We opted for a private hotel room over a shared dorm. Our fifth floor room was very spacious, with a desk, love seat, coffee table, and outdoor terrace overlooking the bustling streets below and toward the water. Our room was very tastefully decorated in a minimalist fashion, with a black-and-white print by Icelandic photographer Magnus Olafsson and just one bright splash of orange around the bathroom door.
Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion) are by C.O Bigelow. We found enough outlets around the room to keep us happy, and the mini bar included Icelandic candy and beer, as well as a few international offerings. The black-and-white tiled bathroom was sleek and had large windows unbothered by drapes or curtains: great ... if you're an exhibitionist. We chose instead to shower with the lights off.
WiFi is free and fast throughout the hotel. You are given a code at check-in that is valid for three days and for up to five devices.
There's no restaurant yet, but there is a kitchen so you can order from the 24-hour room service menu. The lobby bar has a list of around 100 different craft beers and runs a Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. As is usually the case in Iceland, the bar gets busier much later into the night.
Location, Location, Location
The hotel is handily located on Reykjavik's main street, Laugavegur, across the street from the penis museum. Everything is within walking distance: Hallgrimskirkja, Harpa, the museums, and the waterfront. If you need the FlyBus to take you back to the airport, have reception call them the day before.
What We Liked
The design was very chic. We especially loved the Icelandic wool features in the bedroom: the pillows and throw on the bed and patterned rug on the floor. As we noted previously, the little piles of books scattered around the lobby are very shades of Cooper Square.
What We Didn't Like
Being located in the heart of Reykjavik's nightlife scene, it could get a little noisy at night. We would have really preferred to feel some privacy in the bathroom.
We paid $107 for a King Room with a corner terrace. Given that Reykjavik is a pricey city, we felt we got a pretty good deal. Hotel rates in Reykjavik almost always increase quite a bit in the summer, so there's another good reason to bundle up and head to Iceland in the winter. Despite the hotel/hostel hybrid and budget focus, it never felt, you know, backpacker-y.
[Photos: Karen Gardiner for HotelChatter]