Lifestyle / Travel

The Copenhagen Hotel That Serves As a Design Museum

Near the town hall and central train station, Hotel Alexandra is a design lover’s paradise. It’s the creation of one man, with one very determined vision…

Xander Brett

Hotel Alexandra claims to have one of the largest collections of vintage Danish furniture in the world. In fact, it has so much, the hotel management are prepared to flog you some on the way out. Difference, certainly, is the ethos of this now long-established institution. There’s been a hotel here since the 1890s, with a brief break when the building was occupied by German forces during the Second World War (its current manager, Jeppe Mühlhausen, says he has a photograph of Winston Churchill driving past during Denmark’s Liberation in 1945). Mühlhausen was the driving force behind the current décor. “We were searching for a new identity,” he tells me over breakfast, “so, fifteen years ago, we travelled the world to find Danish furniture from the 1940s to 60s. We brought a selection back home, dividing it between our standard rooms and three tribute rooms: one for Finn Juhl, one for Hans J. Wegner, and one for Nanna Ditzel.” Taking a tour after our chat, it’s clear, poking into the suites, that no two rooms are identical. The hotel’s position on an intersection has meant round rooms are inevitable, but that’s used to the hotel’s advantage. What’s more, despite its location on one of the city’s busiest boulevards, soundproof windows have kept still silence throughout.

“The hotel’s current manager, Jeppe Mühlhausen, says he has a photograph of Winston Churchill driving past during Denmark’s Liberation in 1945.”

I’m staying for three nights, spreading out in a functional double room, where the beds are comfortable, breakfast is served in the interconnected Ø12 eatery, and there’s wine and champagne to enjoy on the terrace outside. I soon find, though Alexandra may be stylistically stuck in the past, it’s clearly on the perpetual lookout for new ways to bring travel alive. Most recently, the hotel developed an app that shares its favourite tips for sightseeing in Copenhagen. The innovation features an offline map, and users can save information about activities for later. Alexandra, indeed, is certainly well situated to enjoy the sites. The base is just a fifteen-minute stroll to the city’s focal point at Kongens Nytorv, and arrival and departure is simple, with the city’s central station just around the corner, featuring quick onward travel to the airport and other corners of Denmark. Mühlhausen makes clear, though, that despite that geographic situation, Copenhagen is one of the world’s most “liveable” cities, and over 60 per cent of his guests come for the hotel’s interior alone. Design is his undeterred passion, and it’s undeniably infectious.

This article is a Fika Online exclusive.

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