The Coolest Hotel in Copenhagen Has Just One Room in a Former Coal Crane
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Copenhagen has long been acknowledged as Scandinavia’s style capital and a trendsetter when it comes to design and cuisine. Lately, the city has also experienced a hotel boom with the opening of chic new properties like Hotel Sanders and the recent expansion of the historic Nimb Hotel in the Tivoli Gardens, including a new rooftop pool.
But the Danish capital’s coolest hotel might just be a hidden gem with only a single guest room. THEKRANE is a one-of-a-kind project that transformed a 1944 coal crane on the industrial waterfront of Nordhavn into the city’s most exclusive accommodation.
The idea was the brainchild of developer Klaus Kastbjerg, who is behind other major undertakings in the city such as THE SILO, a nearby luxury apartment building designed by COBE architects in, you guessed it, a former silo; an office building called Harbour House that was designed by architect Jørn Utzon (who also created the iconic Sydney Opera House) along with his sons Jan and Kim; and a forthcoming mixed-use development with apartments, restaurants, and a hotel on Paper Island, right in the heart of the city.
“I was looking for a working space for my design company, &Tradition, and first bought a building in Nordhavn in 1983,” explained Kastbjerg. “I love the water, the roughness and imperfections of an industrial area, and the proximity to the city center.” He later took over a company called Unionkul that traded and transported coal. It came with buildings on the waterfront, including two cranes.
Kastbjerg commissioned Utzon Architects to convert the smaller one into a meeting space for Harbour House. But he had bigger plans for the second crane. “We learned a lot when transforming the first one,” said Kastbjerg, “so it was possible to include many more functions in THEKRANE,” including not only a hotel room, but also a meeting space and even a spa. It opened in August 2017.
The hotel portion of the structure includes a spacious bedroom dubbed THEKRANEROOM. It is suspended 15 meters (49 feet) up from the ground in the structure that originally housed the crane’s motors and cables.
Danish flooring firm Dinesen treated the Douglas fir ground and wall beams with a specially formulated color called “megablack” to create a Spartan but sophisticated aesthetic that draws the eye toward the seascapes outside. Despite its apparent austerity, the room is packed with creature comforts that include a Bang & Olufsen television and speakers, furniture and hanging lamps by MENU, and linens and towels by Kvadrat. The shower even has a glass ceiling so guests can bathe by natural light.
The minibar is stocked with local treats and bottles of a Mikkeller beer produced specially for THEKRANE, among other options. Each morning, guests are treated to bespoke breakfasts arranged with the on-call concierge and served at their time and place of choice.
The accommodations also include a living room called THELOUNGE in the former driver’s cabin, separate from the bedroom. The angled floor-to-ceiling windows look directly out over the water, where you might spy crew teams rowing at afternoon practice, or sailors in small boats training for regattas. If the weather is fine, guests can lounge outside on a small deck, or one level down on the expansive furnished terrace, which also happens to be the rooftop of the spa.
Speaking of spa, this peaceful oasis has taken over the crane’s former storage room and repair shop. It is managed by Amazing Space, a Danish wellness brand specializing in holistic treatments using organic products that also oversees the spa at the venerable Hotel d’Angleterre in town. The facility at THEKRANE is a single treatment room comprising of a sauna with polished stone walls and blond wood benches, and two deep soaking tubs that can be transformed into therapy beds. Guests can soak in the scenery through a window of walls, and even open them to let in the sounds of the working harbor. Appointments are available to non-hotel guests as well.
Finally, between the spa and the ground level is a glassed-in room with exposed steel beams that can be hired out for private meetings.
Aside from the cool factor of spending the night in a former crane and having the Nordhavn harborfront all to yourself, Kastbjerg sees THEKRANE as a love letter to Copenhagen’s past. “I hope guests see why it is important to value and restore the old industrial landmarks in cities,” he said. “They tell a story and have a charm you won’t find in new buildings.”
If you want to stay at THEKRANE yourself, rate start at €2,500 ($2,810) for two nights. That hefty price tag includes an airport pickup by the concierge, breakfast daily, and use of both an electric BMW i3 and BMW M Cruise bikes for exploring the city and its surrounds. The bragging rights of having stayed here are complimentary.