Kurhotel Skodsborg celebrates 125 years

European Spa speaks exclusively with Henrik Andersen, spa and fitness director at Denmark’s traditional Nordic spa hotel, Kurhotel Skodsborg


By Wendy Golledge

08 January 2024

Kurhotel Skodsborg is an award-winning spa hotel just outside Copenhagen, channelling the fresh-air simplicity of the Nordic way of life.

Offering 16 different experiences, Kurhotel Skodsborg’s spa was founded Dr Carl Ottosen more than a century ago.

Ottosen’s philosophies were based on fundamental principles for a healthy life – light, air, water, nutrition, exercise and rest.

Originally a sanatorium, Kurhotel Skodsborg lies between the ocean and the forest in North Zealand, Denmark.

Black and white photo of swimmers
Kurhotel Skodsborg, founded in 1898, was once a sanatorium

A preventive approach to health and wellness

Today, the minimalist space, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, includes a 100sqm hydro spa with grottos and massage showers. There is also an outdoor hot tub, saunas, a salt grotto, steam bath and a 21m swimming pool.

As the hotel celebrates its 125th anniversary, Ottosen’s preventive approach to health and wellness lives on.

The hotel’s therapists have developed Dr Ottosen’s principles into a range of unique wellness treatments, including SaunaGus. In an aromatherapy sauna, a gusmester uses a swirling towel to infuse the air with pure essential oils giving a scent that – combined with the heat – enhances relaxation.

European Spa asks spa and fitness director Henrik Andersen how relevant Ottosen’s 125-year-old principles are to the spa in 2024.

Man stood in water swirling towel above head
SaunaGus Gusmester, Henrik Baunkjær Sørensen

Private spa experiences are really gaining traction

“Tailored, unique and undisturbed experiences for small groups are growing in popularity,” says Andersen.

“Our signature SaunaGus, for example, or our tailored Skodsborg Flow programme. This involves eight of Kurhotel Skodsborg’s best hot and cold experiences that – when practiced in sequence – have combined benefits that are even more powerful and effective.

“Cold and heat continue to be at the forefront of the leading and most popular spa experiences. De private spaoplevelser: the private spa experience, is here to stay.”

Man in suit stood next to swimming pool

"We’re working on a great new event concept based on evening meditations in the dark, surrounded by nature. The idea being that – in the darkness – other senses are heightened and you really start to notice all that surrounds you."

Henrik Andersen

Spa and fitness director, Kurhotel Skodsborg

Ottosen’s philosophies are as relevant today as 125 years ago

“Dr Ottosen opened the Skodsborg Badesanatorium on May 4, 1898.

“He believed that through the equal distribution of time between work and leisure, plus daily doses of light, air, water, exercise, sleep and a vegetarian diet, a healthy life is attainable.

“At the time, this approach was revolutionary; today these principles are widely considered as fundamental to a good healthy lifestyle.”

Indoor swimming pool and hot tub
Kurhotel Skodsborg's indoor swimming pool and hot tub

Thermal journeys are an integral part of modern spas

“Kurhotel Skodsborg offers 16 different cooling and warming experiences, which each have an important function for the body, promoting health from the inside out.

“We have the Sound (part of the Baltic Sea) a stone’s throw from our spa and encourage all guests to take a refreshing dip in the sea to juxtapose the extreme heat and push physical and mental limits.

“Experiences such as this are designed to strengthen the immune system, stimulate blood circulation and connective tissue, improve sleep and help achieve mental clarity: it has great results.”

Wild swimmers at sunrise
Bathers in the Sound at sunrise – all guests are encourages to swim in the sea

A new Sleep Retreat

“We will shortly be launching our new Sleep Retreat with a view to helping guests achieve a healthier sleep pattern.

“The retreat includes guided sleep mediations, walking mediations and podcasts covering the referral of thoughts and adjustment of the nervous system and senses.

“There will also be a specially-designed spa ritual, plus a bedtime delivery of sleep-inducing goodies including a weighted blanket and that all-important dip in the Sound!”

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