Nestled at the top of Copenhagen’s most famous street, 71 Nyhavn Hotel sits between the picturesque Nyhavn canal and the much bigger waterway leading to the harbour. With water on two of its four sides, the hotel has an amazing sense of calm.
The two buildings (red and yellow) that house 71 Nyhavn started their lives as warehouses in the early 1800s, under the ownership of one of Copenhagen’s most wealthy trading dynasties. Eventually they were sold to master builder, Alf Arp-Hansen, who turned the warehouses into a hotel in 1971. In the last few years, both buildings have been given a new lease of life after extensive renovations.
And the renovations have been a success, ushering the hotel into conversations about the nicest place to stay in Copenhagen. They’ve managed the rare feat of retaining the buildings’ original character while injecting some modern charm and providing all the creature comforts you’d expect at a luxury hotel. It’s not pastiche or kitsch; it’s understated but full of character in a way only the Scandinavians can achieve.
71 Nyhavn’s in-house restaurant has a refreshingly unusual vibe for a hotel restaurant. In a dining room full of greenery, SEA is a Thai restaurant serving classic Thai dishes with a modern twist. And it has some pedigree, as the sister restaurant to Kiin Kiin, the only Thai restaurant outside Thailand to have a Michelin star. SEA is a bonafide restaurant in its own right, with lots of diners coming in from outside the hotel.
As a rule, I don’t like buffet breakfasts. Which tends to mean I struggle at hotels, but I’m happy to say 71 Nyhavn’s buffet breakfast – included in all room rates – is an exception. Firstly, there’s a huge amount of choice between the cooked options, fruits, yoghurts, and muesli (bircher and classic styles to boot). Everything is on a fast rotation so doesn’t suffer the congealed fate that so much food does in hotel buffet trays.
Copenhagen has become something of a culinary destination over the past few decades. René Redzepi’s world-beating resurrection of Nordic cuisine at Noma has kickstarted a wave of high dining experiences, and the quality has filtered down through all tiers of eating in Copenhagen. The famous Noma restaurant is a 15-minute walk from 71 Nyhavn, and the hotel overlooks Restaurant 108, a recently launched restaurant from one of Redzepi’s former protégés.
The rooms continue the theme seen throughout the rest of the hotel. Comfort and luxury are clearly the top priority but there’s a heavy nod to the building’s history. In large part, that’s down to the exposed beams, which are the original, hefty Pomeranian pinewood beams.
Hygge – the Danish concept of well-being – gets thrown around a lot in Copenhagen but you get the sense that the rooms in the recently renovated red building were designed with hygge in mind. They are not outrageously extravagant but exactly what you want from a high-end hotel room – nicely decked out in Arne Jacobsen furniture, with beautiful bedding and Karmameju toiletries.
It’s worth shelling out a little more for a room with a waterfront view. My room in the corner of the third floor had amazing views in both directions, with French doors that open as wide as you want them to (hotel windows that don’t open properly are a bugbear of mine). It was as good a setting as I’ve ever had in a city hotel room.
Who goes there?
There weren’t any stand out groups, as far as I could tell. I heard some well-spoken Brits and jet setting Americans, as well as some Danish guests. It is a fairly discerning crowd from the conversations I overheard.
Out and about:
Nyhavn canal is an obvious starting point. A heavy Dutch influence in its construction is reflected in the pastel-heavy architecture which looks like it could have been lifted straight out of Amsterdam. It’s a stunning collection of buildings and well worth an explore.
Indre By – Copenhagen’s city centre – is ten minutes’ walk from the hotel. This is where you’ll scratch your shopping itch, if that’s your thing. It’s just a little further in the same direction until you reach the famous Tivoli Gardens, said to be the inspiration for Disneyland.
Slightly further afield, it’s worth exploring Vesterbro and/or Nørrebro, where you’ll find lots of nice cafés, restaurants, and independent shops. If you don’t have huge amounts of time, grab a rental bike and make a beeline for Jaegersborggade in Nørrebro – a street locals say is a trap because you never have to leave it once you’re there! Grab a coffee at The Coffee Collective, browse the shops, and eat lunch at Manfreds (my favourite spot in Copenhagen).
The worst thing:
The website, which I think undersells the hotel. Perhaps in need of a similar renovation to the one the hotel itself recently underwent.
The best thing:
71 Nyhavn’s location on the water at the quiet end of Nyhavn is unrivalled. It’s stunning and peaceful, while no more than a 15-minute walk to Copenhagen’s bustling city centre.
£197 – £987