Copenhagen and the Avant Garde STAY

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On the first week of July 2015, the city of Copenhagen was celebrating an unexpected heat wave. Across the city, people sat along the docks and swam in the canals, held impromptu picnics along the waterfronts and took off in boats towards the ocean. Copenhagen stretches across the Island of Amager and is connected by a number of bridges to the various districts.

There’ s a unique joie de vivre in this lively city that quickly rubs off on you, as you mingle with the laid-back locals and watch them as they go about their activities. Bicycles and boats pass you along streets and docks, and young families with small children in tow crowd the pavements and cafes, exuding good vibes. Such districts as the old port of NyHavn with its colorful houses and anchored sailboats will take your breath away and resurrect all of your wanderlust.

Don’t miss also the Amalienborg and Christianborg palaces, Frederick’s Church, Rosenberg Castle and the Little Mermaid statue inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s heart-breaking fairytale.

Take a boat ride around the harbor for a delightful journey around the island. With its whimsical architecture and elongated steeples, crown shaped domes, a giant snail-like high tower, dragon rooftop and beautiful people, Copenhagen is truly something of a fairyland.

Copenhagen is also well known for its cutting edge architecture and design. If you want to explore hip contemporary Scandinavian style, you must visit the residential island of Brygge with its display of striking contemporary apartment buildings. I resided there in the STAY apartment hotel designed in minimal Nordic deco.

Just 1.5 miles from Central Copenhagen, the residential island of Brygge has a mellow, artsy community of mostly young, but also young-thinking people. The STAY hotel offers small beautifully furnished apartments with warehouse style rooms and great views of the harbor and city. Decorated in a black and white color theme, the rooms have a minimal, functional design pushed to an edge you rarely see in the United States.

My room was an open loft with a king size bed and cubic night tables at both ends, a sitting room with two black couches, two wood dining room tables, an elegant kitchen with a full size fridge, stove and a bathroom with separate water closets. There was also a laundry room with washer and dryer and simple white dressers. Instead of a closet, a black rod with black hangers stands by the door. In the back of the room, another large full ceiling to floor window provides a view of an inner court. There is also a rooftop where you can take in stunning views of Copenhagen at night.

Buy groceries in one of the health food stores or gourmet patisseries in front of the hotel and enjoy an evening at home if you choose. However, there are also numerous small restaurants in the area within strolling distance that have lots of character, and you can stop along the way in vintage stores, offbeat fashion boutiques, and small galleries.

The lounge and lobby also serve as an art space with sometimes amusing paintings on display, staging American icons such as Elvis. In the cafe, hand scribbled wallpaper made me think of something I had seen in an installation project in a Chelsea gallery. There’s also a blackboard on which you’re encouraged to express your thoughts or create your own scribbles. In the morning, I savored a healthy, organic and delicious breakfast in the café (an espresso / cappuccino coffee machine was available then and throughout the day free of charge). In the evening, help yourself to a beer or a glass of wine in the same lounge. If you wish to explore the surroundings, rent a bike at the reception or take a walk in the Amager Fælled Nature Reserve, only 650 feet away.

STAY Hotel is really unique with a simple style devoid of unnecessary excess or decorative kitsch, and its artful minimalism felt refreshing and relaxing. This is the Scandinavian way: only use what you need, make it simple, and share it with others. Within a 10-minute walk of Dybbølsbro Station across the canal, the STAY is a unique experience, well worth the detour.

Make Copenhagen your destination sometime soon – you’ll fall in love with the city and the relaxed healthy attitude of its people. Considered to be the happiest people in the world, Danes sure seem to have it all.

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