Nimb Hotel in central Copenhagen is a curious coupling of the Arabian nights-style opulence and a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale (with a soupçon of Scandi minimalism). But its onion-dome-topped form fits well with the follies found in its Tivoli Gardens amusement park setting. Indoors, its idiosyncrasy is embraced joyously: flights of fancy (bird motifs, spinning wheels hung on walls, chandeliers) freewheel in sleek black, white and grey spaces.
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A keepsake coffee-table book about Tivoli gardens and Nimb Hotel by Harry Benson
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Guests can stash luggage away, on request.
Double rooms from £362.72 (DKK3,000), including tax at 25 per cent.
Some rates include a Continental buffet breakfast (DKK255 a person) with selected hot items. Otherwise, a petite ‘business breakfast’ (DKK195 a person) and à la carte offerings are also served in Nimb Brasserie.
High tea with dainty sandwiches, home-made scones, cakes and petits fours is served Monday to Saturday (1pm-4pm). However, you may want to build up an appetite for Nimb Brasserie's decadent Sunday brunch (10am–3.30pm), where a glass of Crémant de Bourgogne kicks off a gastronomic odyssey. There’s an oyster bar; buffet of truffle-scrambled eggs, king crab, pâté de Champagne, sausages from Svaneke and other rich dishes; and, finally, a dessert table loaded with Danish pastries.
At the hotel
Private access to Tivoli Gardens, gym, concierge, free WiFi throughout, valet parking. In rooms: Bang & Olufsen flatscreen TV and DVD player, sound system and iPod dock, Nespresso coffee machine, chocolates, free bottled water, bathrobes and slippers and Meraki bath products. All rooms except the Standard Double Room, Suite and one Junior Suite have working fireplaces.
Our favourite rooms
With chinese pagodas, a boating lake with a pirate ship and cherry trees strung with fairy lights, Tivoli Gardens’ after-dark illuminations bring a little Vegas-style dazzle to Denmark, and guests can gaze over the magical scene from Corner Suite 12. We also like huge split-level Executive Suite 1, a pretty dove-grey pied-à-terre with a private balcony, fire-warmed living room and sculptural modern bath tub that two can get bubbly in.
The spa's body and beauty treatments are designed to help you truly unwind, with a hammam and relaxation area for added bliss. There’s gym has top-spec Technogym equipment, TRX, free weights, plus fruit and energy bars to keep you going.
Copenhagen’s rainy rep and slippery-when-snowy streets make a fitted waterproof, sturdy umbrella and pair of cosy boots savvy suitcase additions.
All rooms (except Suites 1, 2 and 3) are wheelchair accessible, and there’s a lift to all floors.
Pets can stay for a flat fee of DKK1,100. A basket, water bowl, edible treats on arrival, a toy and a little 'Shhh, dog is sleeping' sign are provided. Furry friends are allowed everywhere but the restaurant and Tivoli Gardens. See more pet-friendly hotels in Copenhagen.
19th-century Tivoli gardens is on the hotel’s doorstep and has plenty to thrill kids, and bikes can be hired for over-12s. Baby cots (free, suitable for kids three and under) can be added to all rooms, extra beds (DKK1500 a night) to Junior Suites and up.
Extra beds can be added to the Corner Suites. One-Bedroom Suites and Executive Suites have separate living rooms, so parents can get a little privacy.
The hotel’s Tivoli Gardens setting is ideal for children – with amusement-park rides mere steps away (hotel guests enter free). It’s also a safe place to let kids bomb about on bikes (available to hire for over-12s), and there are U-rated DVDs and large TVs in rooms and suites for cosy family movie nights.
The hotel’s kids menu is simple, with just steak or chicken breast with French fries, or steamed cod in a gooseberry sauce, but they have excellent seasonal variations; Fru Nimb’s Halloween menu has themed dishes such as a ‘ghost fish’ (plaice fillet), ‘spooky spiders’ made from cocktail sausages and ‘bat wing’ pancakes with blackberry jam.
Babysitting is DKK300 an hour (must be booked three days in advance).
No need to pack
The hotel has changing mats, baby steps, stair gates (for split-level suites), black-out blinds, board books and nappies available to buy on site.
Not available, it’s worth packing monitors if you’re staying in a Corner Suite, so you can stash a cot in the living room.
By night, the Brasserie’s terrace tables offer a front-row view of Tivoli’s lights. Otherwise, watch the chefs do their thing in the open kitchen.
As the Danes do: masterfully layered knitwear and coats, casually shed to reveal a sleek, sculptural outfit.
With five restaurants, two bars and a pastry shop, we can guarantee you won't go hungry in this foodie wonderland. Dine on Danish open sandwiches and frikadeller (meatballs) at Fru Nimb. Laid-back Nimb Brasserie, with splashes of dark grey and arched windows overlooking Tivoli Gardens, serves up Franco-Scandi fare (moules marinières, Grambogård pork, chocolate mousse with blackcurrant sorbet). Asian street food is served up at the art-clad Bar ’N’ Grill. Gemyse puts the fresh and plant-based front and centre. Cakenhagen is a classic Danish pastry shop with a French twist.
Nimb Bar is housed in a former ballroom: a glamorous chandelier-strung space with an enormous fireplace. During daylight hours, this is the spot for coffee and afternoon tea. By night, the talented bartenders whip up delicious creations: Negronis and rum punches sit alongside quirkier libations like the salty Dry Umamini, and the Final Word, billed as ‘a complex, herbal cocktail which will win any argument’ – so, that’s us told. There’s an impressive range of spirits to sip and a worldly wine list, too.
Breakfast runs from 7am–11am. In Nimb Brasserie, Fru Nimb and Gemyse, lunch is from noon–4pm, dinner from 5pm–10pm. Nimb Bar’s drinks flow till midnight Monday to Thursday, 1am on weekends.
The Brasserie menu is available when the kitchen is open – there’s a limited selection from 10pm–6.30am.
Nimb Hotel is just inside Tivoli Gardens theme park, opposite Copenhagen Central Station, a 20-minute walk from Christiansborg Palace.
Copenhagen Airport (www.cph.dk) is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. Budget airlines, such as Ryanair and EasyJet, run frequent direct flights from the UK and mainland Europe; Norwegian Airlines flies direct from New York, and flights from Asia stopover in Germany or the Netherlands.
The hotel is a five-minute walk from Copenhagen Central Station. Direct trains arrive here from Germany, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Arrivals from London connect via Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) to Brussels.
Valet parking is available at the hotel for DKK450 a day. There's also parking available along Tietgensgade, a five-minute walk from the hotel, or Q-Park Vesterport Station (one stop from Copenhagen Central Station or a 10-minute walk). If you’re driving from Sweden, you can traverse the impressive over-and-underwater motorway on the Øresund Bridge (http://uk.oresundsbron.com) – an impressive feat of engineering.
Tivoli Gardens – on the hotel’s doorstep – may be the world’s second-oldest amusement park, but its rollercoasters, Star Flyer carousel and cannonball-dodging galley ships – and concert performances from the likes of Lady Gaga – cater to modern thrill-seekers. Its Halloween parade and Christmas market are spectacular too. Go biking with the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, hopping off to see sights such as the Rundetaarn on Kobmagergade, a 17th-century observatory with Old Town views and art exhibitions in its library. The Danish Design Centre showcases Scandi style with substance and sells ideas in a curious holistic ‘supermarket’. Alternatively, Charlottenborg on Nyhaven has contemporary art in a 17th-century baroque palace. Copenhagen’s main shopping area is Strøget, where Illum department store sells Danish design classics. At the far end of Strøget, Gronnegade and Ny Adelgade are great areas for shoes and accessories, For outfits, raid Day Birger et Mikkleson and Bruuns Bazaar in Kongens Nytorv. Cykelmageren has several city outposts for gorgeous hand-made bikes, while Hay House on Østergade has cool, covetable furnishings. Edvard Eriksen’s diminutive Little Mermaid statue can be viewed from Langelinie promenade, a 45-minute walk from the hotel, and in season, Islands Brygge has five sociable swimming pools. If you fancy something a little different, Freetown Christiania – a hippie haven and paean to Danish liberality – is a 45-minute walk away. Founded in the 1970s, Freetown has become a Danish Haight-Ashbury (but a little more authentic) packed with cafés and arts venues.
Fleisch in Copenhagen’s meatpacking district, naturally, is an eatery, bar and butchery in one, where smørrebrød come piled high with choice cold cuts and cocktails are infused with bacon. The Christianshavn neighbourhood’s former customs office has been reborn as Restaurant Kanalen, which serves up Danish-tinged French and Italian fare with views of passing boats. Vertigo sufferers will be rewarded for their bravery (wine awaits) for dining at Restaurant Tårnet (the Tower), which has panoramic views of the city from its tallest tower, and innovative and traditional Danish cuisine.
Light, bright and decorated with sprigs of wildflowers, Atelier September’s decor is as elegant as its breakfast offerings, which are gratifyingly wholesome. Smashed avocado on rye is a signature dish, but the yoghurt with candied zucchini and granola is equally tasty; wash down with a warm cup of matcha tea or a home-made grapefruit soda.
For panoramic views of Copenhagen (and a possible glimpse of neighboring Sweden) sip your cocktails at Sky Bar & Restaurant. For a more low-key evening, stop by craft brewhouse and pub WarPigs, where you can sample the more than 21 beers on tap and snack on American-style barbecue.
Mr Smith was sprawled face down on the four-poster bed: nothing risque, but the siren call of the cloud-like duvet had apparently been too strong for him to withstand. In fairness, he had been the sole luggage carrier as we trekked to Nimb Hotel from Copenhagen’s Torvehallerne food market. While he dozed, I fervently snapped away at our room’s details – a working fireplace! Views of Tivoli Gardens complete with shimmying peacocks! Enormous ensuite bathroom full of Aesop potions!
As I slathered myself in grapefruit-and-orange body balm, I heard, ‘Peacocks sleep, right?’ from a muffled voice in the bedroom. Roused from his afternoon slumber by the ridiculously loud (in volume and tailfeather) birds beyond our window, Mr Smith peeked through the doorway to ask whether I’d fancy a dip in the pool, with a gesture towards the enormous stand-alone tub. This Mrs Smith, however, had meticulously researched the best bites in the city, so I dragged him out to explore.
We stopped by general-manager extraordinaire Mikkel first, who immediately arranged a Sunday reservation at Kødbyens Fiskebar – the best fish restaurant in the city, he assured us – and amiably switched our in-house dinner to Saturday night. Major meal plans sorted, we wandered off in search of sights and pre-dinner libations. After a bit of crowd dodging and a few wrong turns, we eventually tracked down Ruby cocktail bar, with an entrance inconspicuous enough to make us feel like Copenhagen insiders and cocktails tasty (and potent) enough to make us entertain ideas of the ‘what if we moved here’ ilk. After two cocktails each, mixed up by the bartender based on our respective whisky and gin preferences, inhaling fresh air was on the agenda, so we strolled along the canals to Christianshavn – with its ludicrously cheery and photogenic buildings and boats that ranged from the antique to the ostentatious to the artfully graffitied – until sunset reminded us of our impending dinner reservation.
Looks-wise, the hotel’s Nimb Brasserie is akin to a royal greenhouse, all tall ceilings, glass walls, and romantically twinkling lights. The staff is enthusiastic, and very accommodating about food preferences (although there was one slight and swiftly remedied misunderstanding of precisely what falls under the dairy category). We were steered towards a bottle of Loire valley white, a rib-eye for carnivorous Mr Smith and cod so good I’m having taste-flashbacks thinking about it now. After a cheeky peek at the desserts menu, I opt for coffee and ‘a little something sweet’ – which turns out to be decadent house-made chocolate truffles – and the chef amiably freestyles an insane masterpiece of sorbet, rhubarb compote and fruit for Mr Smith. Decidedly stuffed, we just make it up the stairs to collapse, à deux this time, onto the duvet.
Mr Smith’s earlier peacock query was answered at 5.30am, when we were awoken by the less-than-dulcet call of the aforementioned birds – a champagne problem if ever there was one. We drifted in and out, before taking advantage of the very large shower and heading down to breakfast. The buffet tables look like they’ve been styled by Alice in Wonderland set designers, with glass jars and carafes of varying sizes filled with all manner of Scandinavian breakfast goodies. I made a beeline for the potently gingery green juice, lavender-laced granola and what was possibly the world’s best cinnamon roll; Mr Smith helped himself to the potted fruit, bacon and freshly-baked bread.
In an attempt to blend in without growing four inches (the Danes are not a short people), we borrowed bikes from the hotel’s fleet of achingly stylish Velorbis velocipedes. Avid cyclist (and owner of padded lycra shorts) Mr Smith deemed them very acceptable, especially in comparison to the tech-laden but clunkier city bikes; I was just overjoyed to have a basket at the front (surely that merited flowers?). Over the next four hours, fuelled by delusions of elegance on two wheels (nevermind the aching hamstrings or the enormous bruise that appeared on my knee the next day), we cycled by Copenhagen’s classic sights, spotted a human sledge team running through a park, and waved ‘Hej’ to the Little Mermaid. We’re nothing if not thorough.
From the Tivoli side, Moorish-inspired Nimb and its gingerbread-house-icing lining of hundreds of coloured light bulbs looks like something that, at the beginning of a film, Helen Mirren’s character would disdainfully sniff at for being over the top. The dancing peacocks probably wouldn’t help. But by mid-film, she would embrace the whimsical charm of the hotel’s exterior; the sleekly Nordic interior – with its artfully placed antiques, statement walls and fresh giant tufts of white hydrangeas – I feel certain she would love from the start.
Mr Smith and I, however, lack Dame Helen’s decorum; included in our stay were tickets to Tivoli, so we gleefully made like teenagers and headed straight to the front row of the roller coaster. It is not, I found, a glasses-friendly ride. One near-disaster later for this near-sighted Mrs Smith, we giggled our way back to Nimb’s cavernous ballroom-turned-bar for an apéritif. No sooner had we beelined our way to the armchairs by the Dane-sized fireplace than the barman magically appeared with cocktail menus. A rum-based Omertà for Mr Smith and a coffee-flavoured Russian Ballroom for me warmed us up from the insides, too.
The most direct way to dinner in the hipper-than-thou meatpacking district is straight across the street and through the central train station. We passed the bright neon signs of former show rooms, industrial buildings and the remnants of (yes, another) outdoor food market before reaching a restaurant front that was just gritty enough for me to ask Mr Smith if he was sure about the place. Inside, however, it was immediately clear that industrial-chic Kødbyens is out to impress. Mr Smith started his meal with papillon oysters and I ordered cod again, but ended up commandeering most of his crispy-edged hake. Copenhagen is a pescatarian’s dream city, my friends.
Although I warned him he’d be tempting fate, Mr Smith felt compelled to conduct an after-dinner test of the 100km-an-hour, 5G-force claims of Tivoli’s aptly named Vertigo. I watched through my fingers, but all ended well and we settled into our cushy bed for one last night at Nimb. We’ll return someday and spend more time in the cellar wine bar, soak in a massive tub after pedaling our sleek borrowed wheels through the city and eat more of the open-faced sandwiches Nimb made famous. Until then, I’ll miss the brightly coloured avians-turned-alarm-clocks, our personal fireplace and the cinnamon rolls most of all.