Walk down one of Copenhagen’s narrow, cobbled streets where a boat-filled waterway runs by, flowers fill window boxes, and well-polished bikes lean up against timbered houses, and it’s easy to imagine yourself in a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Add castles, an amusement park as nostalgically evocative as a vintage toy train set, museums that display items such as Viking artifacts and bog mummies, modern royalty who walk among commoners, a tinier-than-expected mermaid statue best viewed by boat, plus open-faced sandwiches as tall as towers, and Copenhagen takes on near-mythic qualities.
If Denmark’s capital is like a storybook, then Nimb, one of its most legendary hotels, is the page you turn to join the characters inside their plot. From my ample terrace in one of Nimb’s glamorous suites, I stand one floor above Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. Below me, a merry throng mulls among the curiosities. I feel strangely part of the crowd, connected to its joy—as if I’m flying above them on a park-approved, magic carpet.
At Tivoli, the buzz is contagious. Adored by visitors of all ages and dispositions, the park manages to bring people together in every season. A place of palpable gaiety, built in folly-style architecture, the park has changed little since it opened in 1843. Today, it encompasses heart-churning rides, manicured gardens, bakeries, cafes, bars, puppet shows, games of chance, and distractions of infinite variety. I lean over my balcony, and let the happiness waft up to encircle me. It’s a welcome escape from reality. Or, perhaps it’s life as Andersen termed it—“the most wonderful fairy tale.”
Nimb (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) borders Tivoli, as it has for more than a century, operating as a culinary outpost, hotel, and portal to the park. Constructed as a lavish, Moorish-style castle (complete with unexpected Taj Mahal turrets and a Venetian marble facade), the 1909 hotel fuses seamlessly with the park’s imaginative fabric. It serves as a beguiling stage set for all the fun. Like a wall to the park, Nimb remains intimate with 38 guest rooms, all but one overlooking Tivoli.
As a splendid marriage of old and new, rooms and common spaces reference history, with features such as pinewood floors and Öland granite. At the same time, the retreat pays homage to design-centric Danish sensibilities—bold, bright contemporary art and edgy accessories; think Moooi desk lamps. Treasures, textures, and accoutrements play to Tivoli Garden’s dreamscape mood throughout the hotel.
Swim in the city’s first rooftop pool, or unwind after a day of sightseeing in its Turkish-style hammam. For a splurge, book the Executive Suite Vilhelm, which has a terrace huge enough for dinner with friends, complete with private chef.
You’ve heard of hygge, that unique Danish quality of conviviality? Nimb has that concept down.
Where to eat:
Re-imagining his legendary Noma, Chef René Redzepi envisioned his newest concept, Noma 2.0, as an urban farm. Spreading out amid the artsy haven of Christiana, the restaurant goes global, with unexpected ingredients gleaned from around the world. During the COVID-19 crisis, the restaurant operates as a burger and wine concept, but Noma 2.0 will be back in October 2020 ready to wow the gourmand crowd.
With stellar views from the eighth floor and tasting menus that can last all night, this three-star Michelin restaurant is a crowd pleaser. But its new restaurant-within-a restaurant, Angelika, a tribute to owner/chef Rasmus Kofoed’s mother, serves up the stunning plant-based lunches she taught him to love.
With a cool kids vibe, set in the gritty Refshaleøen neighborhood, creative Amass is Matt Orlando’s Scandi culinary laboratory—a not-to-be-missed adventure for true foodies. During COVID-19, the chef owner added a jewel box eatery within: Amass Fried Chicken, a crowd-pleaser for those seeking comfort food with an edge.
Showcasing products and ingredients from Chef Nicolai Nørregaard’s home island, Bornholm, Kadeau takes the practice of field to table to innovative levels. A 20- course tasting menu ensures you get to taste it everything in small bites. Kadeau is closed during the COVID-19 quarantine but will reopen in October 2020.
A Meatpacking District icon, this restored butcher’s hall does seafood the Danish way—fresh and creative. Shared plates at the bar and multi-course dinners in the restaurant area impart a picnic feel, with inventive, casual dishes bent on a modern, regional focus.
What to do:
Nimb’s head concierge, chair of Denmark’s Golden Key Hotel Concierges—Les Clefs d’Or—has a great network in the city. He’ll set you up for hard-to-get restaurant reservations, gastro tours, attractions, private tours, behind the scenes and VIP experiences.
Learn more: www.nimb.dk/en/hotel/service
It’s not just for kids. Tivoli Gardens is the essence of Copenhagen. Don’t like the crowds? The park has a VIP program, which allows you to rent the entire park, take over a specific ride, get dance lessons from the ballet master, or—wait for it—be picked up at the airport by the park’s mascot, Pierrot. During COVID-19, teddy bears have been placed appropriately to help enforce social distancing.
The National Museum of Denmark
From Viking artifacts to bog mummies, this fascinating museum presents the cultural history of Denmark in an unforgettable format.
SMK, the National Gallery
Nights at the museum? Leave the crowds behind and have the Rubens and Titians to yourself. Private after-hour tours can be arranged by your hotel concierge for small or large groups.
Award-winning poet and writer Becca Hensley first noticed her penchant for connecting with other cultures when, as a child, she had a slew of pen pals from around the world. Today, travel is her spiritual journey. Her work appears regularly in many magazines. She is travel editor for New Orleans Bride and Insider’s Guide to Spas.
This article originally appeared in the July 31, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.