Copenhagen Luxe

#2020yearof… ‘So glad we did that!’

I’m writing a series of posts here and on Instagram about how 2020 will always count. Read more about why here.

Amazingly, I squeezed in three whole trips to Copenhagen before March. Just days before the proverbial hit the fan, MT and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in – and I no longer hesitate to say this – rather a LOT of CPH style. (More on another trip in my next post.)

Angleterre Suite detail: chaise longue and painting
Understated elegance

For a special treat, MT booked us into the Hotel d’Angleterre, the grand dame that overlooks Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn. We had a very intense decade to celebrate, after all. When we arrived, we were lucky enough to be upgraded to a suite, with a Nyhavn view. I went for a manicure, and sent MT and his new beard (it stayed after the Christmas holidays, then hung around all year) off to The Barbershop Bar for some hip grooming. Back at the hotel, all shiny together, we sat on a plush sofa enjoying that view over a bottle of champagne.

We’d ticked off a lot of the touristy things on previous trips with the family, so this was all about grown-up indulgence. On the recommendation of a stylish friend who’d lived in the city, I’d booked us a table at Geist, where we giggled over a fun, adventurous meal, another surprise with every small dish. From there we chose beers to sample in the packed, smoky, cosy cellar of the Lord Nelson Bar, then found a club in the meatpacking district where the revellers were not all children, where we loved all the music, and where we danced like it was ten years ago. We were ridiculously pleased with ourselves as we made our way back along Strøget in the wee small hours.

At Glyptoteket, safe in the knowledge that it’s someone else’s kids causing havoc

The next day we basked in the art and architecture in Glyptoteket, coveted all the pretty things that no one will ever need in Illum, and had the hotel’s gorgeous pool and sauna to ourselves for a while. We had more bubbles in the hotel’s champagne bar, Balthazar, before the main event that took us completely by surprise.

MT hadn’t looked far for his restaurant booking – he figured the restaurant in our 5-star hotel would probably fit the celebratory bill, what with it being Michelin starred an’ all. And there is something lovely about a luxury night out where you don’t actually have to put your coat on.

Seated by the window in Marchal, we perused the menu and both thought we fancied the duck – which was lucky because ‘Canard à la Presse’ was a dish for two people. Little did we know we had ordered the restaurant’s signature dish, the most theatrical piece of cooking I’ve ever seen, and the very reason, we realised as we looked around, that many people had made the restaurant the destination for their special occasion meal that night. In case you’re squeamish, I’ll skip the details, for now, and go straight to the stunning tempered chocolates that ended the meal.

Sapphire delicacies

One more moment of ultimate luxury the following day: a three-hour train journey, in the stillezone (quiet carriage), child-free and free to read, as we slipped back to the other side of Denmark, to the boys the decade made, and the grandparents who’d hopped across the North Sea to spoil them – and us – and who were then off to have their own Copenhagen experience.

At the time, I didn’t share much about our trip on Instagram. Not just because we were too busy enjoying ourselves, but also because it felt like too much. In the very Scottish part of me that is forever frugal, all the indulgence felt uncalled-for. In the years of international living, I’ve been learning to allow myself to enjoy the opportunities we have, but the voice of guilt still niggles: there’s no need for this. I doubted whether we should have taken the trip at all.

Just over a week later, Denmark went into its version of lockdown. We’d had our last chance to pretend we were ten years younger by staying out after 10pm, to pack ourselves into a smoky pub, to relax on public transport, to take advantage of family being just one short haul flight away.

We’d taken our last chance, and we’d done it in style.

I’m so glad we did that!

What can you look back on from the ‘before times’ and say, ‘So glad we did that’? Let me know in the comments – let’s celebrate the opportunities taken!
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A pin for your travel planning!

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