Small, compact but yet packing a real punch, the world’s most northerly capital is nothing short of extraordinary. And of course, the city’s beautiful natural surroundings help – with huge glaciers, temperamental volcanoes, powerful waterfalls, bubbling hot springs and acres of wild untamed scenery, Iceland’s lonely lands have always been a nature lover’s paradise. Reykjavik itself has an almost another worldly feeling, yet with a fun and vibrant atmosphere. It’s a very cool and increasingly trendy place, with a unique outlook on life, a fondness for partying and a canny eye for design. While staying in Reykjavik we spent a while hunting around for some of the best places to stay in this fantastic small city. From wonderful retro styled hostels to a unique guesthouse promoting peace, here our are favourite cool, quirky and unusual hotels to stay in Reykjavik…
Kex Hostel – vintage budget cool
From the moment you enter the doors of this unique place, you are immediately transported into a wonderfully retro and eclectic world. It’s no surprise that this fantastically 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 a very trendy industrial feel, and the designers have beautifully combined reclaimed vintage decor with modern touches to create a style you’re unlikely to ever see anywhere else. Kex Hostel offers both dormitory beds and private rooms, the cafe serves up home-baked biscuits and there’s a guest kitchen if you fancy trying your hand at a few Icelandic dishes. With a heated outdoor patio, WiFi, an on-site vintage styled hairdressers and barbers (complete with a 1933 barber’s chair) an old-school gym (with retro boxing gloves) you’ll have to find a seriously good reason to leave! Also don’t miss their regular music, comedy, karaoke and open-mic events.
- Prices from £48 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kex Hostel
Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel – a real Icelandic gem
You can’t get more stylish and cosy than this place! Located in one of the most vibrant neighbourhoods of Reykjavik, Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel juxtaposes the hustle and bustle of the area with a zen-like oasis of peace. A redesigned office building brought back to life as this modernist, 21st-century hotel it incorporates classic design touches with eco-sensibilities not forgetting stunning views of Esja mountain. With stunning Scandi décor complete with wood floors and rustic 4-poster beds and an atmosphere that oozes warmth and cosiness, this is a true gem of a place!
- Prices from £200 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
101 Hotel – one of the hippest hotels in town…
Once named as the ‘Leading Boutique Hotel in the World’ in a prestigious travel award, this is a beautiful, intimate – and very hip – boutique hotel. With its own on-site art gallery, gym and spa, you’ll also never have to worry about boredom at 101 Hotel. The decor is very special too and guest rooms feature a silver-clawed freestanding bath, blanched-oak floors, rows of crisp white warmed towels, Aveda toiletries, books, a BOSE iPod sound-dock – and to keep you toasty in the cool Icelandic temperatures – underfloor heating. If you can bear to tear yourself away, there’s also a sleek and modern bar and restaurant to relax and dine in downstairs. Also expect plenty of arty features including high ceilings, large walls of glass which gives the place an open feel and bespoke handmade pieces like tables made of tree trunks fittingly nestled by a roaring log fire – wonderful!
- Prices from £230 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for 101 Hotel
Oddsson Hotel – very cool hotel/hostel hybrid
In Iceland, everything is a little surprising and unexpected, and the Oddsson is no different – this is a place that really dances to its own tune. With a motto of Joie de Vivre, it’s a space which brings a diverse group of minds together to experience the off-beat Icelandic culture. Part hostel, part hotel this trendy Reykjavik accommodation option will allow you to be sociable without forgoing your creature comforts. We loved the history behind the place too – the historic building has been refurbished from its original purpose as a 1940s warehouse and is known for its patronage of the arts and music. Bike tours are available for guests to explore the city, a receptionist who also doubles as a Yoga teacher is on hand for yoga classes and you’ll also benefit from stunning views over the Faxafloi Bay – a fabulous place to fully immerse yourself in the quirky Icelandic culture without breaking the bank.
- Prices from £75 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Oddsson Hostel/Hotel
Reykjavik Marina Residence – exclusive and stylish suite hotel
The Marina Residence is a set of luxury waterfront suites in traditional Icelandic houses offering beautiful decor and a bespoke service. Offering a home from home in the centre of the charming, historic old town and harbour only serves to add to the authenticity – this is a chance to live like a local (albeit a very well off one)! The clever top-end interior design, coupled with private patios and lounges makes it a gorgeous retreat where you can enjoy the stunning scenery and watch the vibrant life of the town unfold before you. The sumptuousness does not end at the suites, a turndown service and organic toiletries add to the supreme elegance offered at the residence, which is only a handy stone’s through from the trendy shops and restaurants that litter this part of town.
- Prices from £400 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Marina Residence
CenterHotel Thingholt – sleek and sexy design hotel
This is a very cool place to stay in Reykjavik and we loved the sleek and sexy design at the Centerhotel Thingholt. Located right in the centre of the city, and originally a printing factory dating from the 1940s, this hip Reykjavik hotel makes the perfect base for shopping and sightseeing. It mixes the style and sophistication of the 1940’s with a contemporary Icelandic design to form a really unique, stylish look. Deluxe rooms feature beds laden with cream and white chunky fabrics, stark white walls and art gallery prints on the walls. Black and white hide rugs and reclaimed-wood furnishings give the hotel a striking look which perfectly fits with the city’s fondness for the creative. The staff are very welcoming and an added bonus is that breakfast is included in the room rate – a rare find these days!
- Prices from £150 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Centerhotel Thingholt
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina – quirky designer chic
We loved this hotel! Located in the downtown harbour district (nestled into the marina), Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina. is one of the capital’s trendiest hotels. The café, bar and restaurant are the hubs of this fun Reykjavik hotel, with cuddle-up cosy seating, tasteful quirky features and roaring log fires all overlooking the surrounding sea and mountains. The hotel owners have scoured antique shops to find a collection of very interesting pieces and have created their own unusual style by pairing bright flower wallpaper and vintage prints with bright seats and low lighting. Bedrooms follow this cool type of retro Nordic-style, but also adding a nod to the maritime history in for good measure. Other fabulous features are the balconies with sea views and showers powered with geothermal hot water.
- Prices from £130 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability of Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
Apartment K – funkily styled spacious apartments
Apartment K offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a quintessential Icelandic experience. There are 32 individually decorated apartments in total (ranging from a studio to multiple bedrooms) complete with gorgeous wooden beams and panelling. Unsurprisingly it’s a very popular accommodation option in Reykjavik – especially for larger groups or longer stays. Offering a stylish but minimalistic decor with free WiFi, free wired Internet, Tempur-Pedic beds and kitchen facilities which allow you to try your hand at whipping up some traditional local dishes. The location is pretty fabulous too – right bang in the middle of the town allowing easy access to all the main sights, nightlife, and transport for those wishing to explore outside of Reykjavik. Fear not, expert staff are also on hand to help personalise your trip and ensure you experience everything Iceland has to offer.
- Prices from £118 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability of Apartment K
OK Hotel – eclectic retro chic
Don’t be put off by the name, the OK Hotel is a lot more than just OK! The funky eco-friendly hotel’s mini apartments come complete with kitchen facilities, flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations and some apartments even offer a balcony and acoustic guitar – very cool! All rooms are uniquely designed with cool art plastering the walls and bright colours splashed across the interior which gives the hotel an eclectic and retro vibe. Other fab facilities include a variety of tasty Korean dishes served up at the K-bar (where guests can enjoy discounted prices), barbeque facilities, bike hire and a concierge who is only too happy to help you organise trips.
- Prices from £110 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability of OK Hotel
Icelandair Hotel Natura – cool, chic and nature inspired
The Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura embodies the spirit of Reykjavik offering something a little different to visitors with many rooms themed on nature – from glacier or northern lights to volcano rooms to choose from! Chill out in the Soley Natura Spa which only happens to feature Iceland’s only indoor hotel geothermal spa pool and then opt for Finnish sauna or an amazing spa treatment to ensure ultimate in relaxation! Afterwards visit the Satt restaurant for delicious locally sourced, in-season Icelandic food. The hotel is located right beside Oskjuhlid Hill so visitors can take advantage of the wooded trails, explore the lava coated landscape and see a man-made geyser or take a dip in a warmed lagoon a true Icelandic experience! The hotel also offers free storytelling on Thursday nights, complimentary Icelandic themed movies in the hotel cinema, and a tour desk. It truly is an emblem of Reykjavik.
- Prices from £99 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Icelandair Hotel Natura
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum – combines style with character
Hotel Reykjavik Centrum pays homage to Iceland’s past. Located on one of Reykjavik’s oldest streets, Adalstraeti, the building has recently been renovated to a very high standard. Parts of the building date back to 1764 (and further adding to the historical interest) and during the restoration, archaeologists found human remains from AD 870, and the shell of a Viking long-house which is now held in a museum under the hotel. Rooms are styled in a contemporary Icelandic manner and feature all the usual extras as well as a welcoming ambience. Also ensure you make use of their on-site well-regarded French restaurant – perfect for romantic meals for two on those long dark winter nights.
- Prices from £150 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Kvosin Downtown Hotel – hip boutique set in a historic building
Kvosin Downtown Hotel is housed in a historic early 1900s building located right in the centre of Reykjavik and boasts neighbours like the parliament building and the Old Downtown Church. With culture and tradition oozing from every corner of this hip boutique hotel since the building’s inception at the turn of the 19th century, it now beautifully services the needs of the modern traveller. Spacious studio to two-bedroom apartments offer free Wi-Fi, kitchenettes, Nespresso machines, smart TVs and cool Scandi décor. Upgraded rooms offer rooftop views and balconies too. Can it get any better? Yes! There’s also an on-site industrial-chic wine bar featuring ambient lighting and street views and an award-winning concierge team on hand to help you make the most of your time in Iceland.
- Prices from £200 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kvosin Downtown Hotel
CenterHotel Arnarhvoll – modern hotel with fabulous sea views
CenterHotel Arnarhvoll is a swanky modern hotel with a fabulous central location only a short distance from Harpa concert hall. The jewel in the crown of the Arnarhvoll is the sensational sky bar which where you can admire the gorgeous sea views from their floor-to-ceiling windows as well as gazing at the mountains nestling beyond the bustling town. After a busy day sight-seeing and touring, relax in their wellness area which includes a secluded hot tub, Turkish bath and Finnish sauna – here you can chill out, native style! Colourful rooms with chic Scandinavian decor offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minibars and you’ll also love the Northern Lights wake-up call, making sure you don’t miss that epitome of Icelandic fame.
- Prices from £200 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for CenterHotel Arnarhvoll
Skuggi Hotel – contemporary design hotel
Skuggi Hotel is synonymous with style and taste. The inspiration for the contemporary decoration comes from the photographs of Icelandic nature by Ragnar Axelsson, above the beds in each room is a reference to the book and a copy is available in each room for guests to enjoy during their stay. This coupled with numerous facilities create a charming, cosy vibe and make it a very good Reykjavik accommodation for a mid-range designer hotel. A breakfast buffet and off-street parking are also included in the price and there’s also a cool bar on site too – maks sure you try one of their Icelandic Mules!
- Prices from £125 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Skuggi Hotel
Reykjavik Lights Hotel – modern Northern Lights-inspired hotel
Inspired by the famous Northen Lights, the Reykjavik Lights Hotel is perfectly situated right on the edge of the vibrant city centre providing a perfect getaway from the hectic bustle. For example, the Laugardalur outdoor activity park, complete with Iceland’s largest outdoor thermal pool, is right nearby – the perfect remedy to a tough day sightseeing! After a soak, return to your uniquely decorated room, each room has a specific design reflecting the ancient Icelandic calendar. The hotel also pays careful attention to embracing tradition and the local artwork that adorns the walls brings the culture to life. The hotel will help organise tours and unsurprisingly their speciality is the Northern Lights trip – their namesake.
- Prices from £125 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Reykjavik Lights
Hotel Borg – elegant Art Deco chic
Sitting next to the Icelandic Parliament is this very elegant Reykjavik boutique hotel which originally opened its doors in 1930 but has now undergone a complete restoration. As you step through the classic rotating-doors, wander past candlelit hallways to the grand ballroom (complete with gilded walls and elaborate chandeliers) it leads onto the stylish Silfur restaurant. The restaurant is superbly decorated offering a modern take on the Art Deco style and serves French cuisine by an award-winning chef. Each of the 56 rooms at Hotel Borg features custom-made wood, vintage leather furnishings, veneered parquet flooring, period globe lamps, and photographs of Reykjavík in the 1920s and 1930s – transporting you back in time to an age of complete sophistication!
- Prices from £180 per night
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Borg
4th Floor Hotel – funky budget boutique
The 4th Floor Hotel hotel occupies just one floor of a large central building and holds 19 rooms, each with their own unique style. This funky centrally located Reykjavik hotel offers everything from deluxe pads with en-suites, to apartments for large groups and families, providing an inexpensive form of city accommodation even for longer stays. 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, interestingly decorated hotel within easy reach of the city’s museums, art galleries, shops and restaurants.
- Prices from £70 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for 4th Floor Hotel
Peace Center Guesthouse – for a slice of tranquillity
This charmingly lovely zen-like place is located on a residential street not too far from the city centre. The Peace Center Guest House is a non-profit organization which promotes peace and organises humanitarian projects but also offers cosy guesthouse accommodation. This both part-funds the work of the centre and also creates an inexpensive and tranquil holiday base for travellers. The house is located in the artistic area of the city and is surrounded by artist’s homes and studios giving the place a real bohemian feel. It also features communal lounges, a reading area, a library, a kitchen and free WiFi – perfect for a unique budget break in relaxing surroundings.
- Prices from £65 per night.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Peace Center Guest House
Hotels outside Reykjavik
Staying outside Reykjavik can give you the best chance to see the Northern Lights (without any light pollution) and immerse yourself in Iceland’s famous wilderness. Alternatively, there are many operators that offer Northern Light tours leaving from the city centre.
Hotel Glymur – for Northern Lights and breathtaking views
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 centre stage, whilst providing a luxury outdoor experience at the same time. There’s a choice of themed cabins at Hotel Glymur – creativity, couture, elegance, cuisine, nature, family, romance and nature. Nature’s cabin is next to a small stream where you can skim stones, or just sit and ponder, and if you opt for the romance cabin it’s tucked away to ensure complete privacy. All cabins come with hot tubs overlooking the mountains and the lack of light pollution makes it an ideal place to spot nature’s most awesome winter display – the beautiful Northern Lights.
- Prices from £101 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Glymur
Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort – for a taste of the wilderness
This accommodation option offers a ‘cosy-up and snuggle by the fire’ break within the stunning mountain areas of Kerlingarfjöll (in an accessible location from Reykjavik). Formed after a volcanic eruption, Kerlingarfjöll is Iceland’s largest geothermal area, is home to some breathtaking hiking routes and is said to be a perfect location to view the famous Northern Lights. Mountains huts and cabins form the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort, and many have large communal spaces, so they’re perfect for travellers, or even big family-getaways. Cabins are comfortable and come with double beds, bathroom and kitchens. With a restaurant on-site, guests can sample the 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.
- Prices from £150 a night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort
- Loft Hostel – well-regarded hostel with funky Scandi decor from £40pn
- Fosshotel – large four-star contemporary hotel located in the downtown area from £149pn
- Hlemmur Square – Modern hotel/hostel hybrid in a central location from £36pn
- Room with a View Luxury Apartments – bright, colourful design and modern apartments from £120pn
- Apotek Hotel – a modern hotel housed a stately 1917 building from £185pn
- Hotel Holt – contemporary, art-themed hotel with dramatic decor from £240pn
- The Swan House – modern apartments in a great location from £120pn
- Gestinn Guesthouse – friendly guesthouse located in the heart of town from £67pn