The vibe: Villa rental meets five-star hotel
Location: Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 26, Copenhagen, Denmark | View on Google Maps
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The AFAR take
In late 2022, after a decade under renovation, the nearly 11,000-square-foot former Canadian Embassy in Copenhagen was reborn as Villa Canada, a seven-bedroom private villa with hotel-like amenities including 24/7 service, breakfast cooked to order daily, and complimentary mini bars on each floor.
Original features of the stately 1918 mansion designed by Danish architect Albert Oppenheim remain intact, including the hand-painted wallpaper and a carved wooden staircase. New elements include an annex with a casual dining room and an open kitchen in the place of a former car park. Also new is the sumptuous and colorful style—no Scandinavian minimalism here. Guest rooms are decorated in rich shades of burgundy and royal blue, while gleaming English brass bathtubs in the bathrooms shine against floor-to-ceiling marble. A peacock green ostrich feather floor lamp in the sitting room pops next to navy brocade drapes.
The villa is brimming with details for Danish design aficionados. Just head to the office on the second floor, with its Finn Juhl designed desk that once belonged to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, the second-generation owner of LEGO. (The current owner of Villa Canada is Anders Kirk Johansen, his grandson.)
Additional amenities that make the villa feel like a (very luxurious) home away from home include a playroom for kids stocked with LEGO sets, a small gym with a sauna, and a private spa room, if guests choose to organize massages on site.
Who’s it for?
Groups of up to 14 people traveling together—including multi-generational families or friends celebrating milestone birthdays—can spread out in this massive four-story space during their time in Copenhagen. While guests get the privacy that most vacation rentals offer, Villa Canada’s 24-hour staff provides the type of personalized attention that typically only comes with five-star hotels, along with daily housekeeping and turndown service.
Located on the eastern edge of Copenhagen directly north of the city center, the upscale residential neighborhood of Østerbro is home to Fælledparken, Denmark’s largest public park, and many of Denmark’s foreign embassies. In fact, Villa Canada’s next-door neighbor is the U.S. Embassy on a wide tree-lined avenue in the southeastern corner of the neighborhood.
Østerbro has few hotels, so Villa Canada offers travelers a rare opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the neighborhood and dine nearby at the world’s best restaurant, Geranium, shop Danish designs at Stine Goya or Ganni, or pop into Juno Bakery for its famous cardamom buns—all a short walk or bike ride away (just ask to borrow one of the Villa Canada bikes).
Østerbro has few hotels, so Villa Canada offers travelers a rare opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the neighborhood.
Villa Canada can accommodate up to 14 guests in its 7 bedrooms—all with private bathrooms. The largest suites are located on the second floor and come with slightly different layouts. The one-bedroom suite has a separate living room and a private terrace with a hot tub. Keen eyes will notice original but now defunct details like built-in filing cabinets and high-level security locks on the doors from the room’s former life as the ambassador’s office. The deluxe junior suite down the hall doesn’t have a separate sitting room but has a massive walk-in closet. On the top floor, there are five deluxe double rooms. En suite marble bathrooms are outfitted with Aesop products and freestanding brass bathtubs. There are TVs in each room and Wi-Fi is available throughout the mansion.
Decor-wise, fanciful wallpaper and statement chandeliers that look a bit like fabric-wrapped sea anemones do most of the heavy lifting. Framed black-and-white photographs depicting the owner’s country estate hang in rooms throughout the mansion.
In lieu of mini bars in the rooms, guests will find snack bars in the hallways with still and sparkling water, soft drinks, coffee, tea, as well as sweets and salty snacks. During my stay, it was stocked with Haribo gummies, Danish marzipan candy bars, and several types of savory chips. Guests can request specific snacks.
The food and drink
In addition to a daily allotment of house wine, beer, and spirits, a full daily breakfast cooked to order is included in the nightly rate. Breakfast and smaller meals are served in the Orangerie, an open concept kitchen and casual dining room converted from a former car park. In the warmer months, guests can dine outdoors on the spacious terrace. The formal dining room, with a table that accommodates 18, is located in an adjacent room. Here, staff can arrange private dining experiences with some of Copenhagen’s world-famous restaurants and their chefs.
During my stay, chef Nick Curtin from Alouette, which earned a Michelin star within a year of opening, cooked my group a 10-course meal. Matt Orlando of Amass, a restaurant known for its zero-waste approach that closed in 2022, is even available to come and cook. (A rare offering: He’s only been doing occasional pop-up dinners through Endless Food Co., his startup devoted to overlooked food resources.) Other restaurants on Villa Canada’s short list include Geranium, Jordnær, and Kong Hans—all of which have two or three Michelin stars.
You’ll also find the home’s private nightclub (yes, really) in the basement just past the wine cellar. Complete with a bar, green leather banquettes, and Bang & Olufsen sound system, the space has its own separate entrance if guests choose to invite people to a party who aren’t staying in the main house. Villa Canada can also arrange for bartenders from the city’s most popular bars. One evening during my stay, Geoffrey Canilao from beloved local cocktail bar Balderdash mixed up his own spin on the appletini for us.
Staff and service
Upon arrival, I was greeted warmly by staff in the main entry hall at the reception desk set in front of a fireplace at the bottom of a grand winding staircase. A Residence Host is available at this desk 24 hours—like a hotel—for any needs that may arise but is generally a discreet presence so that the villa does feel like a private home.
During the day, the staff presence is more obvious. For example, as soon as my slippers hit the ground floor in the morning, a staff member was there to ask for my coffee order before I even got to the dining room. Daily housekeeping services and turndown service are included in each stay (linens and towels are changed every second day, to keep things more sustainable).
A small elevator is located on the ground floor and can take guests between all four floors of the home. Steps are required to get up to the main entryway, but it’s possible to enter the building through the nightclub on the lower level and take the elevator from there up to the rest of the house.
For a true countryside villa experience, the owner of Villa Canada rents his family’s Rohden Gods estate in Jutland, where guests can go on hikes on the expansive grounds, take skeet shooting lessons, or hunt for pheasants. Automobile aficionados will want to pop by My Garage, Johansen’s high-end car storage facility that feels more like a living museum open for the public to tour than, well, a garage.