I’d never heard of the marvellous tradition of ‘BadeHotels’ until I visited North Jutland in Denmark.
In this area of pastel towns, sweeping beaches and untamed nature, I learned how bathing hotels had been a custom for generations of families.
The hotels are part of Danish history, stretching back to the 19th century, to a time when there were no tourists – just holiday makers.
These people wanted to escape busy lives in the cities and unwind taut body clocks. And the BadeHotels offered the answer.
It’s a charming tradition reminiscent of the days before mobile phones, when everything proceeded at a more leisurely pace.
The Danish coastline is dotted with small beach towns that have helped keep the BadeHotel experience alive year after year.
Our taste of this lovely custom came near Skagen, the northernmost town in Denmark, when we had the pleasure of visiting Hjorths Badehotel.
The Skagen area is known for its pale summer nights and remarkable light that also long attracted artists, actors and writers.
Here, nature can also be experienced at its most beautiful and its wildest – with majestic cliffs, sweeping North Sea beaches and huge sand dunes that stretch like deserts as far as the eye can see.
And Hjorths Badehotel complements the charm of the area nicely.
This idyllic, mustard-yellow North Jutland treasure dates from 1890 and sits amid nature close to the sea.
With views across northern Denmark’s remarkable shifting sand canyons, Hjorths has been beautifully restored to capture the essence of the Badehotel tradition.
The simple charm that has attracted guests from all parts of Scandinavia for more than a century is there aplenty, yet the inside is a picture of modern design.
Each room at Hjorths Badehotel has an individual look, but the common feel throughout is one of history and authenticity.
We drove from the Copenhagen area, courtesy of our wonderful Danish friends, Gert and Hanne, who were keen to show us the wonders of North Jutland. We will be forever grateful.
It was a comfortable and scenic journey into a natural wonderland.
On arrival, traffic was left behind, replaced by the distant roar of the North Sea and the whistle of wind through forest and grasses.
Hjorths Badehotel offers free parking, a tranquil setting and an attractive garden with outdoor furniture.
Check-in went smoothly and staff were professional, friendly and helpful.
Our room was easy to find; spotlessly clean; colourful; well-appointed; and airy and sunny. The pillow-top bed was comfy and featured quality premium bedding.
The view over the gardens was glorious, with trees and plants showing their Autumn finery.
There was a roomy and modern private bathroom with shower – and adequate charging points for our phones and devices.
The complimentary wifi in public areas was fast and reliable, but it was the restaurant and common area at Hjorths where the Badehotel tradition was on full display.
Hjorths says it’s homemade meals are always fresh and, where possible, feature local and seasonal produce – and we can certainly testify for the quality.
We had dinner at the restaurant twice and also enjoyed two complimentary buffet breakfasts.
On each occasion, breakfast was excellent, with a range of choices and something for every taste.
The common area at Hjorths was comfortable and restful, with a nostalgic air that served to underline the rich history within the hotel.
Hjorths Badehotel is located at Kandestederne, on the fringe of Skagen in Denmark’s North Jutland.
About 800 metres from the beaches of North Sea, the hotel is only a short stroll from one of nature’s most remarkable attractions, the giant Raabierg Mile shifting sand canyon.
We also took short drives to see the Grenen, where the North Sea and the Baltic meet but, incredibly, don’t mix.
And, it was a short drive to the Bunker Coast, which features the remains of Adolf Hitler’s defensive Atlantic Wall.
It is also a five minute drive from the Hulsig train station and about 72 minutes from the nearest airport at Aalborg.
In March, April and May 2023, Hjorths Badehotel will be open each weekend. Throughout June, July and August, it will open every day.
The hotel can be contacted on +45 98 48 79 00.
Based on our experience, Denmark’s BadeHotels are truly a national treasure. We were fortunate to experience the tradition at Hjorths Badehotel.
Who knows if we can ever return to this slice of heaven, but in the meantime, we cling fast to one particular Hjorths memory – a photo of a woman on the sand canyons wearing a white cotton dress and carrying a bright red umbrella.
To us, that striking image summed up the simple charm of the Badehotel. No caption necessary!