FOOD & DRINK
Where to stay during Copenhagen’s festival season
Words by Rob Chilton
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Explore the cool Danish capital from the stylish Skt Petri Hotel, a designer base camp in the city’s slickest neighbourhood
Most of the locals in Copenhagen say that springtime is the best time to visit. The bright, crisp and sunny months when the flowers begin to peep out from Copenhagen’s green spaces show the Danish capital at its best. Winter, of course, is a beautifully cosy time to visit the city and wander its Christmas markets and twinkly lights, but the bone-chilling cold can make it a chore. Autumn in Copenhagen, however, provides the opportunity to tick off numerous festivals themed on food, yoga, world music and film. With flight time a little over six hours from Dubai, Copenhagen is easily within reach for those who like to add some culture to their urban adventure.
Copenhagen is all about the city centre (but don’t rule out a trip to the MOMA art museum on the outskirts) so you need a pleasant base with an A1 location for all the exploring you’re going to do. The Skt. Petri Hotel right opposite the old Copenhagen University in the creative Latin Quarter is hard to beat for its location - and its style.
Completely refurbished in the summer of 2017, this urban design hotspot is housed in a pretty unique building. The shape and layout of the lobby will seem familiar as you enter but you won’t be able to put your finger on the reason why. Here’s the answer: the hotel started life in 1928 as a department store. The revolving door on street level leads to elevators, escalators and a staircase that would have ferried shoppers up to the main shopping area which is now the hotel’s reception and breakfast cafe.
Enormous windows and steel girders catch the eye immediately, as does the bold colour scheme of emerald green, most strikingly seen in large sofas near the check-in desk. A gorgeous terrace with rustic wooden tables and chairs draws crowds in the warmer months and has a community feel thanks to the apartments and houses that overlook the patio.
The refurbishment was carried out by Norwegian firm Mellbye Architects, who won praise for its Oslo hotel The Thief. If you’re a fan of Scandinavian design (who isn’t these days?) then you’re going to find it hard to leave the Skt. Petri. Lamps from Floss and chairs from Gobi showcase the minimalist, clean lines that have dominated interior design in recent years. As well as the hotel’s trademark green colour, indigo and mustard also make an appearance. As you may have already realised, this is a hotel that wouldn’t be seen dead in beige.
The beautiful tile and brickwork of the university opposite - now turned into offices - has been cleverly and respectfully reflected in the hotel’s carpet and other subtle areas, reminding guests of the hotel’s neighbours and the city’s history. Some of the rooms have terraces that overlook the university as well as the Round Tower and the Copenhagen Parliament Building. The aptly named Star Suite has a sauna, two balconies and a bath overlooking a terrace plus views of the city beyond.
With all the city exploration you’re going to do, on foot and perhaps on bicycle if you really want to live like a local, you’re going to need a solid breakfast. Skt. Petri puts on a buffet of cold meat and cheese, smoked fish, egg stations and pastries that will knock your socks off. You’ll have fun with the coffee iPad too: tap the screen to choose your coffee and it magically starts dribbling from the spout nearby.
Skt. Petri is clearly pushing its Copenhagen roots hard and serves local dishes in its classy restaurant P Eatery. Local celebrities have also got involved with the hotel, including Pilou Asbaek, whose moody and shadowy photograph hangs in the lobby as part of an exhibition of Copenhagen locals. When a hotel counts an actor from Borgen and Game of Thrones among its friends, you know you’re staying in the right place.
Where to go and what to eat in Copenhagen
A cool brunch spot, this bright and airy vegetarian cafe has a prime location not too far from Nyhaven, the district on the water with the famous colourful houses.
This lunch and dinner spot is a stripped back Brooklyn style warehouse with exposed light bulbs and bare brick walls. Their pizzas are the thing to order, but the meatballs are also fantastic.
In the league table of cool Copenhagen neighbourhoods, Norrebro is right near the top. Take a wander around its pretty streets and stop for a bite at Taxa Cafe, a cosy spot favoured by locals for hearty dishes such as their dynamite chilli con carne.
No trip to Copenhagen is complete without a bar crawl around the meat packing district. Keep your eyes peeled for the neon sign of Noho, a noisy bar with hip, bearded bartenders in aprons serving inspired drinks in thick glasses.
A vintage bric-a-brac store with a wine bar in the back? Only in Copenhagen. Seek out Beau Marche for a memorable lunchtime or pre-dinner tipple and take a good look around its nooks and crannies that are filled with weird and wonderful pieces for the home.
The heist of the century