WHERE TO STAY
The Danish word hygge – translating to a special feeling of cosiness – has become a hot hospitality lifestyle trend, in and out of Scandinavia. Here, our selection of hotels around the world that are made for snuggling
Hotels following the cosy Danish hygge trend, both in and out of Scandinavia; actress Antonia Thomas shares her favourite stays
BENIYA MUKAYU, JAPAN
Everything about this spot in hot-spring town Kaga Onsen exudes affection and care, from the regional cuisine served in local pottery and lacquerware to the coffee and bath products created especially for the hotel. Ryokan in style, its wabi-sabi philosophy (an appreciation of imperfect beauty) is a good match for the hygge lifestyle, and though the look is decidedly Japanese minimalist, comfort abounds in the soft yukatas (casual kimonos), cloud-like futons, four types of slippers and three pillow varieties (rice, feather or sponge). But back to those hot springs. Each of the 16 rooms includes an open-air onsen bath, perfect for easing into each morning to the tune of birdsong as the sky lights up in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Doubles from AED 2,210; 0081-761-77 1340, mukayu.com
DERWENT HOUSE, SOUTH AFRICA
Secreted away in a quiet residential neighbourhood at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town, you’ll get a taste of the country – literally – with a menu of local grape and hops. The atmosphere in the charming house is convivial (expect to get lots of insider tips from the staff), and the warmth extends to other touches, like a solar-heated pool and a lounge with a wood-burning stove that is a welcome treat on a chilly winter’s eve. It’s as colourful as it is cosy, with lots of vibrant artwork and handicrafts by South African artists and artisans – Joanna Orr’s kudu “trophy head” paper sculptures are particularly whimsical. Each of the 10 rooms is packed with pretty textiles, throws and cushions, and the suite bedrooms also include views of Table Mountain.
Doubles from AED 755; 0027-21-422 2763, derwenthouse.co.za
“COMFORT ABOUNDS IN SOFT YUKATAS, CLOUD-LIKE FUTONS, FOUR TYPES OF SLIPPERS
AND THREE PILLOW VARIETIES”
ETT HEM, SWEDEN
Stockholm may be where the hygge hotel trend got its start: at a storybook-ish Arts and Crafts-style townhouse, red-bricked with copper awnings gone patina-green, set on a residential street corner opposite a park. Designed by Ilse Crawford, known for her “lived in” aesthetic, the look is a perfect fit for a hotel whose name means “at home”. The atmosphere is warm and inviting (a signature woody fragrance helps), and while nosing around the boutique 12-room property you’ll find objets d’art, a glazed conservatory (great for a fika, or “coffee break”) and furnishings by Scandinavian designers. A library is an inherently cosy room in any house, but here that’s amplified with sheepskin rugs, chaise longues and fireplaces. Guest rooms are effortlessly cosseting with cast-iron stoves, marble-clad bathrooms and sitting areas made for sinking in to.
Doubles from AED 1,585; 0046-8-20 0590, etthem.se
THE KHYBER HIMALAYAN RESORT & SPA, INDIA
Wrap yourself in cashmere wool and silks at this mountain resort, where you’ll drink in a snowcapped panorama from warm-hued rooms done in local pine and slate. Take a covered walkway to one of the private cottages, complete with a sunken bathtub and wall-length window – a spoiling enclave that really makes it feel as if the mountain is all your own. Located 2,690m above sea level in Gulmarg, Kashmir, and just a short walk from one of the world’s highest ski lifts, after a day outdoors retreat to The Den, which can be privately reserved to watch a movie, or partake in some friendly competition in the elegant Games Room before relaxing with a hotstone massage in The Khyber Spa by L’Occitane. Doubles from AED 1,300; 0091-990-660 3272, khyberhotels.com
LAKE HOUSE, AUSTRALIA
Sitting on the shores of Lake Daylesford in Victoria, this 34-room rural lodge is beautiful inside and out. A leisurely stroll reveals country gardens peppered with regionally created artwork and sculptures set amid lilacs, quince and plum trees – all of which attracts birdlife such as parrots and kookaburra, so grab a pair of binoculars for a low-key morning of birding. Laid-back and comfortable is the theme here, no matter how you decide to spend your time, but a meal at the award-winning restaurant serving modern, regionally sourced dishes by co-owner and chef Alla Wolf-Tasker is a must. Settle in to a velvet armchair for afternoon aperitivi or for a nightcap with someone tickling the keys of a grand piano. At the Scandi-inspired Salus Spa, treatments use ingredients grown in the house garden and hot mineral-water baths overlook the lake.
Doubles from AED 1,710; 0061-3-5348 3329, lakehouse.com.au
SCRIBNER’S CATSKILL LODGE, USA
Cocooned in the mountains in upstate New York, with ski slopes in sight, this Sixties-era lodge underwent a Nordic-inspired facelift in 2016. Blonde wood panels, bright white walls and sky lights keep the spaces bright and airy even in overcast weather. Not that you’ll be paying much mind to that, with 38 guest rooms, most unique, that feature sunken seating areas, loft beds, wood-burning stoves and a bundle of all the ingredients needed (graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows) to make your own s’mores at the nightly bonfire. A petfriendly hotel, expect to see lots of happy tails wagging in front of warm fireplaces set against floor-to-ceiling windows. At Prospect restaurant, offerings from the Hudson Valley are hale and hearty, like steelhead trout with potatoes and sauerkraut, ideal for warming up and refuelling in this mountain hideaway.
Doubles from AED 735; 001-518-628 5130, scribnerslodge.com
“SETTLE IN TO A VELVET ARMCHAIR FOR AFTERNOON APERITIVI OR FOR A NIGHTCAP WITH SOMEONE TICKLING THE KEYS OF A GRAND PIANO”
Get comfortable in the lounge at Cape Town’s Derwent House. Opposite: Sunning with a wintry view at The Khyber HimalayanResort & Spa