Ah, hygge. This concept, pronounced “hoo-ga” and imported from Denmark by way of Norway, is one of the biggest trends of the year. Hygge hotels have been an interesting trend and a great concept for hotels to incorporate. Hygge connotes coziness, comfort and community — all things that people stressed in their daily life yearn for in a vacation.
Originally, in Norwegian, the word hygge meant “well-being.” But it’s in Denmark that hygge became a word associated with lifestyle choices. Anything cozy, comfortable and simple but beautiful can be hygge. So down comforters, soft sheets, wool socks, candles, hot cocoa or tea are all examples of hygge. Your favorite pair of sweatpants can be hygge. In fact, the Danes have coined a word, Hyggebukser, to describe the pants you wear at home while reading a good book or cuddling the cat.
There are hygge hotels, you ask? Yes, there are wonderfully comfortable hotels that epitomize hygge in every part of the world. Here are six.
Our list starts with Denmark as the honorary home of hygge. Fyn, one of Denmark’s outlying islands, is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. The sea surrounds it, it boasts wonderful beaches for cozy walks, and farmland is abundant.
Falsled Kro is replete with fireplaces, balconies with views of the bay and natural limestone bathtubs in which you can relax in warm water to your heart’s content. Then a book by the fireside will perfectly round out a relaxing and restorative day.
Denmark and Norway are not the only Scandinavian countries that embrace hygge. KOTI is a group of six mobile cottages designed and developed in Finland, and currently in Paris as examples of that country’s hygge. KOTI is the Finnish word for home.
The cottages are pale timber with pastel accents, and look elegant in their minimalism. One of the key qualities of hygge is cozy, non-pressured sharing. KOTI extends this theme to communal breakfasts, after which each guest can retreat to their own cottage. Breakfasts feature natural foods from Finland, such as berries and bread.
If you’re starting to think of hygge as the sole property of Scandinavian, think again. Hygge qualities exist whenever nature, unhurried pursuits, comfort and coziness come together. So it can be found in the Caribbean as well. Bermuda’s pink beaches lend themselves very well to unhurried walks while breathing in the salt air. The Loren at Pink Beach is set in a hillside affording magnificent views of the ocean even if you want to enjoy it while reading a book. This hygge hotel has a huge library for your perusal.
British teas at 4 p.m. are also cozy, and The Loren at Pink Beach makes full use of Bermuda’s British heritage. Tea, cream and scones are the capstone of the afternoon, after which you can peacefully segue into evening.
The quiet state of Maine is hygge itself, with calm and outdoor-focused lifestyles in a beautiful setting. Inn by the Sea is in the town of Cape Elizabeth, a historical hamlet whose lighthouse, Portland Head Light, first began operation in 1791. You can go to sleep lulled by protective fog and listening to the foghorn sound.
The Inn by the Sea abounds with natural wood. You can walk via boardwalk to a wildlife sanctuary and then to Crescent Beach, an expanse of sand fronting the ocean. The Maine foodie hub of Portland is not far, so you can sample artisan wares and fresh-caught seafood.
Santa Fe is another place whose lifestyle, laid back and focused on natural beauty, is highly hygge. It is built in Santa Fe’s adobe architecture and takes full advantage of the clear light of the mountains in New Mexico. Many rooms sport fireplaces and are adorned with the vibrant art of the Southwestern United States. There is also a heated pool for cool mountain nights.
The art isn’t confined to inside, of course. Santa Fe is known for its many galleries and art museums. One of the ways in which La Posada de Santa Fe is hygge is its central location, which allows guests to walk and sample the art galleries, museums and architecture for which the city is justly famous.
Victoria, a city in British Columbia, is a very hygge place, with a laid-back vibe that is both outdoorsy and culturally rich. It is known for large public gardens whose plantings flourish in the warm climate not far from the Pacific Ocean. The Magnolia Hotel is a small boutique hotel with deep tubs for relaxing, fresh flowers and welcoming sheets and pillows.
Victoria is a very bike-friendly city, and the Magnolia has free bikes for guests. Like Bermuda, Victoria, of course, was settled by the British in the nineteenth century and breaks for tea. In fact, the Victoria offers a “tea trail” where guests can sample spots of tea at multiple places in the city, by bike or via walking.
If you haven’t experienced this comfortable and unique way of life or travel, do some planning and check out some hygge hotels this coming year!