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"Seaside Hotel": A Delightful Danish TV Series

Lyndon Henry is a writer, editor, and journalist. He also enjoys viewing international TV series.

Seaside Hotel seen from above near the North Sea coastline.

Seaside Hotel seen from above near the North Sea coastline.

Seaside Hotel (aka Badehotellet)

If you want to be transported to a charming little hotel on the North Sea in Denmark, full of delightful characters that never cease to amaze, then Seaside Hotel (Badehotellet in Danish) is for you. Most of the dialogue is in Danish (with English subtitles). Don’t let the subtitles deter you, or you will miss a memorable series.

Storyline

The first season of Seaside Hotel opens in 1928 and each season begins with a new year. The hotel opens for the summer (except for an occasional winter gathering) and the core of mostly the same group of visitors from Copenhagen return for their stay, each time with developments and complications that are seldom what any of them or the viewers could predict.

Some of the guests have common interests, but others have nothing but the hotel experience in common. They all have their ups and downs in life, business, and pleasure. You get a feel for the era—with the social norms and clothes.

Despite the light-hearted, humorous tone in the foreground, the backdrop to all this, as the series progresses, is that the Nazis are gaining power in Germany, and this thread is increasingly woven into the hotel story.

Food and Music

Each episode of Seaside Hotel treats the viewer to a tantalizing visual array of delicious food in close-up, but only momentarily, leaving you wanting to see more, as the hotel staff prepare meals while chattering about their lives and gossiping about the guests.

Sprinkled into most episodes is a song or two of the time, mostly in English, often sung by guests with a background in entertainment. The songs and situations are integral to the characters’ lives and not just concocted out of thin air. The seaside is beautiful, and we see the characters sunbathing and swimming in the sea as a kind of respite from their various intrigues, mysteries, and other complications.

Helping to carry us from the late 1920s, through the 1930s and 40s, and into the post-World War II period is the series' theme music and engaging musical score. This consists of about two dozen pieces and motifs in a 1920s-1930s jazz style, from blues to swing, composed by Halfdan E (Halfdan E Nielsen) & Jeppe Kaas in a brilliant collaboration.

Hotel staff preparing another scrumptious meal in hotel’s kitchen. At right, Fie (Rosalinde Mynster) carries servings to dining room.

Hotel staff preparing another scrumptious meal in hotel’s kitchen. At right, Fie (Rosalinde Mynster) carries servings to dining room.

Behind the Scenes

Created by the Danish husband-wife writing-production team of Hanna Lundblad and Stig Thorsboe, Seaside Hotel premiered in 2013. A cast of recurring characters—mainly hotel guests and staff—keep consistent plot lines going through the years.

A few of the memorable roles are:

  • Fie Kjær (a young hotel maid), played by Rosalinde Mynster;
  • Mrs. Molly Andersen (the hotel owner) played by Bodil Jørgensen;
  • Amanda Madsen (a young woman we follow from adolescence into young adulthood) played by Amalie Dollerup; and
  • Edward Weyse (a famous actor rather past his prime) played by Jens Jacob Tychsen.

Other notable roles are played by Cecilie Stenspil, Lars Ranthe, Anette Støvelbæk, Ulla Vejby, and Merete Mærkedahl, to mention just a few.

Seaside scenes are filmed on Denmark’s North Jutland coast. According to a review on the Visit Nordjylland website, Seaside Hotel (aka Badehotellet) “is one of the most popular TV shows ever in Denmark.” The series has been available via PBS Masterpiece, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services.

Even after the series has ended, with its enduring themes and high quality, it’s sure to remain a classic. And by the time you’ve watched each season at the hotel, it’s likely you will feel that you have been on a mini-vacation!

References

Acknowledgement

I wish to acknowledge the inspiration and participation of Rosalind Bond in the preparation of this review, particularly her enthusiastic description of the series.
— LH


© 2022 Lyndon Henry