When we visit a new city we like to stay in a hotel that effusively represents that city’s culture and vibe, so when we decided to take a trip to Copenhagen it was imperative that we find digs that were effortlessly cool, immensely chic and that overachieved by Danish design standards. The task was difficult given that the architecture of Copenhagen is characterised by an array of styles, progressing through Christian IV’s early 17th Century landmarks, the elegant mansions and palaces of Frederiksstaden, to the late 19th century residential boroughs and cultural institutions to the modernistic contribution of the 20th century. Many of the older buildings that house hotels have struggled to amalgamate the ancient characteristics of their building with stylish Danish design features, but Hotel Kong Arthur merges the understated elegance of period details with exhilarating Danish design features, turning heads at every step.
Tucked down the narrow, cobbled Nørre Søgade, this elegant, white hotel sparkles on the Peblinge Sø, one of Copenhagen’s man-made lakes, as if from a scene on a Wes Anderson movie. Hotel Kong Arthur and its sister hotel, Ibsens Hotel, both part of the Arthur Hotels Group, are concealed within the walls of an 1882 apprentices’ residence, on the edge of the hipster populated Nørrebro neighborhood. Despite the hotel’s name, the interior does not imply old-fashioned renaissance but quite the opposite, however to honor of the hotel’s medieval-inspired name, a full suit of armour is poised next to the fireplace, welcoming guests upon arrival, and shields flank the walls in the lobby. The medieval homages end there as the remainder of the 155-room hotel is draped in Danish design simplicity, from the soothing white walls adorned with contemporary art, to the wooden furnishings and eclectic lighting installations. Each room has its own individual interior, adding to the personal feel present throughout the hotel. The rooms are large, spacious and have a welcoming homeliness about them. Some look over the Peblinge Sø while others open onto the hotel’s foliage-covered courtyard where guests can dine and drink, no matter the weather.
Upon check-in we were greeted by the polite and infectiously happy staff, who showed us that Danish people really are some of the friendliest in the world. Even after a red-eye flight the receptionist put a smile on our faces, not least because he’d handed us complimentary passes to the Ni’mat Spa, the Asian-themed spa attached to the hotel. As we’d flown in on the earliest flight from Edinburgh our room was not ready when we arrived, however we relaxed in the L-shaped lobby in front of the cosy fireplace, in armchairs swathed in faux fur throws (a common sight in Copenhagen, it transpired). The 4-star, family-run hotel oozes character and the collection of antiques and furnishings in the lobby only solidifies this – a welcome break from the sterile similarities that many large hotels deem necessary in their lobby area. We’d only been sitting there for an hour before the receptionist came to bring us to our room, 2 hours before standard check-in time. We’ll show eternal gratitude for this!
The hotel has recently opened two newly designed penthouse apartments, Arthur Aparts, a wondrous site for anyone with a minimalist design fetish. Having viewed photographs of the apartment online, we knew we were in for a treat, but when we stepped out of our private elevator and opened the door to our penthouse, it was as if we’d just been handed Marauder’s Map and been asked to navigate around the apartment. If there were one negative aspect of Hotel Kong Arthur, we would say that they have not done themselves justice in marketing their penthouse apartments on their website.
Expecting two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen/living area, from what we’d viewed online, we were overwhelmed to find that the apartment had a master bedroom, a double room with an en-suite, a double room with a living area, a huge open plan kitchen with breakfast bar, a bathroom with a hot tub and an extra roomy living space with an 8-person dining table and snug seating area, perfect for a night in.
The design was simple but bold, cool but hygge, and indescribably perfect. The dark wooden floors accentuated the pastel pinks and greys that brightened up the living areas, while accents of powder blue and chocolate brown made the bedrooms a more intimate affair. The soft lighting allows for a calming and romantic ambience in the evening while the large bay windows allow for gentle morning wake up calls from the sun and unadulterated views of the city. The view of Copenhagen’s rooftops from every window were unrivalled, especially during sunset. The apartment felt like a home and that’s something we’ve never experienced before on our travels; it was ideal.
The all-tiled cream walls made the bathroom’s claustrophobic, and although they fell short on the design spec in comparison to the rest of the hotel, we understand that there are restrictions to having internalised rooms.
The apartment came with every amenity you could ever dream of, cable TV, Wi-Fi, a fridge stocked with alcohol and the finest of toiletries, but it was the collection of travel books and magazines that really had us swooning. From the latest copies of Kinfolk to the New York Times 36 hours – 125 weekends in Europe, it would have been easy to laze away an afternoon in this penthouse of dreams, reading travel tales amidst the Copenhagen chimneys.
There were smaller touches that many hotels would consider unnecessary, but they’re what made Hotel Kong Arthur so welcoming. A sign on the bedroom doors that reads, “Please do not disturb” before reeling off a list of reasons as to why a guest may be busy, including, “I am writing my blog”, “I am kissing my loved one” and “I had a long day yesterday”. Under the bed a little card reads, “Don’t worry, we’ve cleaned under here too.” The smaller things go a long way in our books, and if you can make us laugh then we’re sure to get off on the right foot.
It seemed to us a waste not make use of the apartment, so while we spent every day exploring the city, we had a night in as residents of the Kong Arthur penthouse. The in-house dining options are excellent. Nicely balanced for all tastes they include Italian cuisine at La Rocca, Spanish tapas at Pintxos and Japanese dishes at Sticks’n’Sushi. On discovering the extensive menus of these three restaurants in our room, we opted for a Friday night of Italian and tapas. While our room didn’t have a phone, the hotel provides the numbers for international callers wanting to order room service from any of the three establishments. The 24-hour bar also offers room service, with a selection of perfectly prepared drinks and light snacks.
An evening in at Hotel Kong Arthur is an oasis of calm. Before retreating to our apartment we joined fellow guests for what the hotel calls ‘Cosy Hour’. The initiative is to encourage guests from all corners of the world to meet one another, exchange travel stories, life stories and maybe even start their own love story. Each guest is offered a complimentary glass of wine during this hour and with a crackling fire as your backdrop, it’s terribly inviting.
As sushi fanatics we ventured to Sticks’n’Sushi on the Saturday night of our stay for what can only be described as a feast. A local Copenhagen favourite, the über cool restaurants serves minimalistic specialties with an emphasis on mouthwatering flavours. The menu offers a combination of sushi, grilled specialties on traditional skewers, and Japanese-inspired salads. We’d recommend grazing on some of the colourful and eclectic plattters offered on the extensive menu, cosying up in the heated outdoor seating area and watching the world go by.
Due to the self-catering amenities of the apartment, breakfast is not included in your room stay, however it’s certainly worth waking up for. The largely organic buffet is served in a terracotta-tiled conservatory which opens out onto the hotel’s picturesque courtyard. Dine on dense breads, cold cuts, cheese, Danish pastries (cue us salivating), breakfast waffles, fresh fruit and a selection of cooked breakfast items.
A downfall of this 4-star hotel is its location; so perfectly nestled between trendy Nørrebro and lively Nansengade guests can’t help but be drawn out of their living quarters to explore what the city has to offer. A 10-minute walk from Nørreport Station and a 15-minute walk to Tivoli Gardens and Strøget, the main shopping area, Hotel Kong Arthur is ideal for guests for the early-bird tourists and those guests who prefer to start their sight-seeing after a late breakfast.
The hotel is surrounded by gorgeous wine bars and cafés pouring on to the street, not to mention our favourite, Kalaset. A short walk around the corner from Hotel Kong Arthur is Torvehallerne, a haven for foodies who like to buy local. It is not a supermarket – it is a super market. At Torvehallerne in Copenhagen, you will find over 60 stands selling everything from fresh fish and meat to gourmet chocolate and exotic spices, as well as small places where you can have a quick bite to eat. Continue your culinary tour of Nørrebro and take a stroll down to Jægersborggade. This street has turned from dodgy to hip and is one of the hippest and most buzzing streets in Copenhagen at the moment. Today, the small residential street is home to around 40 art galleries, organic produce shops, vintage clothes, ceramics and jewellery designers, as well as wine bars, coffee shops and restaurants, including the Michelin-starred restaurant Relæ.
Although everything you’ll want to visit while in Copenhagen is within walking distance of the hotel, Copenhagen is a city of bikes, so the hotel encourage guests to hop on their rental bikes and explore the city like a local. We thought that there were tons of bikes in Amsterdam but Copenhagen was next level. Bike rental is DKK 150 / day and the staff will even help you get to grips with your new vehicle if you’re not an avid bike rider.
Kong Arthur is an outstanding hotel and is in a league of its own when it comes to making guests feel welcome. The staff do not welcome you to their hotel, instead they open their arms and bring you into their home. The Arthur Aparts are unsurpassed in every aspect and it’s well worth spending a little extra to reside in one while on your trip. Hotel Kong Arthur is most definitely in the top 5 hotels that we’ve stayed in, not least because they offer affordable luxury in the world’s 8th most expensive city for tourists.
Style & Character: 10/10
Service & Facilities: 9/10
Dining options: 8/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Interesting fact: Kong Arthur is CO2-neutral on energy consumption and part of the world’s first CO2-neutral hotel chain.
For bookings and more information visit Arthur Hotels.
Regarding rates: They are flexible which means they vary after demand. For example, a standard double room goes from DKK 1.200 in the low season to DKK 1800 in the high season.
Address: Nørre Søgade 11, 1370 København K, Denmark