NH Collection seen from the water

Transformations: 7 Old Buildings Reimagined as Modern Hotels

By Asta Melchior Jelsing
October 10, 2023

Crane, brewery, office, department store, post office, university, or merchant’s house. With the right eyes, everything can be transformed into luxury hotels. Here’s our list of seven notable hotel transformations in Copenhagen.

Transformation is a keyword when it comes to sustainability. Transformation rather than demolition and new construction. It’s about seeing value in existing buildings and giving an old building new life. At the same time, transformation is a sustainable, creative, and economical way to create new architecture. In the examples below, seven buildings with very different backgrounds have been successfully transformed into something new and unique.

The Crane seen from the ground

Photo: Rasmus Hjortshøj

1. The Krane
– Former Coal Crane

In a decommissioned coal crane in Nordhavn lies an intimate hotel with just a single room for two. Besides the room, The Krane also houses a spa area with panoramic views and a meeting room overlooking Nordhavn. The crane was formerly used for coal, but today it is an exclusive micro-hotel adorned in shades of black, offering an industrial look that beckons luxury.

Audos red facade

Photo: Armin Tehrani

2. Audo House
– Former Merchant’s House

The red corner building in Nordhavn was built in 1918 as a merchant’s house. Ships came from distant regions, and from them, smaller shops in the merchant’s house purchased goods for resale. Since 2019, however, the old building has functioned as a modern house with many functions and offerings. Audo House now houses a hotel with 10 rooms under sloping ceilings and exposed beams.

NH Collection seen from the sky

Photo: NH Collection

3. NH Collection
– Former Office Building

Near Knippelsbro, there’s a large building with sharp corners and blue-green windows. You might recognize it as the ‘Desert Fortress,’ as it was once called. In the past, it stood as a massive and imposing fortress, initially as a headquarter for the Danish shipyard B&W and most recently for Nordea Bank. Today, the building has taken on an entirely different character. It has been transformed, and now it is home to the luxury hotel, NH Collection.

25hours colorful lobby

Photo: Stephan Lemke

4. 25hours Hotel
– Former University Building

Near the Round Tower (Rundetårn) lies 25hours Hotel. It has been there since 2022. Previously, the location was home to a range of different establishments, including a printing press, the factory for Royal Copenhagen, and most recently, a part of Copenhagen University. The building’s facade resembles the original one from 1885, but when you step inside, you’re greeted by a wealth of colors that blend with references from the time the building was used as a university.

The courtyard in Villa Copenhagen

Photo: Villa Copenhagen

5. Villa Copenhagen
– Former Post Office

For 100 years, the building served as Denmark’s Central Post Building, but today, it is room keys and not letters that are exchanged. In 2020, the luxury hotel Villa Copenhagen opened. The past as an extravagant post building can still be felt, as the building has been transformed gently with an eye for the old details. Today, in addition to its 390 rooms, the hotel also has a rooftop pool with views of Tivoli, so the old feeling of luxury has been carried on into the building’s new life.

A drawing of Daells Varehus

Photo: Vilhelm Lauritzen Arkitekter

6. Sankt Petri
– Former Department Store

Perhaps you can remember Daells Varehus on Nørregade. It was a department store located at the address from 1912 to 1999. The department store was popularly dubbed ‘Dalle Valle,’ and when a café chain opened their first café in the building, it gave the chain its name. The building underwent many expansions over the years, and when the department store closed, it underwent a complete renovation. Today, in addition to the Sankt Petri Hotel, you’ll also find cafes, restaurants, and shops on the ground floor.

Hotel Ottilias facade with the golden discs

Photo: Sasha Maslov

7. Hotel Ottilia
– Former Brewery

Two prominent buildings have been united in Hotel Ottilia, Carlsberg City District’s first hotel. The old Maltmagasinet from 1881 served as a machine center and malt storehouse, while Lagerkælder 3 from 1969 was used to store beer in large tanks. Today, you can still encounter the old grain silos, malt magazines, and machinery in the carefully transformed hotel.

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Explore the city

How well do you know Copenhagen? The hidden gems and the quirky details? With our free app you can explore the city on your own.