which my daughter loved. The winter garden with glass roof and tropical foliage has an elegant cafe where you’ll be tempted to stop for a coffee or light lunch. It’s free on Tuesday, otherwise 95 DKK.  Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek website | Address: Dantes Plads 7

Sculpture Garden of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Sculpture Garden of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Visiting Copenhagen

For more information about things to do in and around Copenhagen, check out the Visit Copenhagen website as well as the Visit Denmark website for other parts of Denmark.

Heather and Sophie-Anne flew with Scandinavian Airlines from London Heathrow to Copenhagen. SAS fly several times a day to and from London to Copenhagen giving you a choice of times to make the most of your time in Copenhagen. On arrival take the train or metro direct to the centre of Copenhagen.

Heather and Sophie-Anne used the Copenhagen Card which covers free public transport around Copenhagen as well as free or reduced price entry to many of the attractions in and around Copenhagen.

More things to do in Copenhagen

Light, Air, Water – finding a healthy holiday in Copenhagen – healthy tips for rest and relaxation on your spa break by the sea in Copenhagen
How to make New Nordic Cocktails in Copenhagen – cocktails to try that use authentic Danish flavours such as cherry wine.
Like Mother Like Daughter – What we loved on our trip to Copenhagen – My daughter, Sophie-Anne suggests some things to do in Copenhagen that mothers and daughters will both enjoy.

Thanks to Absalon Hotel for hosting our stay at the hotel, to Wonderful Copenhagen and Visit Denmark for providing some of the experiences mentioned and to Scandinavian Airlines for providing Heather’s flight to Copenhagen.

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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