Glacial lagoons. Award-winning restaurants. Must-see art exhibits. Is it any wonder Iceland is one everyone's radar right now? Here's where to bed down during your trip to the dreamy, ice-capped paradise.
This high-style boutique hotel is located in the center of downtown Reykjavík, walking distance from bucket-list attractions like the National Cathedral, Harpa Concert Hall, and Reykjavík Pond. But before you go exploring the town, you'll want to kick back inside the hotel's minimalist, monochromatic common areas—all dark glossy furnishings, modern lines, and local artwork from some of the country's most prominent artists. Hang out in the lobby and order a glass of vino as you people-watch (the hotel is popular among style-conscious couples and business travelers). Or, warm up in your cozy guest room, where comfort-minded amenities (fireplaces, heated wooden floors, Italian linens) counter the property's Nordic coolness.
Neighboring the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church and Iceland's Parliament, Hotel Borg was built in 1930 as Reykjavík’s first luxury hotel. The second you step into this Art Deco stunner you’ll feel transported back to that swinging time, thanks to details like mosaic-style wood flooring, vintage globes, and turn-of-the-century paintings. But if common areas are all about channeling an Old World aesthetic, the spacious guest rooms are a study in modernism, with Philippe Starck fittings, black-and-white photography, and a dark color palette. Once you've settled in, indulge in a pampering inspired treatment at the spa (the marine enzyme body conditioning treatment is great for jet lag), or tuck into fresh seafood at the Borg restaurant, helmed by award-winning local chef Volundur Volundarson.
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Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
Young travelers love the convivial atmosphere and funky interiors at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, centrally located in the increasingly upscale harbor district. The look is bright and playful, with nautical accents, blonde woods and embroidered stools, and most rooms feature dead-on views of the scenic bay. If you're traveling with a group, consider splurging on a large apartment-style suite (complete with a private balcony) at the neighboring Reykjavík Marina Residence. Before you go exploring nearby attractions like the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, have a bite at the hotel’s popular restaurant, Kaffislippur, where there's a tasty in-house lunch menu.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland
If you’ve considered making the trip to Iceland, it’s likely you’ve dreamt about splashing around in the turquoise waters of Blue Lagoon. The geothermal spa is arguably Iceland's most popular attraction, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. For exclusive access to the lagoon, consider a stay at the hotly-anticipated The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, a luxury 62-room property set along the lagoon's milky blue waters. Slated to open early 2018, the property will feature high-design rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies, a restaurant serving up traditional Icelandic dishes, and access to a private swimming area set apart from the main body of the lagoon.
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Hilton Reykjavik Nordica
For families, there’s a lot to love about the Hotel Reykjavik Nordica, and we’re not just talking about its address mere blocks from the children's zoo, the botanical garden, and the country's largest swimming pool. The hotel's 252 rooms are stylish and spacious, featuring teenager-pleasing mod cons like flat-screen TVs, docking stations for iPods, and free WiFi. And parents, listen up: there's free parking, a club floor with all day free drinks and snacks, and half-price drinks in the lobby bar at happy hour.
Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik
As with many hotels in downtown Reykjavík, the Radisson Blue 1919 Hotel is located within a former historic shipping company building. And although the interiors are mostly contemporary (think: sleek furnishings and a black-and-white color palette), original features—from staircases to crown moldings and revolving doors—remain. Don't miss a meal at the hotel's 1919 Restaurant, which serves neo-Nordic dishes like local lamb, cod and even minke whale, and cocktails in the adjoining lounge.
Ion Adventure Hotel
The Ion Adventure Hotel has one of the most eye-popping settings in Iceland: jutting out of the side of Mount Hengill in the southwest, it overlooks the nearly empty lichen-coated lava fields and rolling hills that border Thingvellir National Park. The minimalist hotel is all concrete and glass and is done up in typical Scandinavian style, with wooden floors and a black-white-and-grey palette. But it's not all slick and streamlined: warm details like throws made from Icelandic wool and the occasional wall-sized photos of horses add to the cozy factor. What we love most: the Northern Lights bar, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, which make for prime viewing of the aurora borealis.
An hour from Reykjavík, Hotel Ranga is a log-cabin style stay with cozy-chic rooms and commanding views of the active Hekla volcano. The feel is secluded and luxurious, so it's a great option for couples or adventure travelers looking for an authentic Iceland experience. The hotel has 44 rooms with clean white furnishings and local art (some with jacuzzi tubs), as well as seven themed suites, designed after each of the seven continents. Our favorite? The North American—a pioneer-inspired suite kitted out with bear pelts, early 20th century photography, Native American headdresses, and a copper bathtub.
Canopy By Hilton Reykjavik City Centre
The latest boutique to open in Reykjavík, Canopy by Hilton (the first outpost for Hilton's new lifestyle brand) has the scandi-cool aesthetic down pat: clean lines, blond woods, and a palette of gray, blue, and white. A covetable location in the city center on Hverfisgata Street means you're steps away from the action—and every hotel staff member is trained to point guests to must-see hidden gems and off-the-beaten-tourist-path neighborhood haunts.