The train journey from Hamburg to Aarhus, in Denmark, is long. The scenery does not change much and neither does the weather: when I arrive, it is still raining. This is why instead of walking, I am happy to hop on a taxi, and whizz myself to Villa Provence.
After the ten-minute taxi ride (the driver got lost somewhere near the city’s main church), I pull my bag behind me through an old gateway into Villa Provence’s courtyard.
A familiar shiver of joy goes through me instantly: once more, what a perfect hotel find!
The hotel is, indeed, perfect, and not just in my own opinion: Villa Provence is Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ choice 2016, the number 1 hotel in Denmark. And here I use the word ‘hotel’ reluctantly, as for me Villa Provence seems more like an idyllic oasis.
Villa Provence’s courtyard is surrounded by the hotel’s bluish and purple buildings. I see a beautiful little fountain, and cast iron chairs waiting for the spring warmth to arrive. In this cold rain, I also can only dream of the spring, of a time when I could enjoy a cold glass of white wine in one of the loveliest gardens I have ever seen. Looking around regretfully I make a promise to myself: I must return!
I notice a sign for the reception next to one of the doors opening to the courtyard, and I step in. I leave my bag downstairs and climb the wooden stairs up to the reception. Next to the reception, there is a charming lounge area with magnificent sofas with floral patterns. Huge vintage posters adorn the walls and French chansons linger in the air.
In the reception, I am given the key for my room and also some information about Villa Provence’s breakfast and Aarhus in general. I do not know which I am anticipating more: seeing Aarhus, which was chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2017, or, the breakfast, which I have seen featuring frequently in social media. So I decide to make an effort to enjoy both: I wander around the streets of Aarhus for the rest of the day, making my stomach ready for the mighty breakfast next morning!
My double room is cosy and homey, and following Villa Provence’s style, it is furnished in the Provencal country style. The bed is soft and in my nook I get a peaceful night’s sleep. The bathroom with its light coloured tiles and soap products gives a hint of luxury.
Because I arrived at Aarhus on a Sunday afternoon, finding a place to eat might have turned out to be a bit problematic unless I had read (again, from TripAdvisor) about Street Food; Aarhus’s answer to us all street-food-loving travellers. It turns out that Street Food is located only five minutes walk away from Villa Provence. Perfect!
Also Street Food turned out to be a little haven of comfort in the windy and rainy harbour city: I had fruit juice, pizza, chocolates and coffee. Yet, the next morning, I was ready to start again with the much anticipated Villa Provence breakfast.
First, we were served hot coffee and a basketful of breads, then a plate of meats, cheeses, fruits and natural yoghurt with honey. After this, a dish of bacon and eggs followed. There was also yoghurt with accompaniments on the side desk, but the breakfast in front of me was more than enough already, so sadly, I had to skip the yoghurts – this time! After the cosy breakfast moment, I can conclude, that Villa Provence’s breakfast really lives up to all the ‘hygge’ hype we’ve been reading in the newspapers lately.
After the breakfast, I meet Annette and Steen Stenstrup, who tell me that Villa Provence is the couple’s second hotel. First, there was a bigger one which was sold. With the profits, the couple fulfilled their dream of a smaller and more original hotel. Villa Provence was born.
Luckily for us travellers, there are still people ready to make their individualistic dreams come true in the hectic hotel business. Annette was in charge of the interior design, and even as the atmosphere is very rustic and romantic, I also see business men and women among the clientele.
I will always remember Villa Provence as a calm and cosy oasis in the European hotel world: a warm spirited idyll in rainy Denmark.
Next day, I head to Copenhagen with only one thought in my head: I have to return.
P.S. I wish to thank Villa Provence for the stay and the impeccable hospitality! This post continues my series on “stylish stays” in Europe. The collaboration does not affect the content of my writing, as I collaborate only with hotels I can warm-heartedly recommend to my readers.