Thanks to the Danes and their compellingly cozy ideas about wintertime, the hygge concept (pronounced hoo-guh) has taken off globally. The Scandinavian season marked by lots of bright white snow and very few daylight hours would probably be unbearable without this approach that is all about “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
But one doesn’t have to be in Denmark—notoriously named one of the world’s happiest countries over and over—to create a feeling of hygge. It can be approximated with, in part, a plethora of candles (apparently Danes burn a stunning 13 pounds of candle wax per capita), a fireplace, cozy knits, a bottle of red wine or hot cocoa, creamy comfort-food dishes, sweet treats and your lover or collection of great friends. Because not all honeymoons have to be heated by the sun, here, a handful of places perfect for getting into that romantic, cuddly hygge spirit.
The capital of this cozy concept is undoubtedly in Copenhagen, which is stacked to the brim with locations for fireside cocktails and meals, plus charming holiday markets in the wintertime. Just outside the city center is the grand and gorgeous Kokkendal Castle, where there’s afternoon tea by a roaring fire, and right in town the just updated Nimb, an intimate boutique hotel with new suites and the city’s first heated outdoor pool—just one more way to heat up through and through. The candlelit White Lines Sanders Hotel also guarantees those warm and fuzzy feelings.
Newport, Rhode Island
The seaside destination might not seem the most obvious choice, but think of how appealing the private fireplaces in guest rooms at The Chanler at Cliff Walk will be after a blustery beach walk. In true hygge style, you can indulge your sweet tooth while roasting marshmallows for s’mores at the mansion-turned–boutique hotel’s firepit, and sip warming hot cocktails from a new seasonal menu. The customized bath program—perfect for a pair—also speaks to the trend.
Believe it or not, Scotland actually has its own hygge-adjacent term: Còsagach. It’s the word for feeling snug, sheltered and warm, and it’s very much a part of life in the gorgeous country with wide-open spaces to discover alongside super-private, intimate ones. There’s a wood-fired hot tub at the Lazy Duck Nethy Bridge, cozy log cabins at Eagle Brae, and a romantic treehouse at Brockloch Eco Retreat, which will have you two snuggling up close in fair isle knits, ideally. Of course whisky won’t hurt those feelings, and we all know Scotland’s selection is epic.
Ozark Mountains, Missouri
It may be cold outside, but the Ozark Mountains provide plenty of opportunities for cozying up to your honey. Take Big Cedar Lodge, a wilderness resort overlooking Table Rock Lake where cabins are tucked away in the woods—no worries about nosy neighbors—and outfitted with massive stone-hearth wood-burning fireplaces along with heated stone floors in the bathrooms and opulent jetted soaking tubs. Grab a bottle of red and you’re set. The spa also hits the hygge high points with fireplaces in every treatment room, and a candlelit grotto with a soaking pool.
Nowhere is hygge needed more than Oslo in wintertime, since daylight hours are limited to just a couple per day. It would be an easy place to get depressed if you weren’t holed up by a fire, flames dancing in your eyes, with a warm drink. The rustic-luxe Hotel Oslo Guldsmeden—think fur throws, raw wood, trays for drinking wine ensconced in the plush bed, and an onsite bar—is just the place to do just that. And don’t miss the chance for a private candlelit stint in the spa or bath, with rose petals strewn about.