The Nimb Hotel Copenhagen review: Nordic style with an Asian twist
A luxurious hotel in the style of a Moorish palace, right by Copenhagen’s popular Tivoli Gardens
If there’s a more pleasingly eccentric European landmark than Tivoli Gardens: a) I need to know about it; and b) I probably won’t believe you anyway because, well, Tivoli is so delightfully hatstand.
According to legend, Walt Disney was a fan too, and borrowed heavily from Tivoli’s influence – exotic-looking buildings, theatres, bandstands, restaurants, cafes, gardens and rides (not to mention a late-night fireworks display) - when creating Disneyland, Disney World and Epcot.
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world and, while others have accelerated past it in terms of technological advancement, few have such charm or such a wonderfully European approach to health and safety. One signature ride The Star Flyer, for example, the requirements are essentially sobriety and “three functional limbs” and an ability to “hold on tight.”
If this makes it sound like Tivoli is charmingly old fashioned and cheerily resting on its laurels, then I should apologise because, while it is something of a throwback, the buttock-shaped indentations on its laurels are notable for their absence, particularly at the park’s entrance, where the Nimb Hotel is located.
Designed in the style of a Moorish Palace – because, well, why the hell not? – the Nimb doesn’t so much hug the outer wall of Tivoli Gardens as form it. As a result, it’s something of an unusual shape, and wider than it is deep but, to paraphrase, never mind the width, feel the quality.
Originally built in 1909, the Nimb has recently been extended – laterally – but any fears that the new will clash with the old are quickly put to rest. It’s a very sensitive remodel, that’s left the heart of the building intact and maintained its luxurious spirit through the new rooms. It’s also allowed for the development of the frankly excellent Tivoli Food Hall, an extension which allows hotel manager Maria Oldenbjerg to describe the Nimb as now having “38 rooms… and 52 restaurants.” Which is, frankly, a ratio I can truly get behind.
We’ll start with the rooms and, well, they’re spectacular. Spacious, relaxed and while roughly connected by design – “Nordic style with an Asian twist” is how Maria describes it – no two rooms are identical. Some have a terrace, others a fireplace (and some, on the ground floor, will have a peacock outside whether you want one or not). All but one look out to Tivoli Gardens and all have their own individual touches or unique items of furniture: I’m still working out how to hide the bureau in my room in my luggage.
Because of its boutique nature, stays can be personalised to a remarkable degree, from your own private chef barbecuing on the terrace (if you have one, that is, and it should, at least, scare off the slightly psychotic peacocks) to a personalised birthday cake from one of the hotel’s own patisserie team. For those rooms with fires, assistance is given to build and light them.
Details are, of course, nigh perfect, from the B&O television and sound systems, to the enormous bathrooms and their extensive range of useful basics (it’s always good to see a toothbrush as standard) and luxury products. These include facemasks, bath bombs – particularly good for the type of chap who doesn’t necessarily admit to liking such things like, er, a friend of mine – and some very high-quality shaving kit, creams and moisturisers. It’s all small touches but they’re good ones.
Linens, for those who know such things, are from Geismar. While I had to Google them, I can confirm they’re exquisite and result in a very comfortable night’s sleep. Particularly after a shave and a face mask and a bath bomb. Allegedly.
Of course, the great sleep may also have been a result of massive contentment, following a lunch graze of the Tivoli Food Hall and Nimb’s collection of restaurants in the hotel and in Tivoli itself.
Copenhagen’s reputation as a food city has, of course, in these post-Noma years, soared. Wonderfully, we’re now well into that “golden period” where chefs trained under Rene Redzepi, and the other Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, are starting their own ventures or launching side projects, frequently involving rather more simple dishes. BobbaBella is one such offshoot, a shawarma and burger stall from the Michelin-starred Kadeau. The food is straightforward and delicious, ditto the pizzas from Gorms (a city-wide chain), and particularly the open sandwiches from Hallernes Smorrebrod, which I was much better at eating than I was at pronouncing.
The hotel can also arrange food grazes with their “food concierge” Rasmus Palsgard, a food writer, critic and former Masterchef contestant. Despite many attempts to teach me how to pronounce “Smorrebrod” – the final syllable seems to drift away into a guttural sound I just couldn’t grasp – Rasmus remained calm and personable, if annoyingly thin for a man who appears to eat for a living. He guided us through the Nimb’s restaurants across Tivoli Gardens, from Fru Nimb – the original open sandwich restaurant – to the crepes suzette, prepared tableside at the Brasserie. The finest named restaurant, however, remains Cakenhagen which gives crowd-pleasing Danish cakes and pastries a classically French twist.
The most interesting restaurant though is Gemyse, with its beautiful kitchen garden, greenhouse dining room and philosophy that puts vegetables front and centre and, for the most part, treats meat and fish like a flavouring or secondary ingredient. This isn’t just novelty though, as the resulting plates are beautiful and deeply flavoured. The outside firepits – where you can grill your own marshmallows – provide an excellent way to finish a meal too.
In short, it’s very hard to fault Hotel Nimb. Staff are friendly and, inevitably, speak better English than we do. There’s formality and efficiency but it never gets in the way of just being nice and really, really good at their jobs. There’s a tranquil air throughout the entire property, from the new rooftop pool to the basement wine cellar and all points in between. No wonder then that, as Maria tells me, “many choose Nimb for the Nimb, not for Tivoli.”
Double rooms start from 4,500 DKK (£534) per night. To book, visit nimb.dk/en
Flights for this trip were provided by SAS: flysas.com