This article is part of a new guide to Copenhagen from FT Globetrotter

Copenhagen is so chock-full of tasteful design that visitors are pretty much guaranteed not to be confronted with anything less than calming aesthetic perfection in the city’s hotels. Choosing a place to stay is often simply a case of deciding where you want to be.

Instead, FT Globetrotter has picked out a selection that stand out from the crowd for various reasons — including legendary status, in the case of the d’Angleterre, and sustainability at Bryggen Guldsmeden. And no guide would be complete without the Royal Hotel Copenhagen, Arne Jacobsen’s grand vision of what a city landmark could be.

For the luxury lover

Hotel d’Angleterre

  • Good for: Full five-star experience

  • Not so good for: Homely vibe

  • FYI: At its current location since 1795; extensively renovated in 2013

  • Rooms: 92 (including 55 suites)

  • Website; Directions

An external shot of Hotel d’Angleterre’s white facade against a blue sky
Hotel d’Angleterre’s building dates back to 1795

The d’Angleterre, occupying pride of place on Copenhagen’s main square, is nothing less than the grande dame of the Danish capital’s hotels. It boasts some of the city’s grandest hotel rooms, central Copenhagen’s only indoor swimming pool, a Michelin-starred restaurant and attentive service.

A mauve bed and chaise-longue in a suite at the Hotel d’Angleterre
One of the Hotel d’Angleterre’s 55 suites © Lars Gundersen
Eggs Florentine at the hotel’s Marchal restaurant
Eggs Florentine at the hotel’s Marchal restaurant

Popular with top executives and upmarket tourists, the hotel has spacious and well-appointed rooms, even if it might be missing a bit of hygge. The food from the Marchal restaurant is excellent, from the decent breakfast buffet (with Mandois champagne included) to the French-inspired cuisine for lunch and dinner. Bike hire is available, and there is also a spa. Perfect for those wanting a classic luxury-hotel experience. Double from DKr4450 (about £525)

For a home away from home

Hotel Sanders

  • Good for: Understated elegance

  • Not so good for: Those who like lots of space — it’s cosy but compact

  • FYI: Owned by former ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin

  • Rooms: 54 (including six suites)

  • Website; Directions

The black and white facade of Hotel Sanders, with striped awning and tables and chairs on the terrace
‘Like entering a stylish home’: Hotel Sanders
Blue and white armchairs in front of a glass-fronted wooden book cabinet in Hotel Sanders’ living room
The living room in Sanders doubles as reception © Wichmann+Bendtsen

Entering Sanders, located behind the Royal Danish Theatre just off Kongens Nytorv, is like entering a stylish home. The living room, which doubles as reception, is full of cosy chairs and an open fireplace, lit on my arrival.

Both here and in the rooms there may not be acres of space but everything is tastefully done. Danish style mixes with a slight colonial influence in the hardwood and rattan interiors.

The brass bar at Tata, with globe pendant lighting and a fire lit in the hearth
Tata: ‘One of Denmark’s top cocktail bars’

One of Denmark’s top cocktail bars, Tata, is inside the hotel and it’s worth asking the talented staff for inspiration; I had a Sour Lovin’ made with Geranium gin, akvavit, lemon, sage and honey. The clientele is cool and international and the atmosphere throughout is relaxed, and far less formal than many five-star hotels.

The hotel’s roof terrace, with a red velvet banquette, rattan chairs and screens, and plants hanging from the ceiling
The hotel’s roof terrace © Wichmann+Bendtsen
A seed-covered half of an avocado sitting on a bed of watercress on a small plate, in front of a croissant, a bowl of grain and other breakfast dishes in Sanders Kitchen
Breakfast in Sanders Kitchen

Breakfast can get crowded in the small Sanders Kitchen, which is also open for lunch and dinner, but the choices from the seasonal à la carte menu are varied and different from the standard hotel fare, including pearl barley porridge, smoked salmon tartare and beetroot salad with cranberries. The owner, former ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin, also has two beach hotels in Tisvildeleje (Helenekilde Badehotel and Tisvildeleje Strandhotel), an hour to the north, and will run transport to them in the summer. Double from DKr2,700 (about £320)

For dreamers and maximalists


Bernstorffsgade 5, 1577 Copenhagen
  • Good for: Absolute discretion and privacy

  • Not so good for: Calm location — the central station area is busy 24/7

  • FYI: Free entry for guests to the Tivoli Gardens amusement park (open in 2023 until September 24, October 12–November 5 and November 17–December 31)

  • Rooms: 38 (including 27 suites)

  • Website; Directions

The Moorish-style facade of Nimb hotel
Nimb is an early-20th-century, Moorish-style palace © Lasse Salling

Nimb opened in 1909 as a Moorish palace on the edge of Tivoli Gardens, but to get the full effect you’ll need to be inside the pleasure gardens looking out at the hotel. The new extension, where I stayed, is a winding passageway leading to totally quiet rooms, despite the hotel being opposite Copenhagen’s central station.

A suite in Nimb hotel, with a bed with a minimalist four-poster frame looking towards chairs and a large balcony overlooking Tivoli Gardens
All of Nimb’s rooms and suites apart from one look over Tivoli Gardens © Lina Ahnoff

My room had a balcony overlooking Tivoli and possibly the largest bathroom I’ve ever seen. It took a while to find the shower. Everything is either crisp or fluffy, in exactly the right ways. There’s a romance to its old-school charm, including in the bar, which offers a book of One Thousand and One Nights-inspired “fairytale cocktails”. I chose a Scheherazade, made with bourbon, Licor 43, lemon, white chocolate and ginger.

The dining space in Nimb Brasserie, with grey velvet chairs, marble tabletops, Moorish-style arches and windows and a row of tall plants
Traditional French cuisine is the order of the day at Nimb Brasserie © Lina Ahnoff

Nimb Brasserie is rather smarter than its name suggests, and some of the tables overlook Tivoli. It was busy on a weekday evening with a mix of international guests and locals on special nights out: the group next to me had a Danish flag on the table, the sign of a birthday celebration. Food and service are impeccable, like everything else here. The hotel was one of the first in the city to offer a huge range of fine wines, a tradition that continues, and the food has always been based on traditional French cuisine. I drank Albariño at the suggestion of the sommelier, and ate a perfectly fried North Sea cod fillet with spinach and fennel, and topped with caviar.

Nimb’s enormous morning-buffet spread, also served in the Brasserie, includes a pleasingly detailed menu of cooked-to-order dishes. I didn’t get to the latter, having been distracted by too many delicious cinnamon buns and poppy-seed pastries.

There’s also a basement spa and, in summer, a rooftop pool and bar. Out of season, Nimb is a calming treat; in better weather, it is a destination in itself. Double from 6,500DKr (about £770)

For midlifers wanting a luxury upgrade on their hostelling youth

Bryggen Guldsmeden

Gullfossgade 4, 2300 Copenhagen
  • Good for: Your family visit to Copenhagen. There are interconnecting rooms and two-bedroom suites, and older kids will love the vibe

  • Not so good for: Lovers of traditional hotels — both the space and the service are very informal

  • FYI: The hotel is in a residential area some way from the main tourist attractions

  • Rooms: 211 (including four suites)

  • Website; Directions

The Guldsmeden group began in 1999, with one hotel in the Danish city of Aarhus — today it has five hotels in Copenhagen, and others in Oslo, Reykjavík, Berlin and Bali, as well as a rental villa in the south of France. It’s still run by founders Sandra and Marc Weinert, and this outpost, in the fashionable Islands Brygge area, is a factory conversion with a relaxed, multigenerational appeal that is rare in an upscale hotel.

A pale-wood bed onto which the sun is shining through venetian blinds in Bryggen Guldsmeden’s 211 rooms
One of the 211 rooms in Bryggen Guldsmeden, where the focus is very much on sustainability
A writing table below a widescreen TV on a wall in a room in Bryggen Guldsmeden
The hotel’s aesthetic reflects the Guldsmeden group’s signature Balinese-Nordic design © Nolwenn Pernin

The hotel has been created to fit with the Guldsmeden group’s signature design, a Balinese-Nordic mix, backed by a very Danish sustainability and organic focus. There are hanging chairs in reception, book swaps and honesty bars on every landing and a laid-back vibe — think “gap year with money”.

The pool at Bryggen Guldsmeden
The pool at Bryggen Guldsmeden

My room was compact, with a balcony facing the outdoor heated pool and sauna complex, and a water-saving shower that is so complex to operate that it has its own instruction page on the hotel’s app. (I’m not known for my practical skills but even I got there in the end — the shower worked brilliantly.) Everything is thought through — there are no tiny shower gels, only big bottles of organic products. My only gripe (possibly a niche British problem) was the lack of an in-room kettle or even a coffee maker. Guests have to traipse to a communal drinks station.

The hotel’s Sole Factory restaurant, with chandeliers made from fish-shaped pieces of glass
The hotel’s Sole Factory restaurant

Downstairs, the Sole Factory restaurant offers a seasonal menu of locally sourced dishes, including a small-plates tasting menu (mine included beetroot carpaccio, ham on grilled cauliflower and ganache-filled brownie). The bar was busy with locals, families, dogs and even the Copenhagen art crowd, who were here for a show opening. It’s an eclectic and warm place to hang out. Double from DKr995 (about £117)

For the Danish-design superfan

Radisson Collection Royal Hotel Copenhagen

Hammerichsgade 1, 1611 Copenhagen
  • Good for: Anyone with taste; close to central train station too

  • Not so good for: Absolute quiet — the city noise is audible

  • FYI: Hotel guests can ask to see the famous Room 606

  • Rooms: 261 (including 21 suites)

  • Website; Directions

Denmark’s most famous design export, Arne Jacobsen (1902-71), completed this hotel in 1960. Originally called SAS Royal Hotel, back then it came with an attached airline terminal, where passengers could check in before being whisked by shuttle bus or limo to the nearby airport. It’s still a notable part of the city’s skyline, but the place fell from grace somewhat by the 1980s, along with the popularity of Jacobsen’s work. Much of the original furniture was sold off very cheaply or given away to staff.

A bed in a room with a panoramic view of Copenhagen at the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel Copenhagen
A mid-century-design lover’s dream: the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel Copenhagen

After an extensive refurbishment, including a reinterpretation of some of Jacobsen’s rooms by contemporary designers, the hotel is a glorious place for design lovers and anyone seeking a fantastic view over the city centre. Eleven floors up, my room was co-designed by Fritz Hansen (the group now produces Jacobsen’s famous furniture, like the Swan and Egg chairs). There’s just one room — 606 — with the original Jacobsen pieces in it, and it’s display only, not for rent.

I was once a student at the Jacobsen-designed St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and the details at this hotel were nostalgia-filled for me: the architect designed every detail of these two massive projects, right down to the cutlery and carpets.

Two blue Arne Jacobsen chairs in Room 606 at the Royal Copenhagen
Room 606 contains original Arne Jacobsen pieces © Ken Pils
A bowl of brown broth with dumplings topped with edible flowers at the Royal Copenhagen’s Issei restaurant
The hotel’s Issei restaurant does good Peruvian-Japanese fusion © Sarah Coghill

Most of the Royal Copenhagen is conventional — there’s a good Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant, Issei, and the service is flawless, exactly what you’d expect from an upscale, business-focused hotel in the centre of town. But the chance to stay in a perfectly executed architectural vision is rare, especially if you book a reimagined Jacobsen room. Double from DKr1,430 (about £173).

Isabel Berwick and Richard Milne were guests of the above hotels

Please tell us about your favourite hotel in Copenhagen in the comments below

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