Iceland’s cool capital is known for its love of design, partying and its unique view of life. While staying in Reykjavik we scouted out some of the best places to stay. From kitsch hostels to a guesthouse promoting peace here is our top 10 cool and unusual hotels in Reykjavik:
This beautifully kitsch hostel has quickly become a Reykjavik institution. Kex (the Icelandic word for biscuit), is a social hostel built in a former biscuit factory, and like any biscuit barrel, you’ll find a variety of flavours, shapes and tastes. It has an industrial feel, and the designers have blended reclamation and retro with vintage and salvage to create a contemporary look. It has dormitory accommodation, and some private rooms, all decorated in the house-style. The cafe and bar, provide hot and cold drinks and home-baked biscuits, and there’s a guest kitchen if you fancy trying a few Icelandic home-made dishes. With a heated outdoor patio, wifi, vintage hairdressers and barber, complete with a 1933 barber’s chair, not to mention the old-school school gym, with its retro boxing gloves, you’ll have to find a good reason to leave. Also don’t miss their lively regular music, comedy, karaoke and open-mic events.
- Prices from $80 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kex Hostel
Named Iceland’s Leading Boutique Hotel at the World travel awards, this hotel is small and perfectly formed. With its own art gallery, gym and spa, there’s plenty to occupy the mind within the hotel walls. Rooms have freestanding baths, with rows of crisp white warmed towels, Aveda toiletries, in-room boutiques with Blue Lagoon products, books, and clothing, a BOSE iPod sound-dock, and to keep those pinkies warm, underfloor heating. If you can tear yourself away, there’s a modern and sleek bar and restaurant downstairs. Clearly inspired by the art gallery, the space with it’s high ceiling, walls of glass, and bespoke handmade pieces like tables made of tree trunks, and futuristic lamps, all nestle fittingly by a roaring log fire.
- Prices from $240 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for 101 Hotel
Although not based in the city, this accommodation offers a ‘cosy-up and snuggle by the fire’ break within the Mountain areas of Kerlingarfjöll. Formed after a volcanic eruption, Kerlingarfjöll is Iceland’s largest geothermal area, and as such bestows breathtaking hiking routes. Mountains huts and cabins form the accommodation, and many have large communal spaces, so they’re perfect for travellers, or even big family-getaways. Cabins are comfortable with double beds, toilets and kitchens in most. With a restaurant on-site, guests can enjoy local Icelandic fare as well. After a long day’s hike most guests retire to the outdoor hot pool which reaches a more-than-pleasant 42 degrees c.
- Prices from £245 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kerlingarfjöll.
Originally a printing factory in the 1940s, the CentreHotel is a great boutique find (and where we chose to stay). Right in the centre of Reykjavik, it makes the perfect base for shopping and sightseeing. The style and sophistication of the forties has been retained, and with contemporary Icelandic design, lends its hand to create a stunning original look. Deluxe rooms features beds laden with cream and white chunky fabrics, against white walls, lit with white lights, and art gallery prints on the walls. White and black animal prints used sparingly for rugs and cushions, and reclaimed-wood furnishings give the hotel a striking look which definitely fits in with the city’s creative ideals. The staff are both welcoming and friendly and an added bonus is that breakfast is included in the room rate – a rare find these days.
- Prices from $78 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Centerhotel Thingholt.
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
Located in the downtown harbour district, Reykjavik marina is the the latest ‘on trend’ hotel. The four-story building is nestled into the marina, and stands proudly next to Reykjavik’s historical dry-dock Slippur. The café, bar and restaurant are the hub of the hotel, with cuddle-up cozy seating and roaring log fires all overlooking sea and mountain views. The hotel owners have hunted antiques shops to find interesting pieces and have created their own unusual style by pairing bright flowering wallpapers, fresh flowers, and vintage prints, with bright seats, and low lighting. Bedrooms follow this Nordic-style, adding a hint of the maritime history in for good measure, whilst balconies with sea views, and showers powered with geothermal hot water, add a little extra.
- Prices from $104 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability of Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum pays homage to Iceland’s past. Located on one of Reykjavik’s oldest streets, Adalstraeti, the building has recently been renovated. Parts of the building date back to 1764, and further adding to the historical interest, during the restoration, archieologists found human remains from AD 870, and the shell of a Viking long-house, which is now held in a museum deep under the hotel. Rooms are styled in a contemporary Icelandic manner, and feature all the usual extras. The hotel has a well-regarded French restaurant great for romantic meals for two.
- Prices from $102 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Sitting next to Parliament, this cool and unusual Reykjavik hotel originally opened it’s doors in 1930, and has recently undergone a complete restoration. From stepping in through the classic rotating-doors, and wandering past candlelit hallways to the grand ballroom, with its gilded walls and elaborate chandeliers, leading on to the stylish breakfast room or the Silfur restaurant, which takes a modern stance to the Art Deco style and serves French cuisine by an award-winning chef. Its 56 rooms feature custom-made wood and leather furnishings, veneered parquet flooring, period globe lamps, Deco murals, and photographs of Reykjavík in 20s and 30s, transporting you back in time to an age of sophistication.
- Prices from $152
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Borg
This resort is located only 45 minutes from downtown Reykjavík and provides, amongst other things, breathtaking views of Whale fjord. Inspired by nature, the owners have created cabins which make the views of the Fjord and mountains stand centre stage, whilst providing a luxury outdoor experience. There’s a choice of themed cabins – creativity, couture, elegance, cuisine, nature, family, romance and nature. Nature’s cabin is next to a small stream where you can skimmed stones, or just sit and ponder, where as the romance cabin is tucked away to ensure privacy. All cabins come with hot tubs overlooking the mountains.
- Prices from $180 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Glymur
4th Floor Hotel
The 4th floor hotel occupies just one floor of a large central building, and holds 19 rooms, each with their own style. The hotel offers anything from delux pads with en-suites, to apartments for large groups and families, providing an inexpensive form of city accommodation. The hotel is a family run business, and as such has a friendly and amiable feel. Interiors in the rooms and in the hotel’s bar and café, where a hearty breakfast is served each morning, are contemporary, with shiny black floors, wood furnishings, and zebra-striped fabrics. It’s an inexpensive, beautifully decorated hotel within easy reach of museums, art galleries, shops and restaurants.
- Prices from $54 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for 4th Floor Hotel
Peace Center Guest House
This place is located on a residential street not too far from the city centre. It’s a non profit organization which promotes peace and organises humanitarian projects which also happens to have a guesthouse for tourists to use. This part-funds the work of the centre, and also creates a tranquil holiday base for travellers. The house is built in the artistic area of the city and is surrounded by artists’ homes and studios. Great for a budget break in relaxing surroundings, it features communal lounges, a reading area and library, kitchens and free wifi.
- Prices from $54 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Peace Center Guest House
Kex hostel, Icelandair hotel and Thingholt hotel images are copyright of GlobalGrasshopper. If you’re looking for more hotel information SecretHotels.org reviews ‘secret’ or ‘mystery’ hotels.