Head to the Danish capital for a short break packed with shopping and style. Whatever you’re looking for, Copenhagen is packed with future classics waiting to be snapped up
Prepare to be inspired when you visit Copenhagen. Great design is the norm rather than the exception in the Danish capital, which has such a wealth of über-cool bars, restaurants, shops and hotels, the challenge is knowing which to choose. It would probably be harder to find somewhere that didn’t boast clean lines and Scandi sophistication in this style-conscious city.
Check out local design heroes past and present at the Danish Design Centre (+45 3369 3369; www.ddc.dk), then head to Illums Bolighus (+45 3314 1941; www.illumsbolighus.dk), an incredible four-storey emporium dedicated to all manner of chic homewares, to snap up a few souvenirs to take home with you. Then browse the many vintage shops in Nørrebro in the north of the city – there are plenty of timeless classics waiting to be unearthed, although at a price. Bargains are hard to come by.
Yes, Copenhagen is expensive, but at least you are investing in pieces that will look good for years to come – unlike that cuckoo clock or carved elephant that looked so good in situ but failed to gel with your décor back home. You’ll spot classic Egg chairs – first designed in 1958 for the Radisson SAS Royal hotel in Copenhagen – all over the city, and most are originals. Danish design is built to last.
At the very centre of the shopping action is First Hotel Skt Petri, which is actually housed in a converted department store. The dramatic triple-height reception area certainly has the wow factor, and the slick and stylish rooms don’t disappoint. A short walk away, Hotel Twentyseven is the fashionista’s favourite, with a cool cocktail bar that’s worth a visit in its own right. A more daring option is Hotel Fox, where every artist-designed room is different – from Manga to minimalist, they’re pretty unforgettable. Or for pure old-school luxury you can’t beat the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel in the centre of the city.
There’s fashion for every budget as well, from funky streetwear to designer attire. Indre By is where you’ll find the flagship stores of Munthe plus Simonsen (+45 3332 0012; www.muntheplussimonsen.com), Filippa K (+45 3393 8000; www.filippa-k.com) and By Malene Birger (+45 3543 2233; www.bymalenebirger.com) – all big names in Scandi fashion whose beautiful clothes are hugely covetable. A younger, more outrageous look is on offer at Cookie Factory (+45 4160 3771; www.cookiefactory.dk), which sells T-shirts, hoodies, trainers and jewellery in wild fluoro colours. There’s a tiny coffee area in the corner of this basement shop if you’re in need of a caffeine boost.
Another coffee stop worth making is at the Laundromat Café (+45 3535 2672; www.thelaundromatcafe.com) in Nørrebro, which, as its name suggests, boasts washing machines alongside the café tables and serves a generous brunch. There are lots of independent fashion boutiques in this area, where up-and-coming designers showcase their wares. Nightlife is lively too – the crowds at Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus (+45 3524 5300; www.pussy-galore.dk) spill out onto the square during the summer months, while the nearby Oak Room (+45 3860 3860; www.oakroom.dk) is cosy and chic. As I dithered over the cocktail list, the barman asked what flavours I liked and proceeded to invent a cocktail for me on the spot – now that’s service! Back in the centre of the city, having drinks at Ruby (+45 3393 1203; www.rby.dk) is like being invited over to a wealthy and stylish friend’s place. Hidden away in an apartment building, this bar is sophisticated without being intimidating – a rare combination.
If you want to mingle with the beautiful people while dining, glittering sushi restaurant Umami (+45 3338 7500; www.restaurantumami.dk) is definitely the way to go. Or try the Latin American burgers and cocktails on offer at Barbarellah (+45 3332 0061; www.barbarellah.dk), where DJs play until 4am on weekends.
Finally, style maven Helena Christensen was born in Copenhagen, and you can quite literally buy her style at Yo-Yo Second Hand Shop (+45 2046 3181), where her mother sells her cast-offs alongside an eclectic array of other designer items. Photos of Helena adorn the walls and Elza is more than happy to chat about her famous daughter. Helena’s sister Anita runs the children’s shop that you walk through to enter tiny Yo-Yo – she sells colourful clothes for any little darlings looking to match you in the style stakes.
Getting to Copenhagen isn’t difficult – SAS (0871 521 2772; www.flysas.com), bmi (0870 6070 555; www.flybmi.com), British Airways (0844 493 0 787; www.ba.com), easyJet (www.easyjet.com) and KLM (0871 222 7474; www.klm.com) all fly to the city from the UK.