Hygge Meets Balinese Design at This Sustainably-Minded Copenhagen Stay

Copenhagen draws travelers seeking world-class cuisine, delightful Scandinavian design, prime shopping (especially second-hand), and stunning natural beauty. One can easily spend several days exploring and eating her way through this eclectic, vibrant northern European city. And when you need a cozy, homey spot for a mid-day rest, an evening cocktail, or a sound sleep after travel, the Axel Guldsmeden is exactly where you’ll want to be. This boutique hotel combines the clean lines and neutral tones of Scandinavian aesthetics with the natural textures and shapes of Balinese design to welcome guests for a stay that’s best summed up in one word: cozy. 

Upon entering the friendly, if dimly lit, hotel lobby, located steps from the city’s central train station, you may finally understand the definition of the elusive Danish term hygge. Maximilisim shines here in the most put-together way possible. Two woven rainbow-colored swing chairs hang in front of the front desk and a series of potted plants extend their sprawling leaves over the back of an over-stuffed vintage leather sofa that’s calling your name after a long flight.

However, this hotel’s design isn’t purely Scandinavian. Further exploration reveals a lush and inviting internal courtyard with a strong Balinese persuasion. During my visit in early May, the city was just shaking off its long, dark winter chill, and guests took full advantage of the courtyard’s sun, which lingered long into the evening. 

The hotel’s first floor is also home to Cafe du Nord, a charming bar with a limited menu of snacks for lunch and dinner and a thoughtful beverage program. Guests can also enjoy their complimentary breakfast in the restaurant–or better yet–make reservations for a pre-dinner drink. The bar is also frequented by local commuters on their way to and from the nearby train station. 

Despite its compact feeling, the hotel packs an impressive 212 guest rooms divided between two adjacent buildings connected by the courtyard. There are four rooftop penthouses with private terraces and hot tubs, but most visitors stay in one of the darling internal rooms, which make up in charm what they lack in space. 

The centerpiece of most Axel Guldsmeden rooms is a blonde wood four-poster bed topped neatly with two fluffy white comforters. The bathrooms are quaint and well-stocked with a kimono-style robe for darting down to the spa as well as eco-friendly bath products. The batik throw over the foot of the bed, rustic carved stone bathroom sink, and woven straw details breathe a bit of Bali into each guest room. 

And when you’re not curling up with a good book in your sanctuary-like room, you may find some time for self-care in the hotel’s hidden spa. The underground facility is open on weekday afternoons, with extended hours on the weekends. Guests can relax in one of two dry saunas, a steam room, and hot and cold plunge pools. There’s also plenty of space between amenities to lounge with a face mask or cocktail. In this steamy below-ground enclave, it’s easy to fancy yourself in Ubud rather than Copenhagen. Of course, when you re-emerge, refreshed and relaxed, you’ll be glad to remember just where you are.

Top Takeaways

Location: Vesterboro district, Copenhagen

Address: Colbjørnsengade 14 1652 Copenhagen V

Rating: Four-Star

The vibe: An eclectic eco-minded boutique hotel centrally located in Copenhagen with an extensive Balinese-inspired underground spa, simple but quality complimentary breakfast, and charming rooms that ooze hygge. 

Food + Drink: The hotel’s singular restaurant, Cafe du Nord, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu is brief, but each dish is prepared with care using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The drinks are the main event, including vibrant house-made sodas, creative cocktails, and a minimalist but well-considered wine list that will satisfy most cravings. The daily morning spread allows guests to taste a traditional Nordic breakfast, including smoked trout, fresh salads, and Pålægschokolade, which is a kid- (and adult-) approved dish of tangy Danish white bread topped with delicate planks of chocolate. 

Our Favorite Part of the Hotel: If visiting during the warmer months, the leafy and sunny internal courtyard is the ideal spot to enjoy your breakfast or escape from the city for an afternoon. The underground spa also offers an unexpectedly sprawling array of self-care options, including multiple saunas, pools, and a steam room. 

Amenities: Spa; Fitness center; Free WiFi; Restaurant; Bar; Conference room

What’s nearby?: Copenhagen Main Station; Sankt Jørgens Sø Park; Tivoli Gardens; Christiansborg Palace; Nyhavn

Any personal neighborhood recs?: Axel Guldsmeden is in a fantastic central location minutes from public transportation, but not in the dead center of the bustling tourist district. This means you can walk to restaurants more favored by locals than visitors, including Lamar, a wine-focused small plate restaurant with an ever-changing menu that reflects the current harvest from land and sea. Kødbyens Fiskebar is an expansive seafood spot in a former industrial meat market that offers unique bites showcasing the latest catch, including plenty of savory seaweed, oysters, and for those looking to indulge, excellent caviar. It’s next door to the popular Warpigs Brewpub, which has a party atmosphere after 5 pm on weekdays week all day on Saturday and Sunday.  

Rooms: 212

Pricing: Rates start at $167 per night.

Closest Airport: Copenhagen Airport (Københavns Lufthavn)

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