Nyborg, Denmark: Now and then
Some vacations are designed to relax, others to exhilarate or educate. Hotel Hesellet on Denmark's island of Funen allows you to time travel.
But not too far. Its time and place is, say, 1950 in its lack of traveling hordes, in its casual elegance, in its—to use an unfashionable term—sweetness. Having been sold a few years back, the new owners have seen to it that the Hesellet's creature comforts are firmly in this century, with upgrades in the accommodations, in the food, and in the service. But its vibe remains rooted in another decade.
Its look, something between De Stijl and mid-Century modern, with Japanese touches, has worn well. The location, on the edge of a beech forest, facing the Storebælt strait that splits Denmark, allows for plenty of options: fishing, golf, walks in the forest, biking. The hotel's newly refurbished spa area has massage, a Jacuzzi, and swimming pool.
Some rooms face the woods—no crime, but not as pleasant as the Storebælt view of the new (1998), impressive suspension bridge.
Even with this new connection, when you unpack your bags here, time seems to move at the ever-so-slightly gentler pace of an earlier era. The return to 2011 can be jarring.