As the days get shorter and the weather turns colder, the Danish concept of hygge starts to warm our hearts. This push for coziness can encompass anything from candles on your mantle to fuzzy slippers. A similar concept in Sweden called mysig goes so far as to designate Fridays as fredagsmysigt (cozy Fridays), when social law requires you to wear jammies, stay home, and eat popcorn. If you’re looking to get a little more hygge in your life but still want to travel, consider visiting one of these cozy hotels and bundling up in the best possible way.
1. Brody House — Budapest, Hungary
Eleven unique rooms and suites feature designs by artists who either had studios in the enormous house at one point, or who agreed to collaborate on projects with Brody House’s founders. Rooms have warm, original wood flooring and an eclectic combination of loft beds, exposed brick and concrete walls, and welcoming antique furniture. The 24-hour Honesty Bar works on the honor system: write down what you take and pay your tab at the end of your stay. Breakfast provides a range of Hungarian delicacies, and a “make your own muesli” bar for health-conscious visitors. Those who wish to have a longer stay or need more room (or a kitchen) might consider the nearby Brody Apartments, with a range of studio, double, and “mezzanine” apartments, where the reclaimed wood bed is built on a loft over the room to maximize space.
2. KOTI Sleepover — Paris, France
Koti is the Finnish word for “home” and these tiny cabins in the heart of Paris are part of an art installation celebrating Finnish aitta (cabin houses) — and they’re open to the viewing public during daytime hours. Breakfast is served every morning at the communal dining table, with rye bread, blueberry jam, and lots of coffee. A member of the Finnish Institute is always on hand to provide guests with concierge services, and free Wi-Fi is included. Snuggle into a toasty dressing gown and climb up to the sleeping loft space over the sliding spruce wood door.
3. Hotel San Luis Dolomites — Italy
Less of a hotel than a grouping of chalets, Hotel San Luis is tucked into Italy’s northern mountains, the towering Dolomites. Each of the available wooden cabins have a welcoming fireplace and a large bathtub. Most excitingly, the hotel also offers two treehouses located in the nearby pine forest. Cabins and treehouses come in a variety of sizes, and can accommodate up to seven individuals in one space — all with beautiful views of the mountains from sustainably-built balconies and patios. If you choose to have all meals included in your stay, you’ll sample a variety of Tyrolean delicacies, prepared with local, seasonal ingredients and served either in the communal space or privately in your chalet. The area provides access to outdoor activities all year; winter options include snowshoeing, ice climbing, and a cute carriage ride through the local shopping district to look at Christmas lights.
4. Hotel Not Hotel — Amsterdam, The Netherlands
If you’re tired of hygge, try out the Dutch version: gezelligheid. Just like the Danish word, there’s no perfect English translation, but it roughly means “an enjoyable and uplifting atmosphere of shared companionship.” You can find that atmosphere in spades at Hotel Not Hotel, an unusual artist collaboration hotel with unique rooms. Some are accessible only through a door disguised behind an antique bookcase, while one is inside an old Amsterdam tram car. The Crow’s Nest perches atop a metal exoskeleton, while the Crisis-Free Zone is a cozy getaway for two, protected on the outside by a series of Transylvanian wood carvings designed to fend off evil. Enjoy Thai food and cocktails in the attached bar, Kevin Bacon (yep, that’s really the name), and have breakfast delivered directly to your room/cottage every morning if you’re so inclined.
5. Central Hotel — Copenhagen, Denmark
You can’t get much cozier than Central Hotel, an inn hotel with only one room. This double room located over a small, welcoming cafe in Copenhagen’s unique Vesterbro neighbourhood is the epitome of Danish hygge. Accommodations include breakfast at Cafe Granola, which is right up the block. Around the corner is Værnedamsvej, dubbed Copenhagen’s coziest street. A small walking alley, Værnedamsvej has cute shops, freshly-baked pastries in French cafes, and one of the best cheese stores in town. Sit in one of the the downstairs cafe’s five seats and enjoy a cuppa, or bury yourself under blankets in the early winter dark and enjoy an evening of Danish movies.
6. The “huts” — Manshausen Island, Norway
Manshausen Island in Norway’s Grøtøya strait welcomes visitors with seven cabins designed by architect Snorre Stineson to integrate seamlessly into the rocky coastline. Large windows overlook the peaceful Norwegian Sea, so you can enjoy the mountain views from the master bedroom, or wrap up in local wool blankets and sit on the deck or balcony. Other accommodations include the “main house,” a 200-year-old farmhouse that has been entirely restored and serves seasonal breakfasts to all guests with local ingredients like reindeer and elk sausage. The main house also hosts a welcoming library with floor-to-ceiling glass walls for views of the idyllic surroundings.
7. Lulu Guldsmeden — Berlin, Germany
Lulu Geldsmeden, a recently-opened eco-hotel in Berlin’s vibrant Potsdamer Straße has 81 rooms circling a central courtyard full of lush plants and lawn furniture. Rooms feature four-poster beds and balconies, as well as beautiful details like exposed brick walls, antique furniture, broad windows, and even a swing to keep you occupied when you get tired of cuddling under the blankets. In-house restaurant Saeson offers Nordic cuisine with local, organic ingredients. Brandenberg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie are both about a mile from the hotel, and bike rentals allow you easy access to Berlin’s fantastic art community and tourist destinations. Hunker down with a good book from the small in-house library or sit in a nearby cafe patio and watch the world go by.