Danish spirit (no, not Aquavit) has been potently distilled into luxury city-breaker Hotel Skt. Annæ. Room design uses the sophisticated palette of Copenhagen-bred artist Vilhelm Hammershøi’s works, which hang throughout alongside portraits of the owners’ family, adding to the hominess of the fire-warmed lounge and the Club, the hotel's friendly bar. Danish street artist Zusa has added a modern touch, many furnishings have a history, and the rooftop (or the Penthouse balcony) offers skyline views. It’s R’n’R in a refined package, with a destination US-style diner and the upbeat Nyhavn neighbourhood to keep you entertained.
Get this when you book through us:
Free bike rental for each guest for one day (subject to availability) and a welcome drink each
144, including one Junior Suite and Penthouse, plus three apartments.
11am, but flexible, on request and subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £92.85 (DKK780), including tax at 25 per cent.
Some rates include a buffet breakfast (otherwise DKK195 an adult, DKK90 each for kids aged four-to-12, free for under-fours).
Feel free to grill the knowledgeable staff about running routes, cycle paths, restaurant recommendations and more. The sweet Meet the Staff section on the hotel’s website encourages you to get to know them further, too – certainly a far cry from the hotel’s past life as a den of iniquity, when smugglers, thieves and such needed a password to enter.
At the hotel
Roof terrace, lounge, indoor and outdoor courtyards, gym, laundry service, free WiFi throughout. Bikes can be hired for an extra charge. In rooms: TV, minibar, coffee- and tea-making kit, I Love Eco bath products; rooms facing the courtyard have air-conditioning, too. The Junior Suite and Penthouse have bathrobes and slippers; the Penthouse has a balcony; and each apartment has a fully-equipped kitchen (with a Nespresso coffee machine, fridge, oven, sink, dishwasher and more) too.
Our favourite rooms
The Deluxe rooms could fill a spread in a design magazine: there are licks of light-grey Farrow & Ball paint on the walls, charcoal-hued furnishings and glimmers of matte gold in the bathroom fittings. Well, the Danes do have a knack for this sort of thing…
There’s no spa on site, but the hotel has partnered with Arndal spa, just a 10-minute walk away, where there’s a sauna and steam room, pool to soak in and a team of talented therapists to soothe, scrub and beautify you.
Leave room in your luggage for wearables by niche labels and copycat homewares.
Some statement pieces have a story to tell: the custom-made table in the courtyard was made using wood from old Nyborg Harbour, and lamps are made following antique designs for the first street lamps in Copenhagen.
Children are welcome, but there’s little to keep them amused. Families should book an Apartment. Kids can sleep on baby cots (DKK150 a night), extra beds (DKK250 a night) and sofa beds (DKK200 a night) depending on the room.
Food is locally sourced, seasonal and largely organic (waste is composted too). Earth-kind cleaning products and toiletries are used, low-flow taps have been installed, and LED lights are used throughout the hotel. Plus, hotel staff duly recycle.
Cosy up to the kitchen for some steak-sizzling action. In summer, the terrace is a great watching-the-world-go-by post.
Chef Torben Klitbo can perhaps claim to have started a culinary revolution: he was the mastermind behind Cofoco, now a big-deal city-wide brand of eateries that offer fine-dining in informal settings at purse-kind prices. Here, he’s remixed the concept for American diner the Shrimp, which serves up oysters, steaks and beef burgers alongside more chi-chi dishes: cod with lobster sauce, veal tartare with lumpfish roe and tarte tatin. Its navy-blue banquettes, brushed-bronze accents, and sculptural dark-wood feel upmarket, but it’s really delightfully laidback here. Breakfasts are typically Danish, with healthy freshly-made fare: rye and wheat breads, fruit and berry cakes, pressed juices, home-made ice tea and eggs scrambled to spec.
Start or end your nights in the Club, an old-school setting for espresso Martinis and oyster-topped Bloody Marys. With soft jazz playing and a light menu of sandwiches and salads, it’s cosy and conversational.
Breakfast is from 6.30am to 10am, Monday to Friday; 7.30am to 11am on weekends. The Shrimp is open Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm to midnight (closed Sundays), and the Club pours drinks from 2pm to midnight.
A light edit of snacks, salads and sandwiches (all with suggested wine pairings) can be sent to your door from 8am to 10pm.
Hotel Skt. Annæ is set in adjoining townhouses on leafy square Sankt Annæ Plads, close to the lively Nyhavn ‘hood.
Copenhagen’s main travel hub, Kastrup Airport, is a 25-minute drive from the hotel. A taxi will cost you around DKK265 for a one-way trip. Direct flights arrive here from major European cities; flights from the USA usually stop over in Europe.
Travel direct from the airport to the hotel on the Metro from Lufthavnen Station to the Kongens Nytorv stop, which is just a 10-minute walk away. You can also use this as the jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the city. If interrailing around Europe, you can train it to Copenhagen from Hamburg, Oslo and Stockholm.
Copenhagen is a walkable city with a useful Metro, and citizens aim to be as eco-friendly as possible – follow suit by swapping four wheels for two or going it on foot. If you do need a car, hire one at the airport; hotel guests get a discount at a local underground car park (DKK275 for 24 hours) if you buy your ticket at reception.
Worth getting out of bed for
Chill out in the courtyard, cosy up by the fireplace in the lounge, take yourself on a little art tour, or have your cocktail on the roof terrace: in the hotel life moves at a languid pace. But things pick up pace from your doorstep onwards. The flowery namesake square Sankt Annæ Plads has playgrounds, and a pétanque court. Pootle over to Arndal Spa for a massage and steam; or if you’re feeling brave, embrace the Copenhot experience, where you alternate alfresco hot-tubbing with bracing dips in the Øresund strait. Nearby Nyhavn is best known for its sociable waterfront and colourful canal-side townhouses (storybook scribe Hans Christian Andersen lived at number 20). A boat tour will show you the whole stretch, including the famous Little Mermaid statue rising from the water. Cultured sorts will find their diaries full. Nearby there’s the Royal Danish Theatre, showing plays, ballets and more, while its Ofelia Pier outpost hosts art exhibitions, sporting events and festivals (get your Insta snap on the ‘kissing steps’ that lead down to the water). The Copenhagen Opera House lies opposite, too, as does Freetown Christiania, the city’s self-ruled heart of counterculture. SMK, the National Gallery of Denmark, lies to the west, and the Glyptotek’s classic art collection lies to the south.
History buffs should swing by Amalienborg Palace and star-shaped fort Kastellet. The old-school Frederiksstaden area has Rococo monuments a-go-go, and Rosenberg Castle looks like the setting of one of Hans Christian’s brighter fairy tales. Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second-oldest amusement park, is just a 20-minute stroll away too. Acquisitive Smiths, gird your credit cards: some of Copenhagen’s best shopping is to be found nearby. Strøget is lined with designer and high-street brands, and the hotel has partnered with several shops in the area (those with hotel membership can earn points to redeem for extra nights at the likes of Isabel Marant, Rough Diamonds, Mark Kenly Domino Tan and more). And, get your Danish design fix at Rue Verte and Beau Marche. Then, drop your remaining krone in Christianhavn’s cafés: Krøyers is one of the cosiest or pop into Parterre’s for a rich Koppi coffee and avo on rye.
Noma has secured Copenhagen’s culinary kingship for its more-art-than-meal fare. But, you’ll need to book months ahead, have an open mind – and a fat wallet. Luckily, the city has an embarrassment of design-led fine-diners. Bright and bold Tigermom is famous for its family-style Asian feasts, while Mother’s excellent pizzas are made with sourdough and seawater. At Kiin Kiin Bao Bao, you could stick with the main menu, but the foie- and lobster-filled ‘extravagant menu’ certainly delivers. 108 is served by two farms and has impeccable pared-back style. Amass’s street-art-splattered warehouse space is as striking as its menu (where else will you find fish-bone ‘tacos’ or koji-cured pork loin with hazelnut milk?) For classic Danish dining, try Restaurant Palaegade who do a fine-line in smørrebrøds for lunch and an elegant four-course dinner (washed down with Aquavit and Schnapps). Almanak has also mastered the open-faced sandwich. Barr’s rustic cuisine (salmon, rösti and Skyr; rum-soaked berries) ensures you leave full, and Formel B’s tasting menus are a showcase of top Scandi produce (we also like its little brother U Formel). To finish, prop up Winterspring’s Dessertbar, which is famous for unique ice-cream flavours: chamomile-vanilla, sea-buckthorn sorbet… Or see what ex-Noma chef Richard Hart has in the oven at Hart Bageri – warning: the cardamom buns are a gateway bake. And Grød has healthy, hearty breakfasts.
Housed in an 18th-century townhouse, Ruby Bar is a low-key word-of-mouth success; likely because they keep pouring excellent seasonal cocktails into those mouths – say, champagne with pear liqueur and chamomile, or rum and port with lime, fennel and honey. We also like Lidbkoeb, which lives in a former pharmacy; now it's tonics are a little stiffer, for example, the seasonal Five-Finger-Death Punch or the Østersø Cola, with vodka, Pimm’s and hints of lemon, peach and licorice. Gin and craft-beer aficionados, whet your whistle at dapper drinkery the Bird & the Churchkey.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this well-groomed city stay in Denmark’s capital and placed their covetable Danish furnishings and hung their new wardrobe from Day Birger et Mikkelson, a full account of their break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Skt. Annæ in Copenhagen…
Fittingly, in the land where hygge is ingrained in the national psyche and designers have firmly established a revered signature look, Hotel Skt. Annæ aims to make you feel at home in uniquely Danish style. From the grander overarching concept to the subtle details, it instils a true sense of place: design studio Space Copenhagen, who styled the original Noma restaurant, dreamt up the elegant low-key interiors, which in turn were inspired by the muted greys, creams and charcoals of native artist Vilhelm Hammershøi’s meditative paintings – some of which hang in the halls. Street artist Anders Thordal (aka Zusa) was called on to enliven the inner courtyard with his spray-painting skills, and the large wooden table there has been handcrafted by Thors Design, using repurposed wood from Nyborg Harbour. And – to truly nail that homey air – paintings of hotel owners, the Hildebrandt family, are displayed too. However, SKT. Annæ wasn’t always so wholesome – as the late-19th-century Hotel Neptun, owner Mrs Svendsen operated without a licence and the smugglers and undesirables who stayed had to enter with a password. But – like the lamps shaped like the capital’s first streetlights and the cache of World War II papers unearthed from beneath the floorboards during a five-year renovation – the hotel’s misspent youth is just one more of the captivating Copenhagen stories adding layers to this distinctly Danish stay.