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;
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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, 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.
I hope you enjoy my video below about Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen
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.
Dr Carl Ottosen and the Skodsborg Sanitorium
In 1898 the hotel was founded as the Skodsborg Sanatorium 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.
“ 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 chiropractor available for consultation.
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 inflammatory 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.
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, so it is worth checking when you book which style you will be getting.
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 Danish artist, Malene Bach was commissioned to create subtle and delicate ornamentation around the spa. Look out for the hand blown 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.
With my daughter 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant with plenty of healthy choices such as rye and wholegrain bread, salmon, scrambled eggs, muesli, 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.
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.
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)
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)
New Nordic cocktails
In the elegant bar at Kurhotel Skodsborg, 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.
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.
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 Klampenborg 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 Elsinore 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
Heather 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).
We 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.
Have a perfect 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 – My daughter suggests some things to do in Copenhagen that mothers and daughters will both enjoy.
Thanks to Kurhotel Skodsborg who *hosted Heather and her daughter for their stay at the hotel and Scandinavian Airlines who provided Heather’s flight.
* More info on my policies page
This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com