JC Stays - Kurhotel Skodsborg, Copenhagen, Denmark

The historic spa near Copenhagen has had a makeover for the perfect modern wellness escape


When Dr Carl Ottosen opened his sanatorium back in 1898, he probably didn’t envisage that nearly 120 years later, a legion of wellbeing lovers would still be arriving at the same spot.

But check into the light and airy lobby of Kurhotel Skodsborg — complete with its library of art books and oversized pendant lamps — and it’s practically buzzing with hip travellers seeking a respite from modern-day life.

Innovative for his preventative approach to health, Ottosen believed that a combination of light, air, water, nutrition, exercise and rest were the basic cornerstones of wellbeing.

Following a recent revamp to return the hotel to its former glory, it occurred to CEO Mai Kappenberger just how close these principles are to contemporary healthy living.

So as well as restoring the original period features, this thinking is still at the heart of the hotel’s spa offering.

Located on the borders of Dyrehaven, one of the most picturesque nature reserves in Denmark, the hotel is a 20-minute drive from Copenhagen.

It’s a remote and beautiful spot with ocean views over the Øresund, perfect for those seeking some me-time.

The immense spa may look minimalist but has an impressive array of facilities, the space flooded with light from a glass atrium reflecting the huge skies.

Featuring 16 different cooling and warming facilities — such as a hydrospa, salt grotto, Spa Rain and infrared beds, plus a huge state-of-the-art gym and beauty suite — this is a place where you can lose yourself for hours.

The extensive programme of activities has something for everyone, from CrossFit to kundalini yoga, mindful power training to Nordic Spa Adventures ending in an ocean swim.

If do nothing else, book the signature SaunaGus, which combines aromatherapy with extreme heat. Be warned — it can reach 100-120°C and it’s all about testing your endurance levels.

You enter with a ‘Gus Master’, such as resident expert Tina Andersen. While talking you through breathing techniques in a low, meditative voice, she ‘works’ the sauna by adding special blends of aromatic oils and swinging the steam around the cabin with a towel.

Sounds far out? It is. But also unbelievably invigorating especially given that your ‘cool down’ is in the Baltic Sea after a breezy jaunt along a jetty.

There’s more than the spa and its wellness retreats: nature is incorporated everywhere from the pared-back décor that frames the outdoors to the seasonal, Nordic food on offer.

Whether you dine at Michelin-starred Erik Kroun’s The Restaurant by Kroun, with inventive takes on traditional dishes, or the more relaxed third-floor brasserie, food is healthy, modern and fresh.

Breakfast’s homemade granola, beetroot juice and paleo bread piled with avocado combine to be just the right side of healthy.

Meanwhile, soft grey carpet adds a touch of cosiness to the rooms’ white palette, crisp linens juxtaposed against dove velvet drapes with indulgent, stand-alone tubs.

Best of all is the attention to detail: hot-water bottles tucked into your bed so you doze off on toasty sheets and Kerstin Florian products.

Forget hygge, this is lagom — not too little, not too much, just right.

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