Housed in a hulking, heritage-listed, 18th-century former brick granary, the Admiral is one of the Danish capital's finest boltholes, with rustic-chic public areas and 366 individually-designed rooms and suites. The hotel turned 40 years old in 2018, but is looking better than ever after an anniversary revamp.
The Admiral has a fabulous waterfront setting by Copenhagen's inner harbour. It sits on the edge of Frederiksstaden, a regal district rich in stately embassies and royal buildings, including Amalienborg, a quartet of neoclassical-rococo palaces home to Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark.
Step inside the Admiral's lobby, past a pair of antique cannons, and attractive period details will catch your eye, such as exposed brick arches and chunky 200-year-old Pomeranian pine beams. Glass cabinets display models of vintage, three-masted tall Danish ships (from May to September, sailing adventures can be booked on the historic schooners that are berthed at the back of the hotel). A fluorescent green glow in the Admiral's lobby-side bar provides a swanky contemporary feel, while free Wi-Fi and plentiful conference facilities, including 11 meeting spaces, make the hotel equally popular with leisure and business travellers.
From snug, 17-square-metre single rooms to 54- to 64-square-metre senior suites, the Admiral's sleeping quarters all have a warehouse loft-style vibe, with walls and ceilings supported by hefty beams. There's plenty of stylish teak furniture from esteemed Danish designers such as Skagerak, Fredericia and Snedkergaarden, while modern Danish paintings and colourful lampshades brighten things up nicely. While rooms at the front of the hotel overlook Frederiksstaden's elegant streetscape, my room – No. 302, a double deluxe waterview – has sweeping views over the inner harbour from its French windows, with the awe-inspiring Copenhagen Opera House directly across the water. Use your imagination and you might be able to picture the Battle of Copenhagen, which took place outside in 1801, when the English navy, led by Admiral Lord Nelson, laid siege to the city.
The buffet breakfast, served at SALT, the hotel's slick restaurant, has a delicious array of fresh Danish produce – from eggs, bacon and pastries to yoghurts, herring and smoked cheeses. Promising "the taste of modern Nordic food", with head chef Rasmus Moller Nielsen combining traditional and innovative flavours, SALT also draws guests and non-guests for lunch and dinner with tasting menus and a la carte dishes. Oysters, brown crab and roasted goose are among the options. In summer, SALT's harbourside terrace is the place to be.
As well as Frederiksstaden's royal diversions, including the changing of the guards at noon daily, you're also a five-minute walk from the much-photographed Nyhavn canal, which is fringed by pastel-hued old merchants' houses-cum-bars and eateries. The hotel is 10 minutes on foot from Kongens Nytorv – King's New Square – the nearest station on Copenhagen's fast-expanding Metro system.
Its impressive restoration, and enviable location, makes the Admiral a smart base from which to explore the engaging Danish capital.
Double rooms from 850DKK ($180). See admiralhotel.dk/en
The Admiral looks mightily impressive at night, lit up and reflecting into the water, and the period decor inside the hotel oozes charm.
A Nespresso machine in your room wouldn't go amiss. Instant coffee is so last decade.
Steve McKenna was a guest of Collette, gocollette.com