Fjerritslev, Denmark

Photo: Svinkløv Badehotel

Are you up for a challenge? This is a big one. It entails traveling to Denmark once the coronavirus travel ban has been lifted. It requires securing a reservation at a historic beach hotel. Plus it includes meals created by the most recent winner of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or. You seem intrigued.

You’ll be heading to North Jutland, the northernmost tip of Denmark that literally juts into the North Sea. Jammerbugt, the middle section of the coastline, lies in between a fjord and the sea. It was named the Bay of Woe due to the number of shipwrecks that are buried offshore. The small towns along it are now popular summer destinations.

Fjerritslev is one of those spots. The medieval town grew around farms. It still contains an 18th-century brewery and a 19th-century heather-covered mill. Denmark’s longest wooden building, which first opened as a hotel in 1925, sits among the windswept sand dunes, as well.

Photo: Svinkløv Badehotel

This should have been a big year for Svinkløv Badehotel. In 2016, the hotel was destroyed by a major fire. Kenneth and Louise Toft-Hansen spent nearly three years rebuilding the beloved hotel. They kept the whitewashed wood and the natural color palette. They added a handful of rooms and private bathrooms. They focused on beautifully designed details, including a stair railing and Shaker-inspired coat racks. They enhanced the acclaimed restaurant with larger windows and elegant Vester chairs. Then Kenneth, who helmed kitchens long before he was a hotelier, won the famous chef competition.

The hotel and the restaurant were immediately flooded with requests. Reservations, already coveted, are now hard to secure. Guests of the hotel are treated to casual breakfasts, outside lunches, afternoon coffee and walnut cake, and multi-course dinners. Menus change daily based on local meat, colorful produce, and just-caught seafood. The chef uses creative 3D-printed molds, as well. Plus ice cream (get the fresh pineapple) is served in a little hut outside.

If you don’t have a hotel booking, you may have to wait, though. The coronavirus changed everyone’s summer plans. The restaurant has to reduce the number of tables it serves. Few non-guests will be able to taste the carefully plated dishes before the season ends in the fall. So make your plans now—or else you’ll be dreaming about this seaside gem for a full year.

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