When you think of a spa hotel destination, Copenhagen probably doesn’t spring to the top of your list.
But winter is a perfect time to hunker down in Skodsborg, an affluent seaside suburb of the Danish capital, just a 15-minute train ride from the centre of town.
I was at the Kurhotel Skodsborg last week to train and swim in the midwinter sea – bracing!! – (see photos below) and experience saunagus: short but intense bouts of increasing heat in the sauna over the space of an hour, sometimes to rock music, sometimes to mediative tunes. Different aromatic oils are added, a sauna master twirls a towel or large fan to disperse the fierce heat around the room and it’s all interspersed with dips off the end of a private pier into the sea a hundred metres away. Invigorating!!! I suspect at some stage saunagus with will fill the pages of glossy mags and weekend newspaper sections in the UK as the next “big thing” when it comes to health.
The spa at the hotel is the largest in Denmark and there’s also a Crossfit training area, gym and massage rooms. Don’t be intimidated by tall, chiselled Danes; they’re a friendly bunch.
There are also two restaurants and paleo-inspired treats in the lobby.
The Danish concept of hygge (coziness) comes into its own around now, when long winter nights are made more bearable by flickering candles, log fires, warm blankets and soft sofas, and the hotel is fully hygge’ed up.
All in all it’s not outrageous to think of basing yourself here for a long weekend in Copenhagen. The Danes may think it’s out in the ‘burbs but to a Londoner, what’s 15 minutes on a train? And rather than run away from winter, Skodsborg is a lovely place to embrace it, sea bathing and all.
OK, this one isn’t new, it’s 65-years old, but the Hotel Quelle has been given a szhuzsh and it’s certainly something nice to day-dream about on the 7.41 to Paddington this dull November Monday.
The hotel is located between the Dolomites and the Rieserferner mountain range in Northern Italy. (Innsbruck airport is the nearest, a two-hour drive away.) Outdoor activities here include guided alpine hikes, bike tours, e-bikes and Nordic walking in the warmer months, and cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snow shoeing and sledding in the winter.
If you do all that you can justify attacking the breakfast buffet with healthy and organic choices including freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices, organic bread, “farmer’s corner” and cooked breakfasts from the kitchen. At lunch, a daily traditional South Tyrolean or Italian menu is served along with a salad buffet and soup. In the evening, a beautifully prepared à-la-carte menu offering up to seven courses.
There are seven pools, an adults-only spa and a separate families’ spa.
If you fancy a stay six nights’ full board are from €840pp when two share a double room.
The Orania Hotel in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood of Berlin opened a few months ago in a building that dates back to 1913. Its 40+ rooms are accompanied by a private members’ literary salon (hotel guests have access), as well as restaurant, bar and concert space where you might listen to jazz, classical, electronic or world music depending on the night.
Photos are copyright of Orania, Berlin
My story about new sea swimming holidays in Ibiza appeared in the Financial Times this month.
Click here >>> Ibiza <<< to read the piece if you subscribe to the FT online.
Thanks to my great guide Alessandro Mancini and to Swimtrek for organising it all.
I’m going to try and post more new hotel openings on Mondays, to give us a post-weekend boost on an otherwise rather grey start to the working week. (Well, if you’re reading this in London it’s pretty grim today. Ignore than bit if you’re in Cape Town, Buenos Aires or Melbourne right now).
This week it’s Copenhagen and the newly-opened Nobis Hotel. It’s a sister property to the Miss Clara in Stockholm which is one of my favourite hotels in Europe, and where I took my sister for her round number birthday last year.
Rates at the Nobis for a double room start from around 2500 Krone (£300 / €340 / US$400).
Images are courtesy of the hotel, and their copyright.