What a great night’s sleep! After breakfast we explore the marina and beach area of Aarhus before departing! We take one final coffee in the hotel lounge before bidding farewell to the extremely friendly and helpful reception staff! We have received so much information from both them and the local Tourist Office about this city we could really do with staying longer! “Perhaps if you hadn’t spent so much time shopping …” suggests my husband.
For our final destination we travel south to the town of Vejle. With a population of just 52,000 people it is Denmark’s ninth largest city.
Our final evening is to be spent at Hotel Vejlefjord which is situated about twenty minutes’ drive from Vejle. The location of this hotel is truly stunning. On the banks of the Vejle fjord and in a 43 hectare forest the hotel is often referred to as “the castle in the forest” and has to be one of the most spectacular hotel settings ever. The hotel is a former tuberculosis sanatorium established by a young doctor Christian Saugman, after he contracted TB and had to be treated in Germany due to there being no facilities in Denmark. Encouraged by the doctor who treated him, Saugman looked for a suitable property; remote and with clean air away from cities and roads. The sanatorium opened to patients in 1900.
There is an abundance of fresh, clean air here. The open air shelters and terracing are still in use. The walks designed by Dr Saugman are still in evidence around the grounds and mapped out for guests. The restaurant has a focus on healthy eating and local ingredients and the hotel is now home to one of the largest and luxurious spas in Scandinavia, offering well-being treatments and thermal baths.
In 1985 new buildings were added to form a rehabilitation centre for patients with brain injuries. Patients now come to rest and recover in the most amazing of tranquil surroundings and indulge in a range of nurturing experiences. The hotel is based in the original sanatorium; the beautiful old main building, while the adjoining or nearby buildings host patient apartments, conference facilities and the spa.
Unfortunately our brief stay did not allow time for the spa, but we walked the “healing paths”, went to the beach and jetty, sat on the terrace with a cool drink in the evening sunshine and ate a fantastic meal in the restaurant. The hotel literature told us “the kitchen is inspired by the ingredients of the season and the principles of health, honesty and love”. I don’t know about that but it tasted very good and was served superbly!
We stayed in a Junior Suite overlooking the magnificent gardens with the fjord beyond. Sitting on our balcony the silence, the sunlight, the smell of the trees and the view of the shimmering distant water combined to make me feel renewed, uplifted and rested. You can imagine the impact the surroundings would have had on patients. Though the physical environment has changed in recent years the principles of life here so long ago have hardly changed at all with the continued emphasis on pampering, nature and healthy food being the key to recovery of body and mind!
Hotel Vejlefjord is a remarkable hotel.
After a rejuvenating sleep we depart Hotel Vejlefjord and head for the town. The local tourist office has kindly provided us with a city walk taking in the main sights including the Vejle Museum. The museum houses an interesting exhibition of the development of industry in the area during the early 1900s, including an exhibition called Denmark’s Manchester! Being from the Manchester area we were particularly keen to see the exhibition which focussed on the rise of the cotton industry in Vejle. Other exhibitions featured the growth of the entertainment industry, the Scandinavian bog stories and a fascinating look at what life was like in the area during the Iron Age.
A few minutes’ drive from the town takes the visitor to one of Denmark’s most historic sites Royal Jelling. Created in the 10th century by the Vikings King Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth, the site contains important runic stones, burial mounds and a church. The area was recognised as a World Heritage site in 1994.
Back into the town the city walk takes us along a pretty shopping area which requires a further look from me! In one of the clothing shops Louise the chatty assistant asks us where we are from and delights in the fact we are from England. She tells us her parents visit England regularly for short breaks so it is nice to see English visitors doing the same in Denmark. Louise helps me to add to my collection of winter outfits, but all too soon it is time to return to Esbjerg for the overnight crossing back to England.
We have enjoyed our time exploring the Marguerite route. It has been a relaxing few days due to the ease of travel from England, excellent driving experience in Denmark and the laid back and friendly hospitality we have encountered.
Our three hotels were spotless, comfortable and very different! Small Danish Hotels describe themselves as “small selected inns, hotels, castles and manors, which are full of charm intimacy and warmth". What they have in common is the attention to personal service and being good hosts.
Following our experience of Norre Vissing Kro, City Hotel Oasia and Hotel Vejlefjord we certainly subscribe to that view! Small Danish Hotels are located all across Denmark with over 5000 rooms in total!
There is a lot we didn’t get chance to see over the three days, but as a first timer to this country of fascinating history and culture our introduction to picturesque Denmark has been just perfect!