Small and 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.
Reykjavik itself has almost another worldly feeling, but 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.
From wonderful retro-styled boutique hostels to a unique guesthouse promoting peace, here are my favourite cool, quirky, and unique hotels to stay in Reykjavik, Iceland (in no particular order)…
1. Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel – a unique, beautiful and eco-friendly Icelandic gem stylish offering views of Mount Esja
You can’t get more stylish and cosy than this beautiful Reykjavík boutique hotel! Located in one of the most vibrant central neighbourhoods of Reykjavik – just a block away from Laugavegur the main shopping street – the 4-star exceptionally rated 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 romantic four-poster beds, mod cons like free WiFi, and an atmosphere that oozes warmth and cosiness, this really is a true gem of a place!
- To book, check prices or availability for Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
2. The Reykjavik EDITION – a truly gorgeous, Instagrammable, one-of-a-kind upscale retreat offering incredible views
Edition Hotel Reykjavik is located in the downtown area near the old harbor, close to the vibrant city life at Laugavegur Street and the Harpa Concert and Conference Center.
The design draws inspiration from the country’s moniker “Land of Fire and Ice” with the glass exteriors creating an iceberg effect and floors of volcanic basalt and flamelike lighting framing the jewel-like interiors.
The rooms with a soft palette of earth tones, wool fabrics and wood accents highlight the natural beauty and products of the land. Floor-to-ceiling windows frame stunning views of the harbor, Mt. Esja and the Snæfellsjökull glacier, and some rooms have private terraces.
Like other Edition hotels, the Reykjavik Edition is also a destination in itself, and the Tides restaurant by Gunnar Karl Gíslason, Iceland’s first Michelin-star Chef, is famous for its modern Icelandic cuisine.
The Rooftop lounge and bar, the TÖLT bar and the lobby bar all serve carefully crafted cocktails and snacks, while the Tides Cafe has coffee, baked items and to-go meals.
- To book, check prices or availability for Edition Hotel Reykjavik
3. CenterHotel Thingholt – a sleek, modern and trendy boutique which makes a great base for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
A very cool place to stay in Reykjavik with a sleek and sexy design at the Centerhotel Thingholt. Located right in the centre of the city amongst some great bars and restaurants, the trendy boutique hotel was originally a printing factory dating from the 1940s.
In the present day, this hip Reykjavik hotel makes the perfect base for shopping and sightseeing as well as offering great amenities such as an upscale restaurant, a cool bar, a fitness centre, and a spa.
The decor mixes style and sophistication of the 1940s with a contemporary Icelandic design to form a really unique and stylish look. Deluxe rooms feature beds laden with cream and white chunky fabrics, stark white walls, and art gallery prints on the walls as well as mod cons such as free WiFi and flat-screen TVs.
Black and white hide rugs and reclaimed wood furnishings give the hotel a striking look that perfectly fits with the city’s fondness for the creative! The staff were very welcoming and an added bonus is that breakfast was included in the room rate.
- To book, check prices or availability for Centerhotel Thingholt
4. Hotel Von – a gorgeous new high-design boutique and a unique place to stay
One of the newest boutique hotels in Reykjavik, the offers 52 rooms furnished with the gorgeous Guldsmeden’s signature design.
The focus being sustainability with local and organic products. Hotel Von Reykjavik has a similar sense of style to its big sister hotel – the Eyja Guldsmeden, just around the corner.
These hotels are located in the perfect location if you want a shopping trip, as the Laugavegur is the shopping street in Reykjavik. It is also around the corner from the Sofar Sun Voyager and the Hallgrimskirkja Church.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Von Reykjavik
5. Grandi by Center Hotels – a new, well-designed spot with a hip industrial-chic decor housed in a converted steelworks
A cheerful version of industrial chic defines the style at Grandi by Center Hotel, located in the heart of its namesake Reykjavik district, near the old harbour.
The fish processing plants and shipyards of the neighbourhood have been replaced with museums, artisans’ workshops, boutiques and hip restaurants, with plenty of outdoor art and murals.
The hotel’s quirky design touches and clean, simple lines are entirely in keeping with the feeling of the neighbourhood.
Rooms overlook streets with the colourful houses for which the area is famous, or the wide sweep of the surrounding water. Within, you’ll find all the necessary comforts including wood panelling, comfy chairs and bathtubs.
The restaurant Héðinn Kitchen & Bar is a favourite with travellers and local residents alike, and the daily breakfast buffet is highly popular.
- To book, check prices or availability for Grandi by Center Hotel
6. Center Hotels Laugavegur – a cool, unique and cute boutique set amid trendy shops and eateries
Center Hotels Laugavegur is located in the city center on the main street in Reykjavik with all the major attractions, shopping and restaurants just out the front door and a short walk to the harbor.
Combining contemporary style with cozy, the lobby has high ceilings, large windows that look out on the busy street, comfortable seating and a fireplace.
The light-filled rooms have simple, modern lines and decor in calm neutrals with touches of bright color, and deluxe rooms have private balconies with views over the city to the mountains beyond.
There are several options for onsite dining, including the Lóa Restaurant with a varied Icelandic and international menu, and the Street Food Station with international street foods.
Breakfast is served every morning and if you need to get an early start, they’ll pack some for you to take along.
- To book, check prices or availability of Center Hotels Laugavegur
7. Reykjavik Marina – a lively, upbeat and fun stay with quirky design details located on the harbour
One of the most popular hotels in Reykjavik Located in the downtown harbour district (nestled into the marina and only an 11-minute walk from the Harpa concert hall), the 4-star exceptionally rated Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina is one of the capital’s trendiest hotels.
The café, bar, and cool industrial-style 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 add a nod to the maritime history in for good measure. Other fabulous features are the balconies offering sea views, showers powered with geothermal hot water, a fitness room, and even the occasional live entertainment.
- To book, check prices or availability of Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
8. Oddsson Hotel – a fun, vibrant and affordable boutique hotel located in mid-town
In Iceland, everything is a little surprising and unexpected, and the highly-rated Oddsson Hotel Reykjavik 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 that brings a diverse group of minds together to experience the off-beat Icelandic culture but still with lashings of style!
Located in the harbour just a 10-minute walk from all the craziness of downtown, this gorgeous reasonably priced budget boutique is a great choice for Reykjavik accommodation.
There’s a great history behind this trendy Reykjavik accommodation option – 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, and you’ll also benefit from stunning views over the Faxafloi Bay – a fabulously hip hotel in Reykjavik to fully immerse yourself in the quirky Icelandic culture without breaking the bank.
- To book, check prices or availability for Oddsson Hotel Reykjavik
9. 101 Hotel – one of the hippest and most Instagrammable places to stay in the city
Once named as the ‘Leading Boutique Hotel in the World’ in a prestigious travel award, this is a beautiful, intimate and ultra-hip boutique hotel inReykjavík.
Located in a central location only an 11 minutes walk from the harbourfront, it boasts its own on-site art gallery, gym, well-regarded restaurant, and a fabulous spa complete with a hot tub and a steam room.
The cool decor at the 4-star highly rated 101 Hotel Reykjavik is sophisticated and immaculate 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 a restaurant to relax and dine 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!
- To book, check prices or availability for 101 Hotel Reykjavik
10. Exeter Hotel by Keahotels – an industrial-chic stay housed in a renovated 1904 storage building
Staying at the Exeter Hotel by Keahotels provides a modern hotel experience in a place with lots of history. The main building is a house that was originally built in 1904 for storage!
Now, it is connected to more modern buildings and has 106 hotel rooms that have a modern, yet industrial style.
It’s situated just 550 yards from Harpa’s concert hall, which is ideal if you’re attending an event. But it’s also in the Old Harbour area, which is very beautiful and has a number of excellent restaurants.
The Exeter also helps you book day tours, so you can travel directly from there to go sightseeing or visit the Blue Lagoon.
- To book, check prices or availability of Exeter Hotel by Keahotels
11. Tower Suites – ultra-chic and high-design all-suite accommodation offering incredible views
The Tower Suites Reykjavik is a new, private upscale hotel in central Reykjavik is a little different from the standard; it comprises of only eight rooms on just one floor.
However, all of the chic eight rooms are high-design penthouse suites on the 20th floor, offering stunning, panoramic views of Reykjavik city.
The experience is like no other; you’re greeted with a glass of bubbly and then taken up to your suite where you can check out a 360-degree view of the city through your very own telescope.
The floor-to-ceiling windows help you soak in the scenery and in some rooms, even the bathtubs face these windows for you to bathe with a view.
Luxury runs throughout the hotel with a top-of-the-range fitness suite, wellness spa, and suites equipped with Apple TVs, iPads, Nespresso coffee machines, a complimentary minibar, and walk-in wardrobes.
- To book, check prices or availability for Tower Suites Reykjavik
12. Canopy by Hilton City Centre – a sleek and Instagrammable designer stay overlooking Faxa Bay
A sleek lifestyle hotel that mixes impeccable style with comfort, Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is set in the heart of downtown. You can walk or ride a free bike to the restaurants, bars and shopping on Laugavegur Street.
From the inviting lobby to the rooms in natural colours inspired by the ocean and volcanic basalt, the hotel is anchored in a sense of place, with local artwork, music and a library of Icelandic literature.
The rooms and suites have exclusive bedding, mini-fridges, filtered water for eco-conscious travellers and large windows looking out over the neighbourhood, the ocean and if you’re lucky, the aurora borealis.
In the evenings, you can catch a wine tasting, or enjoy dinner at the sophisticated Geiri Smart Restaurant with local seafood, meat and produce accompanied by cold climate wines.
The Canopy Central Bistro & Bar serves an amazing breakfast every morning and local beers, spirits, and snacks all day and night.
- To book, check prices or availability for Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre
13. Kvosin Downtown Hotel – a hip and stylish boutique set in a downtown historic building
The 4-star exceptionally rated 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 Reykjavik 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 offers free Wi-Fi, kitchenettes, Nespresso machines, smart TVs, and a 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.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kvosin Downtown Hotel
14. CenterHotel Arnarhvoll – a stylish, modern gem offering fabulous sea views
CenterHotel Arnarhvoll is a highly rated modern hotel with a fabulous central location only a short distance from the Harpa concert hall.
The jewel in the crown of the gorgeous Icelandic hotel is the sensational sky bar 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 sightseeing and touring, relax in their wellness area which includes a secluded hot tub, Turkish bath, and Finnish sauna – where 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!
- To book, check prices or availability for CenterHotel Arnarhvoll
15. ION City Hotel – a modern boutique that offers a sleek urban retreat in downtown
Everything about ION City Hotel Reykjavik has been put together with Icelandic artistic style: a specially-designed lobby light fixture by Minarc, the designer dresses and jewellery worn by staff, and the bathroom walls made of dark lava stones gleaming with gold touches.
The convenient location on Rekjavik’s main drag puts you close to all the exciting shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries.
The luxurious rooms and suites have wood panelling and relaxing neutral decor with contrasting brightly coloured window seats that look out over the city, the bay and snow-covered Mount Esja. Two of the suites have private saunas as well.
You’ll want to have a meal at the Middle East and North African restaurant Sumac, which uses fresh local ingredients and subtle spices, accompanied by European, Moroccan and Lebanese wines, and which has been one of the favourite dining spots in Iceland for a long time.
- To book, check prices or availability for ION City Hotel Reykjavik
16. Icelandair Hotel Natura – chic, quirky and nature-inspired
The 4-star exceptionally rated Icelandair Hotel Natura embodies the spirit of Reykjavik offering something a little different to visitors with many rooms themed on nature – from a 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 relaxation! Afterwards, visit the Satt restaurant for delicious locally sourced, in-season Icelandic food.
The quirky and chic Reykjavik hotel is located right beside Oskjuhlid Hill (close to the city centre) 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!
They also offer free storytelling on Thursday nights, complimentary Icelandic-themed movies in the hotel cinema, and a tour desk. It truly is an emblem of Reykjavik.
- To book, check prices or availability for Icelandair Hotel Natura
17. R13 Townhouse – a reasonably priced trendy design stay with a hip, party vibe
Considered to be a budget option for hotels in Reykjavik, this hotel is amazing value for money.
Each room at R13 A Townhouse Hotel is stylish and decadent with its own seating area and kitchens/kitchenettes with their own fridges, hobs, ovens, and microwaves!
Perfect if you want to have a night in! The bathrooms are also fitted with rainfall showerheads and the bedrooms all have smart TVs.
The hip hotel is around the corner from Laugardalsholl Stadium and swimming centre, so it’s ideally situated for those coming for a sporting event. But it is also still a short walk from the Kringlan shopping mall and the famous shopping street.
- To book, check prices or availability for R13 A Townhouse Hotel
18. OK Hotel – a cool hotel housed in a beautifully restored historic building with colourful and quirky retro decor
Don’t be put off by the name, the highly-rated OK Hotel Reykjavik 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 at this hipster-friendly Reykjavik accommodation 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.
Located in a central location along Laugavegur, Reykjavík’s main street, 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.
- To book, check prices or availability of OK Hotel Reykjavik
19. Kex Hostel – a hip hostel that shares a building with artists’ studios perfect for fun-loving and sociable Millennials and Gen Zs
From the moment you enter the doors of this much-loved and highly rated unique Iceland abode, you are immediately transported into a wonderfully retro and eclectic world.
It’s no surprise that this kitsch hostel has quickly become a Reykjavik institution and also boasts a superb central location with Atlantic sea views only an 11-minute walk from Harpa concert hall (and only a 3-minute walk from a bus stop). 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!
Sharing a building with artists’ studios 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 Reykjavík 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, 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.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kex Hostel Reykjavík
20. Skuggi Hotel – a popular contemporary design abode located near the lively Laugavegur
Located in a very central location only a 3-minute walk from the cool shops and bars on lively Laugavegur, the exceptionally rated Skuggi Hotel Reykjavik 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 and if you don’t fancy reading there is also free WiFi and a flat-screen TV available.
This coupled with numerous facilities creates a charming, cosy vibe and makes it a chic and trendy Reykjavik accommodation option 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 – make sure you try one of their Icelandic Mules!
- To book, check prices or availability for Skuggi Hotel Reykjavik
Hotels located outside Reykjavik
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland – literally just steps away from the world-famous spa
Located near the town of Grindavík The Blue Lagoon is arguably the world’s most famous spa and is only around an hour’s journey from Reykjavik.
This is the place to stay if you want to stay as close to the Blue Lagoon as possible – it’s literally just steps away! The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland is a large, unique, and modern upscale spa hotel surrounded by surreal volcanic landscapes.
The chic and trendy suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows, free-standing tubs, and terraces, with many offering lagoon views.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland
Northern Light Inn – a family-run hotel just half a mile from The Blue Lagoon
This is another good choice if you need to stay near the Blue Lagoon for an extended relaxing break. Located just over half a mile from the famous spa, this is a modern family-run hotel which runs a free shuttle bus to and from the attraction.
Stand-out features at Northern Light Inn Iceland include showers with geothermal water, the floor-to-ceiling windows in Northern Light’s restaurant, a balcony for viewing the Northern Lights, a gym, staff that can organise cycle tours, and its own onsite wellness centre which even has its own floatation tanks.
- To book, check prices or availability for Northern Light Inn Iceland
ION Adventure Hotel – a great choice for a modern stay near the Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is one of the top places to visit in Iceland and many drive here from the capital. This is an incredible design hotel located on Mount Hengill around 11 miles from UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park.
ION Adventure Hotel has a cool industrial-chic design which has to be seen to be believed. Other hotel highlights include a restaurant which offers Nordic specialities and a bar with panoramic scenic views, modern guest rooms where some overlook Lake Thingvallavatn, and an on-site spa and sauna.
- To book, check prices or availability for ION Adventure Hotel
Hotel Glymur – for Northern Lights and breathtaking views
This much-loved and exceptionally rated 4-star 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 Iceland – 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 at this chic Icelandic accommodation 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.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Glymur Iceland
Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.