Openings: Zoku Copenhagen is Reinventing the Boutique Hotel Concept

With the hospitality gargantuans (Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton) seemingly rebranding everything with a check-in desk, we’re always encouraged by small, independent new boutique brands not just popping up but also thriving. In the States, Arlo Hotels and NoMad Hotels come to mind – the latter just having expanded to London – as well as the Kelly Wearstler led Proper Hotels. And in Europe, the 25Hours group continues its ascent, as does the Amsterdam based Sir Hotels.

The Dutch capital was also the site of another auspicious debut during the last decade, the new concept hotel under the banner Zoku, which first opened its doors onto the Weesperstraat in 2015 to some low key buzz – and has at last been followed by the new Zoku Copenhagen. The name comes from a traditional Japanese word, loosely referring to the lasting bonds of family and upholding a set of virtuous values – which is a lofty proposition for a hospitality brand, certainly, but surely a noble ideological undertaking all the same.

The philosophy behind Zoku has to do with the embracing of the new work/live reality that has taken hold of our 21st Century existence, accepting that the lines between the two are now permanently blurred. It’s an odd position to take for a European brand, considering the good citizens of the EU are incessantly admonishing Americans for their notoriously lopsided life balance.

Still, it does seem to be the way the world is going – and the amenities and philosophy here are very much geared to just that. To wit, the rooms are designed as mini apartments, with innovative loft-like beds allowing space for reasonable size couches and kitchen tables. The overall aesthetic is of the playfully mod Scandi-Dutch variety, with soothing light woods, lots of youthfully bright colors, and in the public spaces wildly patterned rugs and zeitgeisty bric-a-brac.

But the hotel really aims to and actually hits all the right zeitgeist notes. Of course, that means plenty of co-working spaces, so one can knock out all those important reports and proposals, whilst undertaking some subtle flirting with that cute fellow guest also tapping away at their laptop, but occasionally glancing up for a spot of people watching. The requisite eco-cred is achieved by way of a lush rooftop greenhouse and garden, with meditative views of the city and the Øresund strait. And when those Slack messages get to be all too much, there are plenty of opportunities for switching off and socializing, including the all-day Kindred Spirits bar and café, the communally-vibed Living Kitchen restaurant, and the residential style Living Room lounge with comfy sofas and fireplaces.

The hotel is actually located on Amager Island, popular with nature lovers, and just a few quick metro stops to the center of Copenhagen.

Considering Europe has been opening back up to Americans as they vaccination programs do their work, it should be noted that for those with post-pandemic European tour plans, another Zoku has just opened in Vienna, which pairs perfectly with Copenhagen – in a kind of opposites way – for a two city jaunt on the Continent. Both belong to Tablet Hotels, the well-curated collection of worldwide boutique properties, offering unique benefits to members.

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