*As seen in The Logbook.
The Danish manor house Billeskov has stood since 1577 and is a well-known venue for business conferences, weddings, bed and breakfasts and other important gatherings of professionals and travellers alike. Now, it is also becoming well known for a new project as it’s opened its doors to the Bed and Bike movement. Aimed at providing accommodation for cyclists seeking to take full advantage and explore the famous Bike Island of Denmark. We spoke with CEO Erik Kjær Sørensen regarding this beautiful destination and the new developments.
“The manor house is still owned by the noble family Wedell,” he explains, “And in 2012 it was rebuilt as a conference centre to provide a useful venue for businesses and meetings. Since then the additions of new accommodations for a variety of different travellers have been made with careful consideration for the elegant and classic style which the Danish country side is famous for.”
Erik is a fan of old manor houses and castles all over Denmark. According to him Funen is the garden of Denmark with more than 100 manor houses to be seen and admired from your bike.
“It has always been a picturesque place for travellers, be them leisure walkers, runners or cyclers,” he says, “Cycling in particular has become very popular but it isn’t the only thing to do here.”
There are a lot of activities available as well. For gastro tourists there are some brilliant restaurants nearby serving an array of scrumptious culinary choices. For hikers there are many walking trails and for those seeking culture and history Denmark is famous for both. Also, there are a number of highly ranked golf courses in the area for those wanting to swing a club.
There are twenty single rooms and ten doubles, all with bathrooms that share a modern style. Added amenities include free WIFI and free parking and in all double rooms there is a kitchen and living area so that guests feel less like they’re staying in a hotel and more that they are staying in a home away from home.
For those wishing to get closer to nature, there are three shelters and a log cabin that can be enjoyed outside with the added pleasure of a covered barbecue area and a fireplace to enjoy the nights.
“We have a motto that you can sleep however you please,” Erik says, “As long as you sleep well. We’re not a normal hotel and what you see is what you get, Bed and Bike and a little breakfast.”
There is a wonderful Scandinavian style used within the rooms which is far more modern than the manor house itself. The rooms are decorated in a minimalistic fashion favouring natural light and open spaces, two things highly sought after by both the modern business and activity travellers.
“There are rules for rebuilding and renovating old manor houses in Denmark,” Erik explains, “The new buildings that were created in 2012 had to be made in accordance with these rules, which included that they had to have red roof tiles and the building had to be made in black wood. This ensures that everything keeps within the aesthetic of the place.”
Billeskov is already a well sought-after location for conferences and events. As they have all the background infrastructure required to support an event, they are able to turn them into efficient and stress-free operations.
“Basically, the entire estate, which is the old-fashioned congregation house is able to be rented out for any event or conference,” Erik says, “We offer the framework for each event and the customer fills in the details with the help of the subcontractors they choose to work with.”
This straight forward approach combined with a magnificent location is a winning formula and an impressionable one. Offering space for company courses, management meetings, staff training and board meetings in such locations such as the “Knight’s Hall” which is perfect for groups of twelve to sixteen people.
“We also work closely with the healthcare sector and offer pre-hospital and paramedic training courses in collaboration with Life Care One A/S,” Erik adds, “This sort of training is essential to paramedics and we’re pleased to be able to play a part in it.”
“There are just two of us that manage Billeskov,” Erik explains, “We use the latest technology for hotel management as well as relying on the great relationships we have with partners around the tourist business.”
For larger events they involve a number of suppliers and support staff to ensure that their reputation for personal and attentive service remains untarnished. This requires a great deal of planning ahead and developing of systems to make sure that things continue to flow smoothly.
“For example, 2018 was one of our busiest years,” Erik says, “And because we were very particular to ensure that each and every guest felt looked after and prioritised, every guest did.”
He goes on to reveal that there is a trick to making sure everything goes well, be it during the day to day operations of the manor house or during an event, “Let the best people for the job do their job.”
BIKE AND BED
Erik explains that he is very excited about the new Bed & Bike project that Billeskov has gotten involved with. Aimed at providing a much-welcomed stopping point for bicycle lovers travelling in groups or individually along the famous bicycle routes.
“Billeskov is perfect for Bike and Bed in Denmark,” Eric says, “We have the space around our manor for cyclists to safely travel and the rooms are all easily accessible from the outside with spacious interiors. There are sheltered pitstops for the bicycles to be stored and for the more expensive bikes we have a special room that can be locked. Best of all the beds and facilities we offer are superb for resting up after several hours of riding.”
THE ROUTES (BIKE ISLAND and BALTIC SEA)
The Bike-Island route and the Baltic Sea route will take you around Funen and the stunning archipelago. The 515km route takes you along the gorgeous coast, which is lined with towns like pearls on a necklace where you can stop and do some light shopping or have a bite to eat while savouring the view. It also gives you the chance to see and experience the archipelago’s largest islands Langeland and Ærø. The trip alternates between soft, hilly landscapes and charming market towns featuring over one hundred years of history so you may want to take your time.
Similarly, the 900 km long Baltic Sea Route offers a number of the best experiences Denmark has to offer. A large part of the route follows the coast of Funen and gives you the opportunity to experience some of Denmark’s most beautiful scenery. Crossing the island, you will also find signposted cycle routes that connect the towns in a neat intersection of bike-friendly routes.
THEIR BIKE FRIENDS
In building an exclusive pit stop for cyclists that can offer a real value for money Erik is working with Bike Island Funen, Aktivdanmark.dk (Bike&Bed) as well as Visit Assens.dk, the local tourist office and a professional Bike company https://www.fribikeshop.dk/cykler-odense-m to deliver the necessary bikes for guests and take care of the service side of this new project.
Erik says, “We are well-known within the health, business and accommodation sectors and offer an exclusivity that our clients appreciate. You cannot come in here just as a stranger, you must be on a course or in a group before you can use our facilities. This exclusivity has been extended to our hospitality where the privacy and the security of our guests is paramount. Whether it’s to make use of the facilities for a business conference or to enjoy an evening drink after a long ride guests have earned the right to feel valued.”
ADDRESS: Billeskovvej 9, DK 5560 Aarup.
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 0045 20472314
PRICE/NIGHT: Starting from dkk 600,00 – dkk 800,00 (min 10 persons to 30 persons and only bike & bed groups or golf players in groups.)