Scandinavian style and design, amazing food, biking and escapes.
Stylish boutique hotels
A few years ago, I had a wonderful stay at Skt. Petri Hotel, the most luxurious boutique hotel in town but also the most expensive.
Hotel Alexandra and SP34 are great alternatives, hip, cosy and with lovely service. Hotel Alexandra is the most affordable of the two and offers rooms that combine really cool 1950s design (think Mad Men) and comfort. As I absolutely wanted to experience Hotel SP34, I went for breakfast, coffee and drinks. The staff is lovely and very good looking which is nice addition. And the hotel is ideally located for a shopping session on Sankt Peders street.
Led by the success and worldwide reputation of Noma and its chef creator Rene Redzepi, Nordic cuisine is at its best with young talented chefs (many former alumni from Noma) opening creative concepts from fine dining to more casual ones, but always with great design and passion.
Cocofo (Copenhagen Food Consulting) operates some of the coolest restaurants in town, amongst which Host, the fine dining of the lot. Wooden decor, lamb skins, candle light and a generous tasting menu showcasing the best local flavours make it a must visit for foodies.
For more nordic contemporary cuisine, The Standard, an Art Deco building located minutes away from Nyhavn on Gammelholm and along Holmen canal, is home to 3 concepts: STUDIO (1 Michelin star), JazzKlub and Almanak where I dined. The decor is sleek and a bit cold with grey and white material. The food is very well executed, creative and good.
I wanted to experience more of these but did not have the time. Here are the restaurant that made the short list: Bror, Giste, Kadeau and Kødbyens Fiskebar.
At the other end of the spectrum is Gitte Kik, a traditional lower ground restaurant serving the iconic smørrebrøde sandwiches and other local delicacies from a buffet (Est. 1910). Go for lunch and don't miss the salmon gravlax, the marinated herring and the smoked cheese salad with cucumber and radish.
If you are in the mood for after-dinner drinks and clubbing, head to Llama, Cofoco's Peruvian restaurant that is also a great social spot where DJs spin until the late hours.
If you are looking for a design and cosy coffee shop, Atelier September is the place to be.
Fashion & Design
As one would expect, Copenhagen is a mecca of Scandinavian design. It also a hub for hipsters fashion brands.
Storm Design Art Fashion is the uber stylish concept store on Regnegade. Clothes, magazines, shoes, accessories are carefully selected by the owners from the most exciting labels including Comme des Garcons, Byredo, Moscot and Sacai. Across the street is the interior design store Casa Shop that features iconic furniture such as Arne Jacobsen Egg and Swan chairs.
Copenhagen streetwear and lifestyle brand Wood Wood has 2 stores in the city, one being called W.W.Museum just before Dronning Louises Bro bridge. On the other side of the bridge, Elmegade and Egehade are great for shopping especially for the Acne Archive shop. This only is worth saving money before your trip!
For vintage designer furniture, including the PH Lamps (by Poul Henningsen) go to Retromania on Norrebrogade (no website). For new reeditions of the famous lamps or new models inspired by the designer's philosophy go to Louis Poulsen.
If you are into cycling, Sogreni, close to SP34, sells its own stylish and pure bicycles and accessories.
Cycling is part of Copenhagen experience and allows you to see further neighbourhoods quite easily.
From Hotel Alexandra or Hotel SP34, cycle along Orstedsparken, turn left along Israels Plads then right on Romersgade where Torvehallerne market is great spot for a quick bite. Then turn left on Frederiksborggade and cross Dronning Louises Bro bridge towards Norrebro district.
Straight ahead is Superkilen, an urban park symbolising the cultural diversity of the neighborhood where sections are divided by colours, the red square being the most impressive spot.
Southwest of the playground is Jaegersborggade where cool dining concepts Terroiristen, Grod, Manfreds are great for lunch or an afternoon treat on your way back to the center.
Art and Escapes
An amazing day or half-day trip to Arne Jacobsen world is just 10km north of Copenhagen center, on the coast. Pack your bikes on the roof of a taxi (ask your hotel to book it) and ask the driver to drop you at Bistro Bellevue in Klampenborg. The building was design by Arne Jacobsen and the cafe is fraught with his furniture. It is ideally located in front of Bellevue Strandbad sandy beach. I love the lifeguard towers also designed by Jacobsen. Cycle back to Copenhagen. It is a lovely 40mn ride where you will be able to admire and make a stop at the stunning Arne Jacobsen's Petrol Station designed in 1937 in Charlottenlund.
Further north on the coast (35km from Copenhagen) in Humlebæk is Louisiana Museum of modern art, easily reachable by train. It offers panoramic views over the Oresund Sound, with 1950s architecture bending with nature. An open air sculpture park showcases pieces by Calder, Miro, Henry Moore, ... with a sea view. The Giacometti gallery, a permanent installation by Yayoi Kusama alongside temporary exhibitions (Taryn Simon, Lucian Freud, Eye Attack, ...) make Louisiana one of the most exciting art experiences in the world.
Back to the city... Ny Calsberg Glyptotek Museum is a just a few minutes away from Hotel Alexandra. Focusing on sculptures from Ancient Egypt to Rodin, it also features an interesting collection of French impressionists paintings It has a greenhouse atmosphere and the weekend brunch is good and relaxing.
The Design Museum, located on Bredgade near the royal family's palace is worth a visit. Contemporary and 20th century Danish design is presented alongside posters, drawings, fashion & textile and until September 2017, Japanese design. If you are hungry, cafe MorMors is just a few blocks away and offers a comfort pastries, sandwiches and a famous hot chocolate.
Food & Drink
Host / Almanak / Gitte Kik / Kadeau / Manfreds / Kodbyens Fiskebar / Gist / Bror / Llama/ Atelier September / Grod
Storm / Casa Shop / Wood Wood / Acne Archive / Retromania / Louis Poulsen / Sogreni
The Design Museum / Ny Calsberg Glyptokek Museum / Superkilen
Hotel SP34 / Hotel Alexandra / Skt. Petri
Klampenborg / Charlottenlund / Louisiana Museum
Cycling is the way to discover and enjoy the city all year round.
You may fly to Malmo in Sweden (which is cheaper most of the year) and get to Copenhagen via the Oresund bridge on a 30mn train ride for 9€.