Hotel check: Radisson Blu Royal



A living, breathing shrine to Danish design maestro Arne Jacobsen, (1902 to 1971) famous for his Egg and Swan chairs, which he crafted specifically for the Radisson Blu Royal. Opened in 1960, every detail of the high-rise monolith, from its steel and glass walls to its lamps, coffee pots, teaspoons and door handles was specified by the godfather of Scandinavian design. The five-star hotel is a memorial to Jacobsen’s sophisticated minimalist handwriting with his famous chairs in use throughout. The Egg (designed in 1957) resembles a broken shell recently vacated by a chick while the curvaceous Swan chair (1958) has armrests like the part-furled wings of the eponymous waterfowl.


Situated at 1 Hammerichsgade, it’s smack in the middle ofCopenhagen’s CBD within easy walking distance of the main train station,TivoliGardens, and many other tourist attractions.


260 rooms range from the smallest at 17 m2 and the largest suite at 151 m2. Room 606, in particular, has been maintained as a Danish Modern time capsule, left exactly the way Arne Jacobsen arranged it. Design aficionados (mostly Americans) book this junior suite out months in advance at a cost of 4 900 DKK (around R7 500 a night), but to be honest, I found it a tad austere for my taste. The twin beds looked – dare I say – a bit lumpy and I far preferred the relaxed retro treatment of Yasmine Mahmoudieh’s respectful renovation in our Standard Room on the 18th floor. We had a bigger double bed for a start and there’s a lot to be said for 21st century plumbing. Our room overlookedCopenhagen’s copper-domed rooftops, past theOresundBridge and across toSweden. Nightly firework displays, launched from the twinklingTivoliGardens, provided the perfect backdrop to champagne sundowners.  


Free, high-speed wireless Internet, flat-screen cable TV, a kettle, safe, hair dryer and ironing board. Slippers and towelling dressing gowns are provided along with an artfully presented array of toiletries. Hotel.  Late check-out on request.


Recommended by the Michelin Guide, the Alberto K restaurant on the 20th (top) floor, named after Alberto Kappenberger, general manager of the ‘Royal’ for more than 25 years, offers fine dining with fantastic views ofCopenhagen.

Café Royal on the ground floor serves Danish and international cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while you watchCopenhagen’s passing parade through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Breakfasts, an array of smoked salmon, fresh shrimps, herring and other Scandinavian delicacies along with the usual eggs and bacon fry-up, are the perfect antidote to any champagne hangover. The Royal Bar offers coffee and cake as well as stronger soul fortifiers, including the AJ Cocktail, named after Arne – who else?


Free to all hotel guests, a 2,000-m2 fitness centre features state-of-the-art exercise equipment, saunas and steam rooms. Massages for aching shoulders are easily arranged and personal trainers are also available at an additional fee.


Opposite the Café Royal at one end of the vast, marble-floored lobby dotted with Egg and Swan chairs, a spiral floating staircase sweeps up to the conference floor, which easily accommodates up to 400 delegates in various permutations. The first floor conference area offers 10 meeting rooms and 10 breakout rooms for up to 400 delegates, video conferencing, free wireless Internet access, LCD projectors, a personal conference consultant throughout the event, and customised menus created by experienced chefs.


With its retro modern decor, timber finishes and cunning 21st century lighting, the Radisson Blu Royal, the world’s first designer hotel, is the perfect antidote to glossy, overdone chains.


These range from the lowest at 1095 DKK (R1600) per room excluding breakfast and 9995 DKK (R15 000) including breakfast for the largest suite.


Caroline Hurry