In the Baroque era, wunderkammer (wonder rooms) or cabinets of curiosities were all the rage. Essentially collections of exquisite, weird, exotic, artful, gobsmacking objects from relics to fashion to feathers to rocks, these cabinets — generally entire rooms — held the attention and amused those who wandered through them. In a way, they were modern museums. In Copenhagen, on my suite’s balcony at Nimb, one of my favorite hotels in the world, which overlooks the astonishing expanses of Tivoli Gardens, one of the world’s first amusement parks, I draw the comparison. Tivoli, with all its folly architecture, turrets, symphony orchestra stages, games of chance, merry-go-rounds, its Chinese harlequin theater (meant to evoke a peacock), lakes, grassy nooks, puppet shows, roller coasters, twisting pathways, Moorish shapes, colored lamps, illuminated trees, restaurants, shops, outdoor cafes and crowds of revelers smacks of a real life wunderkammer. And Nimb, its storied hotel, an elegant jewel box itself, follows suit. To paraphrase Hans Christian Andersen (and with apologies to him): Nimb, Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen combine to create “the most wonderful fairytale.”
Nimb (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World) rims Tivoli, as it has for more than a century, operating as both a culinary outpost, hotel and portal to the park. Constructed as a lavish, Moorish-style castle (complete with unexpected Taj Mahal turrets and a Venetian marble facade), the circa 1909 hotel fuses seamlessly with the park’s imaginative fabric. It serves as a beguiling stage set for all the fun. Recently reimagined with an addition that doubled its number of suites, enchantingly extravagant Nimb remains intimate with 38 guest rooms, all but one overlooking Tivoli. As a splendid marriage of old and new, rooms and common spaces reference history, with features such as pinewood floors and Øland granite. At the same time, Nimb pays homage to design-centric Danish sensibilities. It’s bold, with bright contemporary art, and edgy, functional accessories. Treasures, textures and accoutrements, as well, play to Tivoli Garden’s dreamscape mood throughout the hotel. You’ve heard of hygee? That cozy state of total contentment and conviviality we all crave? Nimb defines it. Nimb conveys it to you.
What we love:
The location: There’s simply no better location than Nimb for visiting Tivoli Park, which edges the hotel. Across from the main train station and central to most of Copenhagen’s highlights, it stands out as ideal for leisure or business travel, not to mention a party perfect spot for weddings, reunions and more.
The spa: Proof that some people can forego Tivoli Gardens to seek repose within, Nimb has launched a tremendous spa, which includes treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art gym, a CrossFit room, a hammam and occasional windows that peek into Tivoli Gardens, a reminder of life’s extreme contrasts: action vs. relaxation.
The pool: The views of Copenhagen captivate from Nimb’s rooftop pool, which has waters that can be set for counter-current swimming workouts upon demand.
The original architecture: Built in 1909 as a fanciful Moorish castle, Nimb sets hearts aflutter.
The modern architecture: In 2017, a new, ultra contemporary wing was added. While sleek and novel, it still melds with the older areas. I adore its eclecticism.
The bathrooms: They’ve got immense soaking tubs and sinks by Italian bathroom designer Agape. From TONI’s Christiansborg range, the showers and fixtures were originally designed for Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Palace.
The vibe: With just 38 suites, Nimb remains exclusive and intimate.
Where and what to eat and drink:
Bar Nimb: Order from the fairytale cocktail menu, where a coterie of libations were created with Han Christian Andersen in mind, and to be as magical as Tivoli Gardens itself.
Nimb Brasserie: Open for all meals, it excels at breakfast. Try the savory Spinach Waffle, served with avocado, cold smoked salmon and cream cheese.
Cakenhagen: Nibble pastries, such as exquisite cream puffs, while you sip Champagne.
Gemyse: Located in the park, but part of Nimb, it offers plant-based gastronomic food.
Room to book:
For a splurge, book the Executive Suite Vilhelm, which has a terrace huge enough for dinner with friends, complete with private chef.