By Darren Tobia
December 16, 2011

You can build a neighborhood from scratch, but that alone can't give it heart. Luckily for Copenhagen, a flashy tilting hotel is transforming a day-stroll district to a destination with a pulse. Rising from the southern flatlands on land reclaimed by the sea, the 3XN-designed Bella Sky Comwell Hotel (doubles from $420) has fast become a centerpiece for Ørestad City, a master-planned enclave founded nearly two decades ago.

The sunlit lobby basks in a rich palette of soft gray, gold, and natural greens; and the intimate rooftop bar, with views as far as Sweden, preens with sophistication. But the daredevil design features—which includes a pair of towers that lean at 15-degree angles—first put this 816-room luxury property on the map. “We didn’t set out to make a leaning building,” says Kim Herforth Nielsen, the founding principal of 3XN. “I was inspired by origami, so it was natural to have curves.” The angular elegance easily recalls a paper-folded creation: upturned corners resemble an avian neck; the entrance hall slopes downward like wings in repose. —Or is it, instead, a flower with leaves and petals lusting sunwards? There's less reward in the literal. Because as the sun paints shadows along the geometric façade, the towers' endless repertoire unfolds.

Darren Tobia is a freelance writer based in Buenos Aires.