Despite its status as a must-visit Scandi city, Copenhagen has historically fallen short when it comes to choice of luxury hotels, with just a couple of spots dominating the list. However, there’s a new grande dame in town: meet Villa Copenhagen.
The hotel sits in the heart of the city within the stately former home of the Central Post and Telegraph Head Office and has been sensitively updated to not only celebrate and showcase the building’s long history but also elevate the property to discerning modern standards.
The entrance itself is relatively discreet, but once you pass through the shadowed walkway you’re in for a real treat. The cavernous glass-topped Courtyard is there to greet you, and along with it comes a buzz of activity.
Acting as the central hub of the hotel, the Courtyard is a multipurpose space, with a bar in one corner, a shopping boutique just beyond and a careful splattering of low-level seating. There’s even live music and DJs in the evening. Expect to see all types of folk here: from hip couples enjoying a cocktail to businesspeople catching up on emails. Don’t miss the glass window to the kitchens below as you make your way to check in.
In true Denmark style, which as a city is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025, Villa Copenhagen puts sustainability first, operating under the ‘conscious luxury’ tagline. This ethos is seamlessly blended into every aspect of the hotel, without being overbearing – from eco-amenities and thoughtful waste preservation to organic dining and conscious design.
Despite having opened back in 2020 and welcoming many a local, the hotel hasn’t quite reached the levels of international buzz it undeniably deserves. But with the summer season well and truly on its way and Denmark having reversed virtually all travel restrictions, we have a feeling that 2022 might just be Villa Copenhagen’s year.
From the entry-level rooms to the top suites, each of the 390 accommodations at Villa Copenhagen is impossibly stylish and brimming with thoughtful extra touches, from Bluetooth speakers to refillable organic toiletries by Skandinavisk.
Suites start with the spacious Junior Corner Suites, which cover over 430 sq ft and boast a separate seating area and an abundance of natural light, and work their way up to the three specialty suites. Under Villa’s refreshing ethos that luxury takes on many guises, each of the specialty suites have been created in collaboration with an external designer.
The Shamballa Jewel suite, for example, was designed in partnership with Danish jewelry company, Shamballa Jewel. Unlike much of the rest of the hotel, the atmosphere in the 1,390-sq-ft suite is dark and moody, with a charcoal-grey color scheme, black marble finishing touches and framed Shamballa Jewels on the walls. Even the light fixtures nod toward the suite’s inspiration, taking the shape of the brand’s iconic beaded bracelets.
The Earth Suite, on the other hand, is the work of Danish architect Eva Harlou, who used the space to showcase the endless possibilities of sustainable design. Every element of the suite is made from recycled materials – from the bricks and pastes used in the masonry to the linens on the bed – and all furniture comes courtesy of circular design house, Mater. The vibe reflects the ethos too, with a gorgeously warm color scheme and an abundance of greenery.
In a city like Copenhagen, a hotel restaurant must pack a punch to compete with the ever-growing list of first-rate eateries. Fortunately, Villa Copenhagen has clearly put some serious thought behind its dining offerings, with its signature restaurant, Kontrast Brasserie, offering a gourmand experience to rival some of the city’s best.
The menu is compact, but we liked it all the more for it. There are just three starters, three mains and three sweets to choose from, as well as a selection of snacks – don’t miss the tinned tuna steak with grilled bread and aioli.
In typical Scandi fashion, dishes are prepared simply with a focus on artfully contrasting flavors. For mains, impossibly buttery turbot is served with pulled beef and a red wine sauce, while Sashi ribeye steak meets its match in black garlic and celeriac. On the dessert menu, the humble apple crumble is elevated with the addition of fresh, peppery basil and sweet white chocolate.
Like the rest of the hotel, sustainability comes first at Kontrast with each menu centered around locally sourced, organic ingredients, and a steadfast focus on zero-waste practices.
For a post-dinner nightcap, head across the Courtyard to T37, where a menu of reimagined classic cocktails awaits. Named after the old Post Office’s nickname of T37 (a shortened version of the property’s address – Tietgensgade 37), the bar celebrates its long history through design, with original details such as marble columns and timber paneling. With a separate street entrance, a real effort is being made to ensure that T37 is as welcoming to locals as it is to hotel guests.
The following morning, nurse a weary head at Public, Villa Copenhagen’s basement breakfast restaurant, tucked away in the old sorting office. Every item is made on-site and the menu is unlimited but be sure to save space for one of the Danish pastries from the hotel’s in-house bakery. If a lie-in is on the cards, head back to Kontrast for a late brunch – a Bloody Mary will do wonders.
While Villa Copenhagen doesn’t have a spa, standards don’t drop when it comes to wellness. The rooftop pool (which is heated using excess energy from elsewhere in the hotel) is the perfect spot to kick back and relax, whether you’re doing laps through the deliciously toasty water, or people watching over the streets below from one of the super stylish striped loungers.
There’s also a 24-hour gym, complete with an impressive amount of equipment and machines. After your workout, head to the sauna to ease tired muscles.
Although not strictly a wellness facility, the Playroom is another great place to relax. Found just off the main Courtyard space, the chill-out area is kitted out with comfy seats making for the perfect spot to while away an hour or two.
Having taken over the lease of a protected building that dates back to 1912, the refurbishment to take Villa Copenhagen from 20th-century post office to five-star hotel was a sensitive one. The property’s exterior had to remain virtually as is (with the exception of the rooftop pool, of course), meaning the team had to really get creative with the interiors.
Villa Copenhagen has teamed up with many designers to support its in-house team in creating this special space. As well as Shamballa Jewels, who worked on both its signature suite and the Courtyard, Villa also enlisted the support of London-based studio, Goddard Littlefair, who paired English luxe with Scandi sensibility in Kontrast, Public and T37.
Subtle touches are what make Villa Copenhagen stand out, however. For example, the north side of the hotel, which includes T37 and the Playroom, is designed to be more elegant and polished in a nod to this portion of the city’s more upmarket nature.
The other south side of the hotel, where you will find Kontrast, has more of a casual vibe, which is intended to reference its proximity to the city’s Meatpacking District, which was traditionally less glam.
Another design easter egg is the shape of the hotel, with an aerial view showing that the building spells out the initials T and P, to signify Post and Telegraph. Small elements like this might not be clear with just a glance, but to design freaks, they’re the marker of proper thoughtfulness – the devil is in the detail, after all.
Villa Copenhagen’s location puts you in the heart of the action. Just over the road is the historic Tivoli Gardens. Miles away from your average fun fair, Tivoli is steeped in history, staking a claim as the second-oldest amusement arcade in the world (the oldest is also found in Denmark) and supposedly acting as the inspiration for Disneyland. Don’t worry if you’re not traveling with the family – Tivoli has beautiful gardens and a botanical garden that will appeal to all ages.
For art aficionados, the Glyptoteket is a must. Found just a five-minute walk away from the hotel, the museum is an oasis within a metropolis, with a grand entrance hall opening up into an unbelievable glass-roofed winter garden. While there is a selection of classic Danish and French paintings, the displays are primarily sculpture-based, with a timeline of marble statues and ancient artifacts, as well as the complete series of Degas’ bronzes and Rodin sculptures.
Copenhagen is a delightfully compact city, but for those spots out of walking distance, do as the locals do and hop on a bike – the hotel offers some out for guest use.