Svendborg’s star of the sea

TEXT: SIGNE HANSEN | PHOTOS © STELLA MARIS HOTEL DE LUXE

From strict missionary guesthouse to luxury hotel — the former home of Countess Anna Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Lehn has returned to its former glory as Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe. With its enchanting location, magnificent settings and innovative gastronomy, the hotel is fully worth a visit in its own right.

It was Countess Anna Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Lehn who, around 1916, gave the striking white estate facing Svendborg Sund its apt name Stella Maris, meaning ‘the star of the sea’. As the name suggests, both the building and its location are out of the ordinary. And so too is the service of the hotel it houses — so much so, that Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe was this year named by Trivago as the best four-star hotel in Denmark. “We have people visiting just for the experience of staying at the hotel itself — treating themselves to a break from everyday life with a gourmet dinner and a day in beautiful surroundings,” explains hotel director Vibeke Halse. “But, of course, we also have people who stay for longer, and a lot who choose to celebrate special events here. It doesn’t matter why you are visiting, the hotel is sure to add an extra dimension to the whole experience.”

The Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe opened up in 2014. Previously, the building had, for five decades, served as a missionary hotel with daily worship, prayer and a strict no-alcohol policy. Today, however, visitors to the waterfront hotel can enjoy all aspects of life, including quality food and wine.

Island produce

At the tip of the charming town of Svendborg, the archipelago of southern Funen is one of the main attractions within the vicinity of Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe. Part of the archipelago is the Vejrø resort, the sister hotel of Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe. Previously a deserted island, Vejrø has today been transformed into a stylish luxury resort with its own organic farm. The products of this farm also supply Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe’s chef Thomas Skovsmose-Falck. “Right now, during the summer season, we receive a large part of our produce from Vejrø, especially vegetables, but also lamb and pork,” explains Halse. “It makes sense because they have a fairly big organic production. However, our chef, Thomas, also spends a lot of time travelling around the area and talking to local producers to find quirky, niche products. For instance, we get the local speciality, smoked cheese, from Gundestrup Dairy, and speciality eggs from a small farm on Tåsinge island.”

Food is not the only area where sustainability is incorporated into the experience. Everything at Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe, from the changing of tablecloths to the hotel’s own organic coffee blend, has been developed and selected to create a more sustainable operation.

Romance and warmth

With its classic, romantic interiors, luxurious suites and beautiful surroundings, Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe is a popular site for weddings and romantic getaways. And whether part of a party of two or 100, all guests are certain to feel the love. “We strive to meet everyone with genuine warmth and to give each guest an individual experience,” Halse says. “We don’t want people to feel like customers, but like guests, and that feeling of getting a special and individual treatment is something which a lot of our guests note in their feedback.”

Indeed, the high level of service is one of the things which has helped Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe win top spot as Denmark’s best four-star hotel on Trivago. “Our employees’ dedication and high standards of professionalism create a unique atmosphere here at Stella Maris, and that’s something which is noted by our guests from the moment they step into our reception,” Halse stresses.

The hotel also hosts many corporate events, such as board meetings and conferences.

Facts:

Stella Maris Hotel de Luxe is located in Svendborg, one hour and 40 minutes from Billund Airport.

The hotel comprises 36 rooms.

Facilities include a gourmet restaurant, lounge and bar, panoramic terrace, a small private pier, and modern conference and meeting facilities.

Suites include double Jacuzzis.

The hotel hosts conferences and parties of up to 80 people.

Most of the hotel’s rooms offer enthralling views of the Svendborg Sund.

The surrounding area comprises many trails for exploring on either bicycle or by foot.

stellamaris.dk

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