16 Fine Places To Stay: Iceland

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A chic boutique hotel, 101 Hotel is set in a 1930s office building, the former Icelandic Social Democratic Party’s former headquarters. Designed in a typical Nordic monochromatic style with clear lines it displays an extensive art collection by Icelandic artists. Furniture includes tree-trunk tables and classic pieces by Eero Saarinen and Philippe Starck. The ‘masculine’ bar is an innovative mixture of Chinese lacquered tables, wooden blocks and Edwardian chairs, while the ‘ladylike’ restaurant contrasts with a white dimpled mural alongside the glass roof and iconic Eros chairs.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 38 rooms & suites (24-60m2) (258-646 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2003 • architecture & interior design: Ingibjörg S. Pálmadóttir • bathroom amenities: Aveda • parking possible nearby (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • member Design Hotels™

Housed in an old biscuit factory in the heart of Reykjavik, KEX is a hip hostel just steps from all the bars, clubs, and music venues that give this city its legendary reputation. Using salvaged materials and found objects from various sources, KEX is an organic concept blending Iceland’s past with a modern, international twist. The raw industrial spaces and vintage furnishings combine to give it a homey, eclectic feel. The hostel offers a cafe and bar, a lounge area, a heated outdoor patio, a laundry room, and a small fitness center. There are both bunk rooms and private rooms, of which two have private bathrooms. Two guest kitchenettes and private laundry facilities are also available. Bicycle rental.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 32 rooms, including 16 private rooms (13-30m2) (140-323 sq ft) • hotel opened: May 2011 • interior design: interior design: Hálfdan Pedersen (Baulhus, Reykjavik) • parking possible on-site (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

For quite a long time Iceland’s spectacular beauty was rather let down by its relatively ordinary hotels. Lately, however, a new movement is afoot, complementing this island nation’s sublime, unearthly landscapes with some equally inspiring modern architecture and design. And it doesn’t take much more than a glance at Umi Hotel to identify it as an example of exactly what we’re talking about.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 28 rooms (20-24m2) (215-258 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2017 • interior design: Sandra Sólonsson ✅ free on-site parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

The Thingholt by Center Hotels is a design hotel next to Laugavegur, Reykjavik’s main shopping street. Restaurants, bars, night-life and main attractions can all be found within easy walking distance. Interiors have a strong focus on quality modern design, inspired by Icelandic nature with local artists having been commissioned to create individual pieces for each of the unique rooms. Basement bar.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 52 rooms (18-32m2) (194-344 sq ft) • interior design: Gulla Jonsdottir • street parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

Located on the 20th floor of Höfðatorg, a high-rise tower next to the Reykjavik waterfront, the aptly named Tower Suites offer expansive views of the otherwise low-slung Icelandic capital and its dramatic mountainous backdrop. It offers 8 spacious, luxurious suites with designer furniture and lighting system -which can be switched off at once when the Northern Lights arrive. Suites comes equipped with a complimentary cooler packed with Icelandic glacier water, craft beers, soft drinks and sweets. An organic breakfast is served in the Skylounge and although there is no restaurant, snacks are served during the day. Access to a nearby luxury fitness and wellness spa.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 8 suites (45-65m2) (484-700 sq ft) • hotel opened: June 2016 • architecture: PK Arkitektar • interior design: T.ark • parking possible on-site (charged) • no pets allowed • member Small Luxury Hotels of the World

The building that houses the Hótel Búðir was once a 17th-century trading post. It was turned into a hotel in 1948. Today, the hotel is still family run and has a correspondingly intimate and homely feel, with a subtle hunting-lodge aesthetic. There are views of the Snæfellsjökull vulcano (a 20-minute drive) or bay from almost everywhere, vintage-style sofas and lamps in the public areas, plus framed old photos on the wall, a working fireplace and magazines and books to read during your downtime.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 28 rooms & suites (10-25m2) (108-269 sq ft) • hotel opened: 1948 ✅ free on-site parking ✅ pet friendly, no charges

Sister hotel to the countryside ION Adventure Hotel, the ION City Hotel is located on Reykjavik’s main shopping street Laugavegur. Scandinavian-style rooms feature luxuriously organic interiors defined by clean lines, Icelandic art, and a palette of gray and white, contrasted by warm-hued wooden floors. Room facilities include a complimentary minibar, a smart TV, a Nespresso machine, a sitting area and Bluetooth speaker systems. Suites add separate soaking tubs and saunas. The restaurant serves North African cuisine and there is a popular bar and a fitness centre.

✅ free Wi-Fi • 18 rooms & suites (20-75m2) • hotel opened: 2017 • interior design: Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir (Minarc, Santa Monica) • bathroom amenities: L:A Bruket, Sóley Organics • street parking (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • member Design Hotels™

The boutique sized Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel – part of Hilton’s Curio Collection – is set in a handsome, wedge-shaped three-storey building that was constructed in the early 20th century as the city’s first high-end department store. It was built by Consul Thomsen, who has given the current hotel its name and who also inspired the interior, which – designed by Freyr Frostason with Pablo Gianfranesco at THG Architects – features an original wall from the department store (that runs throughout some of the rooms as well as the restaurant and bathhouse) plus colourful, mid-century furnishings, handsome libraries and light-filled rooms with black and white photographs of Thomsen and the city in that era.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 50 rooms & suites • hotel opened: 2018 • architecture & interior design: THG Arkitektar (Reykjavík) • street parking (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

It would be impossible for The Retreat at Blue Lagoon‘s interiors to surpass the beauty of the surrounding landscape, so instead they pay homage to it: carpets are grey-blue and moss green; slabs of solidified lava have been broken into rough-hewn bricks to create a signature fireplace or levelled to form a statement bar; decades-old Icelandic ceramics decorate the lobby. It all feels suitably Icelandic, though there are subtle Italian influences too. Furniture comprises pieces by B&B Italia, and Marche-based iGuzzini collaborated with the property to develop “human-centric lighting”. Light installations and fixtures include gently pulsating sun- and moon-like orbs that glow from the ceilings at certain times of day and night. Guests have direct access to a private part of the lagoon.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 62 rooms & suites (40-60m2) • hotel opened: April 2018 • architecture: Basalt Architects (Reykjavik) • interior design: Design Group Italia (Milan) • bathroom amenities: Blue Lagoon Iceland ✅ free on-site parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible

Occupying six interconnected houses over two main buildings, the chic and contemporary Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre was originally a furniture factory, in operation from 1937 to 1963. The interior has been renovated in a slick, funky style with high quality designer furniture, tall bookshelves hosting Icelandic literature, lots of vinyl to reference its former incarnation as music and cultural venue Faktory, and a shop selling local products.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 115 rooms & suites • hotel opened: June 2016 • architecture & interior design: Björgvin Snæbjörnsson (Apparat, Reykjavik) • street parking (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

Originally built for famous Icelandic strong-man and adventurer Jóhannes Jósefsson (there’s a bust of him in the lobby), Hotel Borg first opened its doors in 1930. Despite several refurbishments during its long lifetime, it has managed to maintain its original Art Deco ambiance — especially in the foyer and ballroom but also in the furnishings—custom-made by German company Cygal—in the public areas and rooms.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 56 rooms & suites (18-45m2) (194-484 sq ft) • hotel opened: 1930 • street parking (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • wheelchair accessible

The ION Adventure Hotel is a design hotel located on the site of Mount Hengill, a working volcano. The UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park is 18 km away. Guestrooms come with a satellite TV, a seating area and a private bathroom. All rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the unique Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant or across the lava fields towards Thingvellir National Park. There is a restaurant serving farm fresh Nordic cuisine and a bar with panoramic views. The wellness area has a sauna and a heated outdoor swimming pool. Communal TV lounge.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 46 rooms (15-37m2) (161-398 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2013 • architecture: Tryggvi Thorsteinsson (Minarc, Santa Monica) • interior design: Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir (Minarc, Santa Monica) ✅ free on-site parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk • member Design Hotels™

The Sand Hotel mirrors the low-key discreet Islandic character perfectly. The entrance is a small, barely marked doorway that leads into a courtyard. Just off the courtyard is the lobby that looks like an Icelandic living room, albeit one that belongs to design-loving couple, which indeed the owners of this hotel are. Bound books by Halldor Laxness are displayed as are photographs and paintings by contemporary Icelandic artists. The furniture is a mix of Icelandic curios and Restoration Hardware, the American store. Rooms mirror this ethos with their mix of functionality and design.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 66 rooms & suites (24-78m2) (258-840 sq ft) • street parking (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

Set in a building dating to 1900, the Kvosin Downtown Hotel is located between the Reykjavik cathedral and the parliament house. It features stylish, contemporary Scandinavian interiors and specially commissioned, documentary-style photos of local life. The spacious studios come with marble topped kitchenettes, Lín Design linens and Nespresso machines. There is a bar with a great selection of wines, whiskeys, and gins.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 23 studios (26-60m2) (280-646 sq ft), 1 room (17m2) (183 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2013 • interior design: HAF STUDIO, Einar Geir Ingvarsson (Reykjavik) • bathroom amenities: Sóley • parking possible nearby (charged) • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

It doesn’t get more off-the-grid than the remote Troll Peninsula, in Iceland’s far north. This is the home of Deplar Farm, a 12-room turf house-turned boutique hotel in a valley surrounded by 3,000 acres of some of the purest heli-skiing terrain in existence. Interiors are homey (think taxidermy and reclaimed wood furniture) and there’s a heated outdoor pool, spa, and sauna for thawing out from days in the mountains—but it’s the time spent away from the hotel guests come for. Travel outfitter Eleven Experience is known for their outdoorsy focus, and in between the short heli-skiing season (March through June; the lodge has two helicopters for whisking guests to the surrounding peaks), you can get up to all manner of adventurous pursuits, from fly-fishing for Arctic char to skeet shooting and snowmobiling.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 12 rooms • bathroom amenities: Aesop, Kiehl’s • wheelchair accessible

Hotel Rangá is located on the southern coast of the island, a little more than an hour east of Reykjavík — which, in Iceland, means you’re in pretty much the middle of nowhere. With a volcano behind it and the sea in front of it, it’s not hurting for scenery, but it’s at night that the Rangá really shines — during the Northern Lights there’s hardly a better place on earth from which to see them.

✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 51 rooms & suites (18-70m2) (194-753 sq ft) ✅ free on-site parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk

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