A Weekend in Copenhagen

I haven’t ever met anyone, ever, who didn’t fall in love with Copenhagen when visiting. It is the perfect winter weekend escape, with snow-covered parks and cosy cafes, and plenty of beautiful 17th century architecture. On this second visit to Denmark’s capital city I was able to bypass the major tourist sights in favour of the quieter more local treasures.

CopenhagenCopenhagen

To Stay

Hotel D’Angleterre – This grand dame hotel is palatial and grand in style, but the service is warm and inviting. We stayed in an indulgent suite which had the most comfortable bed and gorgeous views over the colourful Nyhavn port. Don’t leave without trying the wonderful Michelin starred restaurant, Marchal.

Copenhagen

To Eat

Relæ – Perhaps my favourite restaurant in Copenhagen, Relae is a feast for all the senses. The eatery is found in the hipster area of Jægersborggade in Nørrebro and is the first certified organic Michelin starred restaurant in the world. I loved the simply-designed dining room and the delicious five-course menu which featured dishes such as ‘Carrots & lemon thyme’ and ‘Yoghurt & citrus’.

Mother – This pizza institution has now opened a branch in London too, but the Copenhagen original is definitely worth a visit. Located in the Meatpacking district, the no frills dining room is always full of hipsters feasting on classic Italian pizzas and vibrant salads.

Höst – There is a lovely atmosphere in Höst, an eatery decorated with whimsical plants and twinkling lights. Choose from a 3 or 5 course set menu, both of which showcase the best Danish produce and typical Nordic cuisine.

Copenhagen

To Drink

Atelier September – This cult cafe is a must when visiting Copenhagen. Chef and creator Frederik Bille Brahe serves natural food & artisan coffee, and the avocado on toast for breakfast is legendary. The clean white interiors are very Instagram friendly, and the seats beneath the arched window are particularly desirable.

Coffee Collective – This chic Scandinavian coffee brand is one of the best caffeine stops in town. There are several branches, each with a bright and functional cafe space for enjoying your drink and working or reading. The Coffee Collective was founded by four friends who work tirelessly to source and roast the best coffee beans, as well as trying to improve the conditions for coffee farmers. The lightly roasted coffee is very carefully poured and tastes delicious.

Copenhagen

To See

Rundetaarn – The Round Tower in Copenhagen was built from 1637-42 by King Christian IV and was the first part of the Trinity Complex, which included an astronomical observatory and a university library. It costs just a few krona to enter and the circular walk is really wonderful.

Magstræde – This historic street is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Copenhagen. Wander down and join the queue of tourists taking photos.

Botanical Gardens – A unique and reflective garden in the centre of the city. This magical place is perfect for an afternoon stroll and is home to Denmark’s largest scientific collection of plants. I loved the huge greenhouses with spiral staircases and unruly tropical plants.

Amalienborg – This regal and grand area of town is where the Royal family of Denmark live. It is great fun to see the main square and watch the changing of the guard. The Amalienborg Museum presents the private interiors of the most recent kings and queens and an exhibit on today’s monarchy with its many traditions.

Nyhavn – Nyhavn is the 17th-century waterfront, canal and entertainment district in Copenhagen. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbour front just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured bars, cafes and restaurants.

The Hirschsprung Collection – This charming museum houses a large collection of 19th and 20th century Danish art. The museum is built around the personal art collection of Heinrich Hirschsprung, a tobacco manufacturer and patron of the arts who founded his art collection in 1865. We particularly liked the paintings by Vilhelm Hammershøi that depict wondrous empty rooms.

Copenhagen

To Shop

Tortus – This beautiful ceramics shop makes truly unique objects that would complement any home. With the studio upstairs and the showroom on the ground floor, it is a small but special operation.

Playtype – Playtype is a tiny boutique that is home to more than a hundred typefaces and nearly 500 different font weights. Pick up a poster or a trendy mug with your letter on it.

Stilleben – Stilleben was opened in 2002 by Danish designers Ditte Reckweg and Jelena Nordentoft. The duo have created a hip and attractive shop which champions handmade ceramics, textures and accessories from Danish and international designers.

HAY – This Danish design institution has spread all over the world thanks to the attractive aesthetics. I could have spent a fortune on the stationery and homeware here.

Jewellery by Malene Glintborg – A lovely little jewellery shop in the heart of Vesterbro district of Copenhagen. Her angular designs are playful and very wearable. Perfect for picking up a pretty gift.

More information about things to do and see in Copenhagen here.

Ushvani Spa, Sloane Square

I don’t visit London spas very often, usually they are tucked away at the back of hotels and feel like a bit of an afterthought. But a few weeks ago I visited a special spa that I am still dreaming about.

Ushvani Spa is a serene and luxurious day spa located minutes away from Sloane Square station, concealed within a beautiful Georgian building on Cadogan Gardens. Ushvani’s philosophy is based on ancient Asian culture and the team take a holistic approach to treat the mind, body and spirit.

Ushvani Spa

Owner and Founder Usha Arumugam has created a blissfully relaxing retreat, and from the moment you step through the door busy city life is a forgotten memory. The warm and luxe decor is Malaysian inspired throughout; an intimate spa with dark wood panelling, carved sculptures, and a fish tank displaying clown fish, a symbol of good luck.

The softly spoken therapist who greeted me at the door immediately made me feel at ease, replacing my worn-out trainers for slippers and placing a refreshing hibiscus-infused towel in my hands. She then took me on a brief tour of the spa, which features a plunge pool, steam room, relaxation room, Sentosa studio (for yoga and meditation classes) and male and female changing rooms.

Ushvani Spa

There is also the Asmara Suite… a specially designed room for couples treatments. The cosy and inviting suite is ideal for any of the two hour treatments and guests can enjoy the private facilities after the joint treatment. I noticed a lovely deep sunken stone bath where I was told that the water is infused with Ushvani’s signature Nutmeg Flower Bath oil. It sounded divine.

Ushvani Spa

After a quick trip to the changing rooms to change into my bathrobe, I was taken by my therapist to a treatment room for the Malay Massage. This signature treatment is one of the most popular at Ushvani, and is renowned for its contouring and toning benefits.

My legs were elevated and I was told to take in a few deep breaths, the fresh smell of eucalyptus filled the air. My therapist was brilliant at responding to my body’s aches and pains. She used long kneading strokes and plenty of nourishing oil to relieve and soothe the spots of tension and stretched out my tight muscles. Without my guidance she knew exactly where to apply pressure and where to be more gentle, and after a few minutes I felt my breathing slow and my body let go.

Ushvani Spa

I didn’t want the massage to end. Afterwards, while hydrating with a nutmeg and ginger tea I realised that this Ushvani treatment had been without a doubt one of the best spa experiences of my life. I felt a deep sense of calm and relaxation… the earlier stresses of the day were now a distant memory.

More information and book a treatment at Ushvani Spa here.

CUB, Shoreditch

CUB is not a bar, and it’s not a restaurant… it’s a new concept from cocktail mastermind Ryan Chetiyawardana in collaboration with Silo chef Doug McMaster. With this venue (located in the remodelled White Lyan bar) Ryan hopes to bridge the gap between drinks and food, offering a set menu where cocktails and dishes are intrinsically entwined.

CUB

CUB is kitted out in bright mustard leather banquettes with white sparkly tables made from recycled yoghurt pots. As soon as you sit down the passionate staff will inspire you with stories about the current dishes and drinks. Our waitress Jane Cryan was brilliant, answering every one of my questions with a full and fascinating response.

CUB

Our CUB culinary journey started with Krug Champagne spiked with water jelly and herbs, and some crispbread snacks. Both were subtle and delicately flavoured and beautifully paired together.

CUB

My favourite dish was the Green Tomato with Fig Leaf and White Peach. This unusual looking plate was a intriguing and refreshing mix of sour tomatoes and sweet ripe peach, the fig leaf oil added an aromatic twist.

CUBCUB

When I visited, the whole menu was vegetarian, seemingly by accident. CUB only uses completely sustainable ingredients, many of which are grown nearby to the venue.

The Chervil Root with Red Flash Apple and Turbo Whey was an intensely sweet dish with a yeasty savoury depth. Though unexpected, we found the dish warming and comforting. The Shrooms on Shrooms was an earthier recipe, a mix of different mushrooms cooked in a variety way to create a range of flavours and textures. It was filling and delicious.

CUB

The drinks blended perfectly amongst the plates of food. I loved the gin based drink with fermented carrot, bitter orange and miso, an elegant drink with a touch of saltiness. The final drink was also delicious, made with Square Mile Coffee, Cognac, H.M.S and Peach. This short and strong drink was a lovely smooth and rich end to the meal.

CUB do welcome guests for just drinks, but I encourage you to visit for the whole experience… the menu changes regularly featuring spectacularly unique recipes, both to drink and to eat, and trying them together makes the flavour even more vibrant. The set menu costs £45 per person and is more than worth it.

More information and book a table at CUB here.