Business trip: Copenhagen
The historic waterfront Admiral Hotel opened as a grain warehouse in 1787 and was converted into a 366-room, six-storey hotel in 1978. The popular hotel is both modern and rustic, with hulking exposed Pomeranian pine beams in all public areas and most rooms. Key to the hotel’s popularity is its central location on the harbour, with dramatic views of the striking new Royal Opera House. It is also near most embassies and the stately, Rococo Amalienborg Palace, the official residence of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II. Soak up waterfront views while dining on new Nordic cuisine at Salt, the hotel’s Terance Conran-designed restaurant.
Copenhagen is home to what is likely the world’s first “edgy” hotel, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, designed and built in 1960 by Arne Jacobsen, one of Denmark’s most celebrated architects and designers. The meticulously maintained 260-room, olive-green, glass and steel high rise is an icon of mid-century modern design, including Jacobsen’s famously curvaceous swan or egg chairs. The hotel offers a variety of rooms at various price points, but the best are the “Royal Club Rooms” on upper floor corners with sweeping views across the city out to the Baltic Sea, or across the street into Tivoli Gardens. The hotel is located a block from the city’s Central Station and on the edge of the Vesterbro district, one of Copenhagen’s hottest new neighbourhoods.
Sustainability is key at the 366-room Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, conveniently situated between the airport and city in the modern planned district of Ørestad. The shiny black 25-storey tower is sheathed in solar cells, which provide 15% of the hotel’s electricity. Rooms are well appointed and modern, wi-fi is free throughout and guests can decline housekeeping service in exchange for a free meal at Storm, the hotel restaurant, which features organic produce sourced from a radius of less than 300km.
Nearby in Ørestad is the unusually trapezoidal and bright-white Bella Sky Comwell Hotel (with 812 rooms, it is the largest hotel in Scandinavia), which is integrated into the new Bella Convention Centre, one of Europe’s largest exhibition centres.
Business travellers are certain to hear about Noma, perhaps Copenhagen’s most famous restaurant as it is frequently ranked as one of best in the world Perfectly prepared and presented simple dishes, such as fresh milk curd and blueberry preserves; onion and fermented pears; or beef rib with lingonberries, have earned it two prestigious Michelin stars. That kind of notoriety means that reservations must be made months in advance.
Luckily there are several new alternatives offering a taste of the upscale “New Nordic” cuisine that Noma pioneered, several of which have earned Michelin stars of their own. For example, the popular Geranium, with beautiful views from its centre city eighth-storey location, has two Michelin stars. As a matter of fact in 2012, 13 restaurants in Copenhagen earned one or more Michelin stars—the most ever.
At Kadeau in the Christianshavn neighbourhood, the menu is dictated by fresh seasonal produce, meat or seafood from the nearby island of Bornholm, and most wines are organic or biodynamically produced. For a taste of summer, try the delicate flavours of a deep green dish combining leeks, skate, sorrel and fermented pea juice decorated with nasturtium leaves, or roasted turbot with green strawberries, burnt butter and whey. For dessert, try the unusual creamy combination of strawberries, buttermilk, white asparagus, rosehip and elderflower. And do not pass on the chewy, crusty house-made multigrain breads brought warm to the table.