God bless the great Danes. Not content to build arguably the coolest city on the planet, Copenhagen, or simply sit back and reflect on how they have re-written not just the rules of Scandinavian cuisine but global food in general via New Nordic, now they are looking to start another revolution, this time within the context of lifestyle, and specifically homeliness and cosiness.
Much like Yorkshire, Hygge is a state of mind. Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, the idea is easier to explain through examples rather than specific definitions. In fact, half the population of Denmark itself seems unsure as to exactly what the idea constitutes without placing it in context, hence this short film made by the country’s tourist board, which looks to shed a little light on things.
Let’s consider the concept like this, then. Hauling up in a log cabin heated by a wood burning stove, putting on some thick socks, curling up by the fire and reading a book in the comfort of your partner’s arms. That’s hygge. Serving bowls of traditional grub on a chilly winter evening, just as your mum once did; that’s hygge. Placing the emphasis on utilising space in the most social way possible, and also the most intimate- that’s hygge.
Hygge is getting cosy with loved ones. Hygge is lighting candles and switching off The Big Light. Hygge is using fresh ingredients to cook hearty and wholesome food. Hygge is living well and living naturally. But how can we take hygge with us on the road, and use this philosophy to ensure wherever we stay, such creature comforts are never far away?
Relax, unwind, switch off, sleep well
One of the cornerstones of Danish hygge is generally de-stressing. This is achieved in a number of ways- one of which is spending time with friends where you can laugh, cry, talk, or do whatever else comes naturally.
When it comes to staying in a Hallmark Hotel, whilst you may be travelling alone- or with just one other person- there’s no reason you still can’t apply the same logic. First of all, digital detoxing is essential; try and avoid being glued to your phone, put the tablet down, and, if you really want to go the full hog, leave the TV on standby. Or better yet, off.
Not only will this make sure you are primed for sleep well before climbing into one of our comfortable beds, it also means that you will have chance to gather thoughts properly, reflect on your day- whether that’s appreciating the experience of a long weekend break or preparing for that meeting or business lunch tomorrow. Why not take advantage of our luxurious bathrooms, too, by filling the tub with warm water and bubbles, then spending some you time lying back and soaking up the tranquility, perhaps even with some music on our in-room hi-fi system to truly hit the hygge on the head.
Fill your belly with pure goodness
Hygge isn’t just about what you think and what you do, it’s also about how you re-fuel. As the video embedded above goes to show, when thinking about hygge eats, dishes such as porridge, pot roasts, winter stews, and even chilli con carne should all spring to mind. And that’s irrespective of the time of year.
More than simply being hearty, though, hygge cuisine should be healthy- made from fresh ingredients, and filled with everything your body needs to kick start the day, rejuvenate at the half way point, and round things off in the best possible way. Which is why Hallmark Hotels are so well placed to offer a slice of hygge right here in Britain- with our acclaimed restaurants free to fine tune their own menus based on local tastes, specialties, and ingredients, whilst always matching our impeccable standards in terms of freshness and quality of ingredients.
One of the luxuries of staying in a hotel is undoubtedly the ability to be waited on, hand and foot. Why not take this to the extreme end of the spectrum – or rather the most lackadaisical – by ordering yourself a breakfast in bed. There’s no finer way to start the day if you ask us, and we should know- we’ve been looking after guests for long enough.
Live life as it should be- good times, good company, good mood
Healthy mind, healthy body, as they say. Hygge adds a little extra to that mantra, though- wholesome mind, wholesome body. Or something else to that effect.
One of the most important aspects of hygge involves making sure you’re spending plenty of time with friends, family, and those you love. Obviously, this is easy if you’re travelling with nearest and dearest in tow, but less simple a task if staying in our hotels on business or alone. Nevertheless, it’s not impossible.
For starters, if you have treasured companions with you then all you really need to do is make sure the time you spend with them isn’t rushed. Allow a couple of hours for dinner, and, if possible, at least half that time for breakfast. Organise a walk where you’ll head out into nature, removing the distractions of modern life, allowing yourself to focus on one another.
If you don’t have the luxury of good company- or any company at all- then all is still not lost. Hygge can also be achieved when alone, and with much the same itinerary. Try not to rush things, aim to get out into nature, and concentrate on getting your head clear of the chaos that often comes with day to day life.
Bring along books to read- a proven way to unwind and de-stress. In the morning, pick up a copy of your favourite newspaper to encourage a longer, less rushed breakfast. And, perhaps most effective but also arguably the most difficult of all, make an effort to try something new every day, or as often as possible- ask your front desk for suggestions of activities available at the hotel itself, or in the surrounding area. They will be delighted to help you reach true hygge, and therefore also happiness.
A popular way of doing this is through Hallmark Hotels’ unarguably stunning spa and leisure offerings. Many of our properties offer full pampering with beauty treatments, therapy rooms, swimming pools, saunas and steam facilities- ideal if you really want to cleanse your soul. We’re also really proud of our fitness provision, with on-site gymnasiums and, in some cases, immaculate grounds to head out into for a run or HIIT training session, helping you perfect whole good health, good mindset thing…
What could be more hygge than that?