CPH Living

Christianshavn, Copenhagen, Denmark Book from DKK1,080

A small, sleek hotel on a converted barge moored in trendy Christianshavn, with minimalist rooms and wonderful river views
To get an idea of how eager the owners of CPH Living are to please their guests, just look at what they did to build this floating hotel (boat-el). First they hauled an old barge from Germany to Poland, where they extended and refurbished it; then they towed it to Estonia and mounted 12 simple yet stylish bedrooms on its decks; finally, they sailed it to Copenhagen, where it’s now docked on a glittering waterway in a hip residential area, enjoying a new life as one of the city's quirkiest hotels.

As you might expect from the Danes, everything onboard is smartly designed and very clever. Large water-facing windows let light splash in, and each room has a magic box of an armoire with sliding drawers and panels accommodating a flat-screen TV and a surprising amount of storage space. The boat's communal area is dominated by a dangling, dazzling light fixture made up of oversized bulbs, and serves as the breakfast room and lobby. And crowning the whole affair is an expansive outdoor deck, where you can soak up Copenhagen's temperamental sun by day, and snuggle up under a glowing lantern to watch the fireworks above Tivoli Gardens by night.

Highs

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows mean you can gaze out over the water from your bed
  • With only 12 rooms it’s an intimate city escape - perfect for couples looking for something a little bit different
  • Christianshavn is beautifully quiet yet full of cafés and restaurants (including world-renowned Noma). It's only a 15-minute walk from Copenhagen's main sights, and within easy reach of the train station and the metro to the airport
  • Sweeping views from the vast deck, taking in city spires and the iconic 'Black Diamond' royal library building
  • The extremely friendly staff are happy to help tailor your Copenhagen experience to your interests, whether they lie in architecture, art, music or food

Lows

  • Construction work on the opposite bank means you might hear noise from 7am onwards during 2014, but ear plugs are available at reception
  • Don't expect much in the way of onboard amenities - rooms are fairly basic and there's no restaurant or bar, though rates include continental breakfast and you can help yourself to hot drinks in the lobby
  • The boat rocks slightly - not ideal for those prone to sea sickness, though stabilisers keep motion to a minimum - and the rooms can get rather hot at night
  • Full payment is required upon reservation, and there's a surcharge for credit cards
  • The lack of twin beds and walls of glass between the bedrooms and bathrooms mean this place is best suited to couples

Best time to go

Spring and summer, when sunshine and warm temperatures are more likely, are best for making the most of the hotel’s wonderful deck. Copenhagen’s weather is notoriously unpredictable, however, so expect showers and grey days at any time of year. Winter can be very cold, though the city glows with beautiful lights and a festive ambiance in the run-up to Christmas.

Our top tips

Consider buying a multi-pass metro card when you arrive. If you plan on seeing a good part of the city, it'll definitely pay for itself.

Great for...

City Style
Eco
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12
  • Breakfast (+ restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 3 Jan 2016 - 10 Jan 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The most striking feature in each of the 12 identical rooms is the floor-to-ceiling window facing the river. Being separated from the water by nothing more than a thin sheet of glass is almost dizzying, but in a really good way. Smart shades roll up from the floor, but we left ours down and watched swans, kayaks and boats drift by from our super-comfy queensize bed. A tilt-in window and full-length door open to let in fresh air.

Another sheet of glass divides the bedroom from the simple ensuite bathroom - it's artfully frosted to provide some privacy, but the shower (no tub) remains visible, so it's best to know your travel companion well. Glass tiles and a glass bowl sink create an airy feel, and you get soap plus plenty of towels.

Polished wooden floors, warmed by radiant heat in winter, maintain the hotel's heritage as a boat, as do the portholes in the doors (these can be covered by magnetic circles if you want to hide yourself away from the outside world). A small desk with an Arne Jacobsen 'Ant' chair provides just enough space to work on a laptop - that is, if you can tear your eyes away from the hypnotic sparkle of the river. There’s a wardrobe with an array of hidden panels and drawers, so you can store your belongings away and maintain the cool, clean and uncluttered feel; it also hides a flat-screen TV, though this can't possibly compete with the view.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

A basic yet tasty continental breakfast of pastries, bread, yoghurt, fruit, coffee and juice is served daily in the communal area, which also acts as a lobby. A vast double-height window infuses this room with light, and a spiral staircase leads up to the top deck, where you can take your food in fine weather. There’s also a vending machine offering soft drinks and snacks, and a refrigerator where guests can store their own food and drink. You can help yourself to free hot drinks (tea, coffee, cappuccino) at any time.

No other meals are on offer at CPH Living, but this being Copenhagen (perhaps the most culinary-crazed city in Scandinavia), options for eating out abound. Just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel is Noma, consistently voted one of the best restaurants in the world. It's expensive (and you'll need to book weeks, if not months, in advance), but its modern take on traditional Nordic cuisine is worth the splurge if you can afford it.

A cheaper option nearby is the hippy enclave of Christiania. Although the setting is a little grungy, it holds within its graffitied walls a remarkably good and well-respected restaurant: Spiseloppen. The exterior may look like an industrial warehouse, but inside it offers a cosy setting, friendly staff and divine food. The creative global cuisine - artichoke stuffed with spiced aubergine, roasted mushrooms with berry and aniseed sauce, grated fig and mozzarella gratin - is particularly good for vegetarians.

For something a little more upscale, head across the bridge and wander the few blocks to Tivoli Gardens, the vintage amusement park that’s more charm than cheese. The grounds are filled with dozens of restaurants, but 2 of the best are Michelin-starred The Paul and French-style NIMB Brasserie.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Hot drinks
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander through Christianshavn, once a run-down port area, now a trendy district of converted waterfront warehouses and cool cafés
  • Hop on a(nother) boat for a leisurely ride along the city’s waterways. Tours leave from the historic Nyhavn area, a 15-minute walk away, and take in the famous Little Mermaid statue
  • Before or after the hour-long boat trip, stop for a drink at one of Nyhavn’s many colourful canalside bars. In November and December the quayside is lined with Christmas market stalls
  • Rent a bike and zip around town. Copenhagen is a cyclist’s dream, with almost all residents owning at least one 2-wheeled vehicle. If the thought of cycling on your own in a strange city makes you uneasy, then consider a guided tour - Bike Mike is highly recommended
  • Visit the famous hippie settlement of Christiania, just a short stroll from the hotel, and take in the striking artwork scattered about its grounds and the equally striking residents. You'll likely enter through the gardens on the more touristy side, but be sure to walk towards the back of the enclave and cross the river to see the uniquely constructed homes of the residents who claimed this land as their own in 1971
  • Get your hands on some Danish design at Illums Bolighus. This multi-level store is located on Strøget - the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe - and is a wonderland of cool, clean-lined gadgetry and homeware. It's like a giant museum where you can touch everything
  • Head to Tivoli Gardens. Skipped by many visitors who fear it will be too touristy, this vintage amusement park is still in great shape. You’ll find fantastic restaurants, thrilling rides and a romantic yesteryear vibe - particularly when strings of fairy lights sparkle after dark

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Children are welcome here, and will certainly enjoy the novelty of staying on a boat. Copenhagen is a safe and easy city for families to visit, with bike lanes everywhere.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra beds and baby cots can be added to all rooms, but space is tight

Families Should Know:

Given the proximity of the water, parents should also keep an eye on children at all times - particularly on the outside deck

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
6/
Food
8/
Service
9/
Value
8/
Overall

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