Hot nights on the Nyhavn – A review of the 71 Nyhavn Hotel

Finding a hotel in Copenhagen was a challenge that I was not particularly excited by. The rooms were generally a bit more expensive than not and that was exacerbated by the fact that the US dollar still carries a rather poor exchange rate with most of western Europe. Still, when I stumbled across the Hotel 71 Nyhavn I was quite enamored with it. The hotel is situated right at the end of the the “new canal” that was built in the 1670s and is housed in two converted warehouses. The reviews online were somewhat mixed – typical complaints of small, hot rooms that one generally finds when reading reviews of European hotels from Americans not used to that style. Plus, the weather forecast that I had seen for Copenhagen had high temperatures in the 70s so the warmth wouldn’t be a problem. The rate was within our budget (for a basic room without breakfast included) so I booked away and hoped for the best.

The view of the canal from the back patio of the 71 Nyhavn Hotel (along with some supplies picked up from the Magasin du Nord around the corner)

The location was truly wonderful. It is a quick 5 minute walk over to the Magasin du Nord department store (one of the largest in Scandinavia) and the associated metro and bus stations that can easily get you to anywhere in town rather quickly. The proximity to Magasin also gave us easy access to alternate dining options that saved us quite a bit of cash on breakfasts and one dinner. In the other direction we found ourselves right on the canal, with easy access to the ferries that ran up and down the main canal.

We even managed to score an upgrade to a Junior Suite, either thanks to dumb luck or that I noted we were celebrating our anniversary in the comments field of the reservation. The room was located up on the 5th floor and looked out onto a side street and the Nyhavn. As a converted warehouse and in keeping with the Scandinavian design aesthetic the rooms were somewhat sparse, with exposed wood beams. Being near the top of the hotel we even had the pleasure of a slight angle in the ceiling of our room near the couch. I was quite impressed with the room and the hotel and convinced that all the negative reviews were just plain wrong. And then night set in.

Unfortunately, because of the design of the hotel, there is very little air flow in the rooms. There is no central ventilation so the only real option is the window. And thanks to the very well sealed entry door there is no reasonable means to create a draft in the room to get the air circulating. Combining this with a bit of a heat wave that saw high temperatures spike into the upper 80s and our window facing westerly into the sun at its hottest time of day and our room became a bit of a sauna in a hurry. We had kept the window open but closed the blackout curtains and those seemed to also block the air flow while letting the noise from the Nyhavn drift up and into the room. Not good. I actually crawled over to the window and slept on the floor for a couple hours because it was a touch cooler there but not really enough to quell the sweating and general lack of comfort in the room.

The view of the Nyhavn canal from our room on the 5th floor

We got a small fan from the front desk and left the blackout curtains open the following two nights, opting to use our own eye masks and earplugs instead. That definitely got around the heat and noise issues and I was able to sleep in the bed and actually enjoy the room quite a bit. But that first night was rather brutal.

Otherwise the hotel was really quite wonderful. The style and decor were right up my alley in the “boutique” genre and the location was absolutely top notch unless you are doing business near Tivoli Gardens and really want to be right there. But even if that is the case it is only about a 20 minute walk to the gardens and I think that the Nyhavn neighborhood is much more pleasant to spend any reasonable amount of time in. As long as you’re able to secure a fan from the front desk or Copenhagen isn’t in the middle of a heat wave the Hotel Nyhavn 71 is definitely worth considering as a base for exploring the city.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.