“As soon as you check in at the Vipp Hotel, it’s fully booked.” Such is the clever slogan, as it were, of an innovative new European hotel — or should that be hotels, plural? There’s a reason the semantics here can be murky; in a move that’s perhaps made it one of the most exclusive bookings in the world, this hotel boasts just two rooms — and they’re located in different countries. The Vipp Shelter is a rural retreat at Lake Immeln in Sweden, and the Vipp Loft offers a more urban vibe with a location ten minutes from the city centre of Copenhagen. While providing very different experiences based on their regional surroundings, these hotels certainly have one thing in common: privacy.
If the name Vipp sounds familiar, there’s a reason; Vipp is the third-generation company responsible for such household staples as the pedal-operated bin, an item so iconic that today an early bin design exists in the permanent design and architecture collection of the MoMA. And while this new foray into the hospitality industry might seem like a left-field move for the company, it makes sense that this detail-oriented, function-focused brand is approaching the hotel business in a pared-down, innovative way.
In 2014, the company concocted an idea for a five-star camping retreat that made the most of nature, containing only the necessities — a move that reflects the company’s belief that less is better, and that trends should be set aside for quality and lasting power. The vision for the hotel was also in keeping with Vipp’s philosophy of “design in places out of the ordinary.” The result is a hotel wherein each room serves as a curated destination.
It’s perhaps an amusing coincidence that the company is named Vipp. Jette Egelund, the daughter of founder Holger Nielsen, believes that her father chose the name as a play on the Danish word ‘vippe’, which means ‘to tilt.’ But today, when it comes to the Vipp hotel, it’s a true VIP experience.
The Vipp Shelter is nestled beside a tranquil lake in the Swedish forest, and serves as “a livable design object dropped down in nature.” At fifty-five square metres, the Shelter is considerably smaller than its urban counterpart, but this is a retreat with a focus on enjoying the outdoors. Its loft offers a glass ceiling so that guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of the night sky or the sun-soaked forest canopy. “We craved birdsong and open skies,” says Morten Bo Jensen, Chief Designer on the project. “To get out of the city with all the necessities and nothing more. The shelter is the result of that dream. A pod of tranquility designed as a large-scale Vipp product.”
The Shelter offers a digital detox; here the standard hotel television set is traded for large windows that Vipp totes as a ‘widescreen to nature’. The Shelter is designed for slow living; a fully equipped kitchen allows guests to prepare meals together, which can be then enjoyed beside a roaring fireplace. Dark interiors allow the colours of nature to take centre stage, and following a hearty hike or swim in Lake Immeln, guests can enjoy a long and luxurious shower with lavish Aesop products.
The Loft, on the other hand, offers a different kind of oasis. Located at the top of an old 1910 printing factory in Copenhagen’s Islands Brygge area (which also houses the Vipp office), its neighbours are cute bakeries and the Copenhagen harbour. This destination is much larger than the Shelter, offering four hundred square metres of living space. Conceptualized by Studio David Thulstrup, the space is an expansive, airy retreat designed for holistic living. “There’s only one room at our hotel in Copenhagen,” says Kasper Egelund, CEO and third generation owner of Vipp. “But it’s probably the biggest in town.”
At the Loft, guests can easily entertain large parties; like the Shelter, there is no standard hotel room service, but the kitchen is fully equipped. It’s easy to enjoy meals here around a long, mid-century-style harvest table. And should additional guests wish to stay, or if you’re travelling with family or friends, the Loft can accommodate four people in its luxe master bedroom and ensuite or a cozy bedroom on the top floor mezzanine.
The true allure of the Loft is that it’s built for relaxation; a soft couch, daybed, comfortable chairs, and a library on the mezzanine provide ample room for lounging after a day spent exploring the city. A deep bathtub allows guests to unwind before warming up in front of the cozy fireplace, enjoying skylight views of the Scandinavian skies.
Thanks to the modular nature of the Vipp Hotel concept, there’s endless room for expansion. In fact, later this year a third room will open near the harbour of Northern Copenhagen, in a chimney house that once functioned as a water pumping station. Vipp is busy transforming this heritage structure with the help of David Thulstrup and Aarstiderne Arkitekter, carefully preserving its iconic brickwork pattern. The interiors remain a mystery, but judging from the other rooms of this equally contained and expansive hotel, the Vipp Chimney House will be another exclusive European destination on the radar of the savvy traveller.