Story by Lois Alter Mark
An interesting phenomenon occurs when you leave Copenhagen and head north along the coast
to the area known as the Danish Riviera. About 20 minutes into the drive, you feel your shoulders relax, your head clear and your blood pressure return to normal.
It could be the sea air or the water lapping the shore but it’s more likely the Oz-like sight of Kurhotel Skodsborg, the simple yet sophisticated whitewashed complex that has become a top destination for those in need of some high-level TLC.
In Danish, “kur” means everything from “cure” to “health” to “spa,” all of which accurately describe Kurhotel Skodsborg, considered by many to be the leading Nordic spa hotel. In fact, it was named Best Europe Luxury Wellness Spa in the 2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards.
If it reminds you of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, there’s a good reason why.
Skodsborg was originally founded as a sanatorium in 1898 by Dr. Carl Ottosen, who had studied health and physiotherapy and was a big proponent of spa stays as a preventative approach to wellness. Guests were treated as patients and many of the therapeutic treatments they experienced are documented in original photos still gracing the walls of the hotel.
“Dr. Ottosen had some very simple principles for the healthy life,” says Mai Kappenberger, CEO of Kurhotel Skodsborg. “He was a keen advocate for calm, balance and presence.”
Many of those principles have been incorporated into Skodsborg’s offerings today, which include an amazing array of activities from yoga and meditation to massage and traditional Nordic bathing rituals. The spa area features 16 different warming and cooling experiences, and you’ll want to try them all.
The must-experience is their signature SaunaGus, which roughly translates as “mist sauna.” Performed by a trained Gusmester, the therapy uses heat and essential oils in a Finnish sauna. It consists of three sets of increasing intensity interrupted by short cooling breaks which include pouring ice cubes down your back or walking across the street for an icy ocean dip. It’s invigorating and the reason the Danes have such beautiful complexions.
Whether you choose to spend your days relaxing on a lounge chair, taking a cross-training class on the lawn or exploring the stunning forest that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site, Kurhotel Skodsborg is good for what ails you.
Plus, guests can satisfy their hunger in The Restaurant by Kroun, the hotel’s spectacular gourmet restaurant where the food is fresh, healthy and artistically presented. The service is so special; Martin Troelsen was recently named Restaurant Manager of the Year by the prestigious Danish Dining Guide.
You can also enjoy a casual meal with sunrise or sunset views on the third floor Brasserie or freshly squeezed Dr. Ottosen juices with a Paleo version of the traditional Danish “smørrebrød” in the warm and welcoming lobby.
Because Kurhotel Skodsborg knows wellness is as much about the mind as the body, they present Nordic Noir, where top Scandinavian authors like Sara Blaedel – Denmark’s “Queen of Crime” – talk about books in the hotel’s sofa-filled library.
By the time you return to your room – your light and airy room that feels like your best friend lovingly set up in their own home – you will understand why the Danes are considered the happiest people in the world.
If You Go
Kurhotel Skodsborg living room © Kurhotel Skodsborg