Hotel insider The "super-efficient" Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Copenhagen
The welcome Super-efficient, if a little businesslike. Computer screens inhabit waist-high tables in the lobby, on which reception staff can instantly pull up your booking and allocate rooms. I love Denmark; everything works. I was slightly disappointed because the lobby of this hotel is famous and I would not have minded waiting half an hour for check-in, just so I could drink in the design.
The neighbourhood Downtown Copenhagen. The hotel is within walking distance of the Tivoli Gardens, the National Museum, the main shopping street (the Strøget) and the train station, from where there are direct express services to Kastrup International Airport. You'll need your running shoes or a taxi to visit the Little Mermaid at Langelinie. The service Swift, clinical and warm. I initially thought the maid trying to clean my room far too insistent and annoying - she kept knocking on the door despite the Do Not Disturb sign I had hung out the night before. This was until I opened the door and realised I had applied the Please Clean My Room sign instead. I apologised and she gave me some chocolates.
The room The most fabulous view greeted me as I walked into my room on one of the higher floors. I could see for miles over the rooftops of Copenhagen and beyond, to the outer suburbs and the Baltic Sea. The room was one of the recently redesigned ones, with a rust-coloured Swan chair near the window and blonde wooden panelling on the wall behind the bed, from which protruded four egg-shaped lamps. The bathroom was tiled and impeccably neat with small pots of fruit-flavoured cosmetics that made striking colour contrasts to the cool blues.
Ask the concierge I quizzed the concierge on the hotel's design legacy and found his knowledge excellent. He told me that the entire hotel - right down to the cutlery, Swan chairs and wall fittings - was created by the Danish designer Arne Jacobsen. Many of the designs we know and love today - the Swan chair, Egg chair and Drop chair (resembles a water droplet) - were sculpted specifically for this hotel. I asked to see Room 606 - a shrine to Jacobsen that contains many original items dating from July 1960 when the hotel opened - and it was arranged in less than an hour. "Next time you come, book ahead and you can not only visit but stay in 606," he told me.
The scene Very cool. Design gurus and fanatics, European business types and elegant and wealthy Euro couples on weekend mini-breaks from Paris, Milan and Barcelona. People wear a lot of black at the Radisson SAS Royal, maybe as a mark of respect to the almost minimalist design ethic. If you are incredibly cool and wealthy, try to book one of the newly designed corner rooms, which have been decorated with sandy wood and soft lime green fabrics.
Loved The strong design element. I am fan of Jacobsen, so my stay was a pilgrimage of a sort. I sat for hours in the lobby, trying out all the different chairs. The only time I left the hotel was to cross the street to find the perfect camera angle to take pictures of this beautiful modernist building. Hated The slow lifts. Maybe I picked a busy time to stay, but I waited two or three minutes for the lifts on one occasion. Rather awkward, especially when you have an Italian couple standing next to you kissing with abandon. Later I discovered the lifts are also original, which explains their leisurely pace.
The verdict A Danish design palace that makes you feel like a million dollars even if you have saved up your pennies to stay there. Great location, stunning decor inside and out. By far the coolest crash pad in town. Radisson SAS Royal Hotel, Hammerichsgade 1, Copenhagen 1611, Denmark, +45 38 15 65 00. Doubles from Dh1,600. www.royal.copenhagen.radissonsas.com