The Danish island of Fyn is where Hans Christian Andersen was born, so it’s no coincidence it looks like a fairytale. Rolling hills, fruit-laden orchards, sandy beaches and thatched roof farmhouses paint a soothing symphony of garden and sea.
At the island’s hideaway Falsled Kro hotel, guests are transported to a Nordic dream. Uncluttered rooms offer fireside lounges, private verandas with bay views and natural limestone bathrooms with oversized soaking tubs that beg for bubbles. It’s Scandinavian country living at its most authentic.
Hygge is the Danish concept for creating an environment of cozy, understated comfort with friends and family. It’s literally part of the culture to gather together and appreciate a mug of hot chocolate after a brisk walk and watching the snow fall while candles softly flicker.
There’s no need to venture to Denmark to experience this concept: These 10 effortlessly elegant hotels offer low-key luxury to counterbalance the high-tech stress of modern life.
Field Guide, Stowe, Vermont
Vermont’s sugar shacks and covered bridges are as comforting as a flannel shirt. Stowe, a New England mecca for downhill skiers, is one of the state’s prettiest towns. A dreamy panorama of church steeples and stately trees set against towering Mount Mansfield attract visitors in every season.
The Stowe Recreation Path is an all-season greenway that winds through the village, catnip for outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, the town grooms the path for cross-country skiing.
Field Guide is a boutique hotel a few minutes’ walk from the center of town. Rustic, woodsy elements and a color scheme rich with greens, gold and bright pops of orange, calls to mind leaf peeping, hiking and other fresh-air diversions.
After an active day, guests gather in the common areas to enjoy board games and browse the collection of vintage field guides. For those seeking additional comfort, relax by the crackling fire or soothe tired muscles in the hot tub.
Rooms are equipped with stylish kimono-style robes and beds are made with super-soft linens.
Breakfast (included in the room price) is just the thing to fortify before a day of outdoor adventure.
Field Guide, 433 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672; +1 802 253-8088
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, Sacred Valley, Peru
Peru’s Sacred Valley is the heart of the Inca world. Located between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is in the center of the valley, nestled between mist-covered mountains and fertile fields.
The hotel draws inspiration from the area’s cultural heritage, with Inca masks and Andean textiles taking center stage.
All rooms and stand-alone casitas immerse guests in open space with expansive views. Wrap up in a colorful hand-woven blanket and watch the sunset from the patio.
Heated towel racks, super-soft baby alpaca blankets and a bottle of high-proof pisco are warming additions. Many guest rooms have private fireplaces.
The garden grows crops such as quinoa, corn and potatoes, farmed the old-fashioned way, with hand tools and oxen. Guests are invited to pick their own produce.
For a deeper dive into indigenous Peruvian culture, Kuoda Travel is a locally owned tour company that specializes in individualized, immersive experiences beyond the confines of the hotel. Learn to weave with village residents, spend an afternoon at a rural school or dine at a local family’s home.
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, Km 63 of the Cusco-Urubamba-Pisac-Calca Highway, Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru; +51 1 6100400
The Loren at Pink Beach, Tucker’s Town Smiths, Bermuda
Bermuda’s legendary pink sand, reliable wind and quirky knee-length shorts make it a favorite with the international yachting set, giving the island a distinctly upscale feel.
Its British heritage can be seen when locals break for their traditional afternoon tea, complete with scones and clotted cream.
The Loren at Pink Beach is a new beachfront hotel, built into a hillside to maximize views of the rolling Atlantic Ocean.
Everything is designed with an eye towards comfort and sustainability. Guest rooms and common areas are bathed in light pouring in from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Natural wood accents, sea views and fresh bouquets set a calm tone.
Relaxing with a good book is easy; The hotel has over 3,000 vintage and new hardcover books displayed both in the library and on bedside tables in guest rooms.
The Loren at Pink Beach, 116 South Road, Tucker’s Town Smiths HS01, Bermuda; +1 441 293-1666
Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
With lobster boats floating by and the sound of the foghorn in the distance, Cape Elizabeth is the quintessential coastal Maine town.
Tourists stop here to see the venerable Portland Head Light, a working lighthouse first lit in 1791.
The Inn by the Sea’s 61 rooms have touches of warm wood and just enough splashes of nautical bric-a-brac to feel homey. A boardwalk leads through a wildlife sanctuary to windswept Crescent Beach, so the ocean’s salty breath is never far.
The inn’s foster dog roams the grounds cruising for a belly rub, pat on the head or a game of catch. (When the resident foster dog is adopted, the staff bring in a new dog to foster.) For those who find interactions of the canine sort soothing, it’s priceless.
Portland’s boast-worthy restaurant scene is just a few minutes away, offering a boatload of briny possibilities.
Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107; +1 207799-3134
La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe’s adobe-style architecture, cobalt blue sky and enchanting light are a visual treat.
La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa is located in the heart of this culturally rich city, easy walking distance from more than 200 art galleries and museums.
Rooms are adorned with contemporary southwestern artwork and decor; a select number have kiva fireplaces and private patios. Each spacious room is unique, with stylish furnishings and first-class amenities being the unifying factor.
Guests can enjoy the heated outdoor saline pool, tempting menu of spa services and cozy bar with its signature apricot-infused margarita.
The hotel has its own art curator on staff to oversee its extensive collection. Georgia O’Keefe and other renowned artists have exhibited their work on the hotel’s walls. All art displayed in the public areas is for sale.
La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa, 330 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501; +1 505 986-0000
Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Terranea is a rambling resort perched on 102 acres with coastal bluffs, hiking trials and views of Catalina Island.
An unhurried pace prevails, with plenty of time to watch the fishing boats, stroll to the lighthouse or to paddle a kayak.
The scores of indoor and outdoor fireplaces are so lovely they can almost make one wish away the often-perfect Southern California weather.
Guest rooms capture the essence of barefoot elegance, decorated in an uncluttered style with a neutral color palette in harmony with the Pacific Ocean surroundings.
Though there are 582 rooms, villas, bungalows and private casitas, Terranea manages to feel intimate. Given its proximity to both Disneyland and downtown Los Angeles, all this serenity is worth experiencing.
Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275; 866-547-3066 or +1 310 494-7891
Magnolia Hotel & Spa, Victoria, Canada
For a dash of hygge in the city, consider mellow and manageable Victoria, British Columbia. Gardens, lush with flowers that thrive in the showery Pacific climate, punctuate the city.
The British immigrants who settled here starting in the 19th-century brought their teatime rituals with them, establishing teashops that continue to thrive. After engaging in the outdoorsy activities at the city’s doorstep, warm up with a toasty cup.
The Magnolia Hotel is a boutique property in the heart of town. Rooms offer a wrap-around embrace with deep soaking tubs, fresh flowers, fluffy bathrobes and handmade chocolates on the plump pillows.
The public spaces are equally inviting, with hot beverages and fresh pastries served each morning.
The Magnolia provides complimentary bikes to explore Victoria on two-wheels. The staff has created a handy map that guests may follow for a self-guided tour of the city’s tea trail by bike or on foot.
Magnolia Hotel & Spa, 623 Courtney Street, Victoria, B.C. V8W 1B8, Canada; +1 877-624-6654
Falsled Kro, Millinge, Denmark
Falsled Kro is a Relais & Châteaux property that seduces with its non-ostentatious brand of elegance. Time spent at this island hotel is a respite from the hectic pace of 21st-century living.
The attentive staff caters to guests’ whims but is never obtrusive. The abundance of secluded courtyards and snug nooks display a Scandinavian respect for privacy.
Rooms feature beds that swaddle in soft linens and cuddly blankets. Ask for a room with a private fireplace for an added touch of warmth.
Dining is a gourmet proposition. Savor every inventive bite and bask in the impeccable service. The menu is heavy on delectable seafood offerings, with freshness taking center stage.
Falsled Kro, Assensvej 513, 5642 Millinge, Denmark; +45 62 68 11 11
Winvian Farm, Morris, Connecticut
Winvian sits on 113 acres of leafy woods and tranquil meadows in the Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut. An overnight stay is a luxurious immersion in nature about two hours from New York City and Boston.
Guests sleep in one of 18 cottages or the Hadley Suite, a historic hideaway occupying the top floor of a 1775 building.
Each sanctuary-like cottage offers a unique design. Amenities include heated floors, wood-burning fireplaces, steam showers and Jacuzzis.
Meals are served in the fire-lit dining rooms, where imaginative menus are created using ingredients from the resort’s organic farm.
Winvian Farm, 155 Alain White Road, Morris, CT 06763; +1 860 567-9600
Palé Hall, Dee Valley, North Wales
Palé Hall is a traditional country house hotel lifted straight out of a BBC drama. It’s a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, so while the look is aristocratic, the vibe is neither stiff nor stuffy.
The 18 guest rooms are loaded with creature comforts while the common areas urge relaxation with a good book in front of the fire, perhaps with the owner’s pup obediently at your feet.
The Dee Valley’s miles of trails and the hotel’s woodland gardens suggest fine hiking possibilities.
Meals at Palé Hall are a grand event. The chef freely interprets classic recipes, never forgetting that the glory of each dish lies in its seasonality and simplicity.
Palé Hall, Palé Estate, Llandderfel, Bala LL23 7PS, UK; 1-877-234-7033 or +44 1678 530285
Allison Tibaldi is a New York City-based travel and food writer who has written for USA TODAY-Go Escape, Time Out New York, am New York, off Metro and other travel publications. Her work can be found at http://allisontibaldi.com.