10 Places to Experience Hygge Outside of Denmark

According to the Visit Denmark website, hygge (which is actually pronounced “hooga”) translates to “coziness.” Because the Danish are considered the happiest people in the world, hygge has become a global trend, inspiring other places to try to capture that elusive feeling Meik Wiking describes in The Little Book of Hygge as “cocoa by candlelight.” Here are ten spots that succeed.

Door County | Wisconsin

Camping at Newport State Park — Photo courtesy of Door County Visitor Bureau

Bordered by 300 miles of shoreline, this gorgeous area is often referred to as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. With homey clapboard cottages lining the waterfront, goats grazing on the roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and the scent of homemade pies bursting with locally-grown Montmorency cherries wafting through the air, Door County is the epitome of hygge.

Surround yourself with nature, books and fellow curious minds at The Clearing Folk School, treat yourself to a home-brewed draft root beer or a double scoop of ice cream at the iconic Wilson’s, then settle in at the Eagle Harbor Inn, a charming bed and breakfast that raises the standard of both.

Whiteface Lodge | New York

Presidential Suite at Whiteface Lodge — Photo courtesy of Whiteface Lodge

A modern take on the Adirondack Great Camp, this luxurious all-suite resort tucked away in the snowy peaks of Lake Placid, N.Y. is everything a mountain retreat should be: warm, elegantly rustic and filled with inviting spots to sit with your bae, your buds or a book.

Fireplaces abound in-suite, outside and in the aptly-named Great Room. Handcrafted furnishings made from hand-milled timber keep you in touch with the natural beauty of the area. And, speaking of touch, be sure to indulge in the apple cider masque and massage. Fresh cookies at turndown, nightly s’mores and silky cognac ensure sweet dreams.

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn | Arkansas

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn — Photo courtesy of Lookout Point Lakeside Inn

Staying here is like getting an invitation to stay at your friend’s amazing lake house in Hot Springs, Ark. You just look around, grinning and feeling like the luckiest person, as you try out every cushy chair and jump onto the pillow-laden bed.

The property is gorgeous, and you can walk around the shore or plop yourself in the swing or a hammock. Common areas are filled with books and board games and, best of all, complimentary snacks and drinks are at your disposal 24/7. You’ll never want to leave.

The Osthoff Resort | Wisconsin

The Elk Room at The Osthoff Resort — Photo courtesy of The Osthoff Resort

Don’t fret that you don’t have your own cabin on Elkhart Lake; this historic resort is happy to be “your place at the lake.” Celebrate the holidays with the sights and smells of its annual Christmas Market, get away for a long summer weekend or simply linger over a fresh-from-the-garden meal at Lola’s on the Lake, named after Osthoff’s hostess with the mostest. 

Whenever you visit, you’ll be drawn into the magnificent Elk Room to grab a coffee, watch the sun set over the lake with a signature cocktail or sink into a sofa with the newspaper. With the relaxing ambiance of a traditional lodge, you’ll feel right at home.

Avoca | Ireland

Handwoven blankets at Avoca — Photo courtesy of Grania Murray, The Irish Collection

Sure, you can buy Avoca wares online but it’s worth a trip to Ireland to spend a day in their stores so you can wrap yourself in all the rich, delicious textures. The Irish version of Anthropologie, this family-run business is best known for its sumptuous blankets and throws, which are handwoven in all-natural fibers including cashmere, mohair and lambswool.

Bring an empty suitcase to also stock up on cardigans, scarves and socks. Although “Avoca” supposedly means “Meeting of the Waters” – a point in Wicklow where the company operates the oldest working mill in Ireland – I’m convinced it’s really Irish for “hygge.”

Hermosa Inn | Arizona

LON’s Last Drop, The Hermosa Inn — Photo courtesy of The Hermosa Inn

If you don’t think of the desert, with its landscape of prickly cacti, as very hygge, you haven’t yet discovered this secluded boutique luxury hideaway appropriately nestled in Arizona’s Paradise Valley. Built by Lon Megargee, the “dean of cowboy artists,” more than a century ago, this is the place for a great escape.

Each casita is individually decorated in a warm, Southwestern style, with nature providing its own calming backdrop. The only reason you’ll ever want to leave your room is for the namesake drink at LON’s Last Drop Bar or the Himalayan Salt Seared Ahi Tuna at LON’s Restaurant. 

Mamsen’s | Viking Star Cruise

Heart-shaped waffles at Mamsen’s — Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises

This tiny food station in the Explorer’s Lounge on Viking Ocean Cruises has an almost cult-like following because of its Norwegian comfort food and the family story behind it. “Mamsen” is an affectionate term for mother, and these recipes have all been handed down from Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen’s mom herself.

You can taste the love in the made-to-order heart-shaped waffles. A delight for the senses, they’re generously topped with a colorful variety of berries, sour cream and cheese, and are presented on the prettiest plates. Savor each bite along with the breathtaking views. And, yes, Viking even sails to the home of hygge itself.

Fairmont Hotels | Vancouver

Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Pacific Rim — Photo courtesy of Fairmont Pacific Rim

If you’re secretly thinking of moving to Canada, these two luxury hotels in Vancouver just may clinch the deal. Fairmont Pacific Rim is an art lover’s paradise, surrounded by panoramic views which you can take in from your own meditation pod at the award-winning Willow Stream spa. After a Serenity Ritual, prop up the pillows and cocoon yourself to read, watch the ships in the harbor or fall asleep to the soothing sound of fountains.

Canine ambassadors welcome you to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, known as the “Castle in the City.” Paying homage to the Canadian Pacific railway, its Notch8 features cozy booths inspired by the dining cars on a train. With heavy velvet drapes, soft lighting and dishes that will fill both your belly and soul, the restaurant lives up to its name, providing a top notch dining experience.

Sofitel | New York

Lobby of the Sofitel New York — Photo courtesy of Sofitel New York

If there’s any city desperately in need of hygge, it’s New York. After a day of being overstimulated, there’s nothing like retreating to this oasis in midtown. Whether you plant yourself on one of the sofas by the fireplace in the lobby or head up to your bed – where the thread count is as high as the buildings – you’ll feel the tension start to slip away.

Treat your taste buds to a meal at Gaby, the hotel’s Art Deco-inspired restaurant. Start the day with a basket of flaky croissants or end it with steak frites, all presented with a lilting French accent.

Home sweet home

Subscription box from Hygge by Post — Photo courtesy of Hygge by Post

There’s no place like home, especially if you get Hygge by Post delivered to your door every month. Each themed subscription box is carefully curated to provide the hyggiest experience, and it’s a joy to open.

You may find a candle, a mug, a book, a piece of art, sweets, something from nature ,or all of the above, each wrapped in its own beautiful paper or fabric. There are little surprises, including handwritten notes, in every nook and cranny. You’ll feel like your BFF sent you a care package, taking the time to pick out the things they knew would make you happy. 

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