Escape London: Villa Copenhagen Review & City Guide

Villa Copenhagen in Denmark’s capital offers conscious luxury and understated Danish style to visitors exploring Scandinavia’s Viking heartland…

Photo: Villa Copenhagen

The imposing building now housing the Villa Copenhagen hotel in the heart of the Danish capital was once the city’s Central Post & Telegraph Head Office, built in Neo Baroque style in 1912.  

Today it is a contemporary, sophisticated eco-friendly hotel which combines grand architecture with sleek, sophisticated but understated Danish style. 

‘Conscious luxury’ is how the Villa describes the inspiration behind the property, which opened officially in June 2020.

The term refers to the hotel’s commitment to sustainability which does not compromise on luxurious touches. For example the Villa’s stunning outdoor swimming pool – the only one in Copenhagen -is heated by the excess heat from cooling systems. The hotel has invested in using local brands and has a no-waste approach to food too.   

Elegant but not daunting, first impressions on entering the hotel are of space and light. A huge atrium gives an immediate sense of calm when stepping off the busy street.

Formerly open to the sky, the courtyard area is covered with a glass roof stretching over the tables, chairs and sofas and creates a conservatory-style space where visitors and locals alike relax, work or chat over coffee and cocktails.  

Danish fine jewellery brand Shamballa Jewels was involved in the hotel design, an influence visible in the courtyard lights here which hang like precious pearl bracelets from the ceiling. Their touch is also seen in elegant details around the property including the magnificent Old Boardroom decorated with hand painted wallpaper.

Scandinavian hotelier Petter Stordalen was the brains behind the hotel which has an extensive modern art collection throughout. 

The outdoor rooftop swimming pool overlooking the city is one of the Villa’s highlights and with the lifting of Covid restrictions was a major draw for locals as well as visitors to the city. A 25-metre heated lapping pool looks inviting even in the depths of winter and the adjoining sauna and terrace bar make this a relaxing and unusual space. 

Rooms  
There are 390 rooms here, each high on comfort but low on unnecessary frills and fancies. Don’t expect cushions on the bed that you will inevitably throw on the floor, but instead find welcoming fresh white bedding and heavenly sink into sleep pillows.  Décor is in a neutral but calm Scandi style with a great coffee machine and minibar.  The sleek black and chrome bathroom has a super-efficient shower and just the essential toiletries. There are also several suites available with even more space and luxury including copper baths.    

Eating & Drinking
The Kontrast dining room gives a nod to the neighbouring Meatpacking district with its industrial feel and pared back design. Diners can watch the food being prepared as they face the busy open kitchen serving fresh European and Danish dishes using organic ingredients from the hotel’s rooftop hidden garden as well as local suppliers.  

Breakfast is served in the Public and Rug bakery, in the former sorting office of the old Post Office on the lower ground floor. You breakfast on freshly baked bread and pastries and hearty Danish fare next to the railway line from where mail bags would have once have been delivered.  

The cosy T37 cocktail bar was once the meeting place for postmen and still has leather postbag straps as a quirky design feature. This is a quiet spot for cocktails and wine. 

Although it has an intimate feel thanks to personal service and attention to detail, Villa Copenhagen also offers 24,757 square feet of unusual meeting and event space and one huge room which was formerly used for the Post horses still has the original stone walls.   

Getting to Villa Copenhagen couldn’t be easier. The hotel is a short walk from the Grand Central station which runs a regular direct 16 minute service to Copenhagen airport, with flights from most UK airports.  

Things to do in Copenhagen
Tivoli Gardens
The historic Tivoli Gardens are well worth a visit, located just a short walk from central Copenhagen. This is the second oldest amusement park in the world, and combines lively atmosphere, food and drink and thrilling amusements popular with both locals and visitors of all ages. But Tivoli is not just about frivolity, the gardens are now home to some first class restaurants. Themes change according to season, from Halloween through Christmas to Spring and Summer events and festivities. Tivoligardens.com

The Meatpacking District
Copenhagen’s meatpacking district is mostly referred to as Kødbyen (which simply translates to meat town). While there are still a few food businesses in this Vesterbro area, it has now mostly become a cool hangout spot where the locals come to dine and drink at bars and restaurants such as trendy Fleisch and WarPigs. Because of the history, the area has a gritty industrial vibe which has attracted a number of creative shops and galleries.

For foodies
Join the fashionable in a former pencil factory in Copenhagen’s area of islands Brygge. Danish homeware brand Vipp has transformed a 100-year-old pencil factory into a social dining room. Vipp Pencil Factory is a scene for talented chefs to host pop-up supper clubs.

For more traditional food there is a wealth of restaurants in the city centre such as pretty Nytorv or Puk serving Danish specialities such as smorrebrod, herring and pork. Wash your meal down with a glass of Carlsberg beer or a herbal schnapps.

Freetown Christiana
The autonomous anarchist district of Christiana is a former military base that was abandoned until 1971 when a group of hippies moved in. About 900 people live there now in a community that has its own rules independent of the Danish government. You can stroll around and rummage through the clothes stalls, small galleries and shops, or pause for coffee and cakes in the colourful surroundings. Cars are not allowed but the inhabitants are welcoming.

Rosenberg Castle
Built in the 1600s as Christian IV’s summer palace this beautiful Renaissance castle has lovely grounds and houses the Danish Crown jewels as well as many other artefacts

Christiansburg Palace
Once the fabulous home of kings and queens, the palace now houses the Danish parliament. Guided tours are available to see the imposing rooms including the Throne Room and Great Hall. Situated right in the city, you may also witness the changing of the guard.

On the water
A canal trip is a relaxing way to see Copenhagen’s mixture of old warehouses, boats and modern buildings built on the water. Pass traditional 17th century colourful houses on the Nyhavn waterfront and spot the spires of churches and palaces. Look out for the iconic Little Mermaid statue inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.

Shopping city
Central Copenhagen is a paradise for shoppers with designer stores as well as small independent shops selling distinctive Danish designs. Walk down Stroget, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets which runs from City Hall square to Kongens Nytorv square, pausing for lunch in one of the many bistros.

Copenhagen Card
Although Denmark has a reputation for high prices, a visit can be made more affordable with the Copenhagen Card which gives access to over 80 attractions and public transport for 72 hours.

Rates at Villa Copenhagen, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, start from £260 a night on a B&B basis ; villacopenhagen.com  

For more information on tourism in Copenhagen, go to visitcopenhagen.com