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With incredible waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, lagoons, glaciers and the Aurora Borealis, Iceland should be on every adventure traveler’s bucket list. Its hip capital, Reykjavik, is an excellent place to get acquainted with the island nation, and some must-visit spots are the famous church, Hallgrimskirkja, National Museum of Iceland and Dillon Whiskey Bar for happy hour. Not sure where to snooze after a day exploring or a night of partying (seriously, the city is known for its nightlife)? Read our list of the 10 best hotels in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Best Overall: Reykjavik Residence Hotel
This dazzling new apartment hotel is located in the trendy “district 101″ near Laugarvegur and Skolavordustigur, the main shopping streets, and has the service standards of a five-star hotel with the comfort of a home-like setting. All apartments have fully equipped kitchenettes with a refrigerator, stove and microwave, flat-screen televisions and iPod docking stations (iPads are available for a small rental fee). Décor is beautiful and modern, with premium light fixtures, wood floors and well-appointed baths. There’s a 24-hour reception desk that goes above and beyond to assist guests, a taxi service, as well as breakfast baskets delivered in the morning. On-site parking is limited; however, street parking is readily available.
Best Budget: Hotel Hafnarfjordur
Just five miles from the tourism center of Reykjavik is Hafnarfjordur, a charming small town that is known to be one of the largest settlements of elves in Iceland (according to locals). The 71-room, Hotel Hafnarfjordur is a 20-minute drive to the Blue Lagoon or 10 minutes to Reykjavik, and offers clean, comfortable accommodations at a fraction of the downtown prices. Standard Double Rooms with kitchenettes range from 247 square feet to 365 square feet and have wood floors, large sunlit windows, cheerful décor, a couch and a television (although not flat-screen). There’s also free continental breakfast, parking and WiFi.
Best Hotel for Singles: Skuggi Hotel
Inspired by a book of Icelandic photography, Skuggi Hotel is one of the newest digs in Reykjavik, with color schemes of silver, grey and white that contrast the colorful, hanging globe lighting found in the common areas. There are 100 accommodations, but the smallest measure just 139 square feet, making them ideal for the solo traveler seeking minimalistic-style room décor with amenities like flat-screen televisions, writing desks, free WiFi, rainfall shower heads and coffee and tea sets. Guests can grab a quick coffee at the café or enjoy the breakfast buffet. There’s also an on-site bar and lounge where single travelers can mingle, a computer station and free self-parking. The hotel is steps away from the Sundhollin public baths, Solfar sculpture, and Hallgrimskirkja, the uniquely designed church.
Best Design: Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina
With 147 rooms, the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina is one of the largest in the Icelandair hotel chain and is located right along the harbor, within walking distance to plenty of restaurants and attractions. Unique statues are displayed throughout the property that show the lifestyle of the Icelandic countryside, and there’s always something going on at Slippbarinn, the lively in-house restaurant and bar. On weekends there’s a live DJ, during brunch there are movies for the kids and on Wednesdays a live band takes to the stage. Sip on a crafted cocktail, sample fresh seafood dishes or get the morning started right with breakfast buffet (for an extra charge). Standard Rooms feature chic, maritime inspired décor wall murals, wood floors, modern baths and flat-screen televisions. The hotel does not offer parking, but there is a lot nearby.
Best for Families: Lighthouse Apartments
Apartment stays are popular in Reykjavik, and they're ideal for families seeking a home-like environment and added space. Situated about a five-minute walk from the Reykjavik Harbor, the three apartments are on separate floors and have fully stocked kitchens and sitting areas, as well as luxury walk-in showers with steam functions, jet sprays and a special foot massager. The ground-floor apartment hosts six guests and provides easy access for families. Plus, there’s a private backyard, highchair and cribs (upon request) and a small grocery store nearby for supplies. There is no front desk like you would see at a typical hotel, so access to the apartment is through a code entry.
Best Boutique: Alda Hotel
Located in the main shopping area, the Alda Hotel is a beautiful, boutique hotel with high-quality service and fresh, comfortable accommodations. Rooms include free WiFI, large flat-screen televisions, bathrobes and slippers, as well as smartphones to use when you're out exploring the city. Unwind in the lounge, mingle with other travelers at Barber Bar in the lobby, squeeze in a workout at the fitness center, soak in the small hot tub or enjoy a hearty breakfast (for an additional charge). There is no designated parking, but there is a lot nearby (it's on the pricey side).
Best Guesthouse: Butterfly Guesthouse
Tucked away on a quiet street in Reykjavik, but within walking distance to restaurants, bars and attractions, the Butterfly Guesthouse is a cheerful, cozy and friendly place to bunk down for the night. Prices are extremely reasonable, but vary depending on the number of people staying, the size of room and whether it has a shared or private bathroom. Guests can use the main kitchen or common living area, and a basic breakfast of cereal, coffee and muesli (similar to granola) is included. Family-owned and operated, this is a great place to mingle with other guests, and the hosts are warm and welcoming.
Best Views of the Northern Lights: The Kruines Hotel
The Northern Lights can be seen in Iceland from September to April, but in order to see them visitors will have to distance themselves from the lights of Reykjavik. The Kruines Hotel is located a 20-minute drive outside the city (so having wheels is necessary) next to Lake Ellidavatn, so those lucky enough to stay when the lights are out can see the colorful reflections off the icy lake. The 14-room hotel is family operated, and has amenities such as a bar, sauna, hot tub, mountain bikes, kayaks, free parking and breakfast. Standard Rooms are simple, but adequate, with flat-screen televisions, WiFi and beautiful lake views.