Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Radisson SAS Royal

24 Sep 2008 by Sara Turner

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Towering over the central station, Scandinavia’s first skyscraper also has excellent claims to be the world’s first design hotel. Opened in 1960, it was the masterwork of Arne Jacobsen (AJ), the father of modern Danish design, who combined minimalism with a passion for nature. His original fittings have long since been replaced, but his spirit still pervades the hotel. Particularly evident are his iconic chairs, several of which were designed specially for the hotel (including the Swan, pictured above right in the lobby).

WHERE IS IT? The ground floor of the Royal was once SAS’s city-centre check-in facility, and the hotel is still ideally placed for access to the airport – trains run every ten minutes and take 17 minutes (DKK30/£3.20).

ROOM FACILITIES If you want to see how the hotel was originally furnished, ask to have a peak in Room 606. This has been preserved exactly as AJ designed it, with dark wood, deep turquoise furnishings and a fascinating multipurpose desk. (The suite can be booked for DKK4,900/£523 per night.) The rooms were last refurbished in 2000-02, and their latest incarnation has preserved AJ’s organic and minimalist values, but using lighter maple wood and lit coloured panels above the beds for a more modern feel. All rooms have flatscreen TVs, coffee and tea-making facilities, ironing equipment, and bathrobe and slippers, and the bathrooms have showers over the bath and own-brand toiletries. Royal Club rooms are on the corners of the building from the tenth floor upward and come with free pay TV and beautiful bathrooms with green and turquoise tiles and big windows. Free wifi is available throughout the hotel.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS On the front of the hotel on the ground floor is Café Royal, a bright and cheerful venue which serves light meals throughout the day (noon-11pm) and a buffet breakfast for those in Compact and Standard rooms from 6.30-10.30am. Guests in premium rooms can take breakfast in the hotel’s showcase restaurant on the 20th floor, the Alberto K. Named after the hotel’s first general manager, this has unbeatable panoramic views over Copenhagen and far out to sea, and in the evening serves fine-dining taster menus of Scandinavian-Italian fusion cuisine, backed by a superb Italian wine list. Finally, the Royal Bar to the right of the lobby is a chic and relaxing area decorated in red and black and boasting both Swan and Egg chairs (open from 3pm to 1am on weekdays, 2am on Saturdays).

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES All the conference and meeting rooms are on the first floor of the hotel, up an elegant spiral staircase from the lobby. There are ten rooms, each named after one of AJ’s chairs and with capacities from six to 400, as well as a central break-out area. All rooms have natural light and the inevitable chairs. At present, the décor runs to dark wood and marble, but the whole floor is due to be refurbished next year, and will be ready in time for the hotel’s 50th anniversary in 2010. A chic business centre is located on the front of the hotel, between the lobby and the exterior windows – decorated in shades of lime green, it has two PCs and is a great place to work (internet access and printing costs DKK3/£0.32 per minute).

LEISURE FACILITIES As well as the meeting rooms, the first floor houses a 2,000 sqm fitness centre. It’s well equipped with high-tech machinery and has plenty of natural light, but it’s also open to the public, so can get busy at peak times. Runners might prefer to get out into Copenhagen’s clean air – a couple of blocks north-west of the hotel are three lakes with about 7km of paths around the edge.

VERDICT A fascinating piece of design history, as well as a top-class modern business hotel.

Fact file

HOW MANY ROOMS? 260, including 23 Compact Single rooms, 22 Standard Single, 11 Standard Family, 124 Standard Double, ten Royal Club Single, 46 Royal Club Double, 21 Junior Suites and three suites.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS From all but the lowest floors, the views are spectacular – try to get one facing east over the old city or north towards the open sea. As with all Radissons, the free wifi is also very welcome.

PRICES Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in mid-October started from DKK2,099 (£229) for a Standard room.

CONTACT Radisson SAS Royal, Hammerichsgade 1; tel +45 38 15 65 00;

By Lucy Fitzgeorge-Parker

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