After our bucket list worthy dip in the Blue Lagoon Iceland, Mr S and I jumped in a cab for the forty drive to the capital city of Reykjavik. We left the lagoon at around 9.30 but it was still light outside owing to the ‘Midnight Sun’. The natural phenomenon occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle when the sun never fully sets. Ok, we never actually experienced the midnight sun (we were a little too late in the year) and 24-hour daylight but the days were very long with the sun setting late and rising early whilst we were in Iceland.
Now if I’m honest the city is a little lacking in luxury hotels so we opted for the cool boutique 101 Hotel Reykjavik. A member of the Design Hotels it’s clear that 101 was kitted out with a modern minimalist aesthetic in mind. The entrance is fairly understated and you could almost miss it and from a tiny reception we were pointed up to our room, one of 38 in the whole hotel.
It’s a bloggers dream to arrive at 10pm and for it to still be light enough to take decent photos…
I loved the cool monochrome of the bed with the slick black back drop, the cosy throw across the bed and the wooden floor. I thought the box shelving was lovely but for the price of the room I would have preferred a proper wardrobe rather than just a clothing rail.
The sink unit was super stylish with lovely Aveda products but there was no proper bathroom with the shower and toilet coming straight off the bedroom. But overall the room was cosy and chic rather than stark and overly minimal.
With only one night in the city we wanted to have a little look around the local area – it’s very easy to explore Reykjavik on foot from the hotel.
Colourful buildings, restaurant, bars and shops lined the streets of the capital of Iceland and though it’s the country’s biggest city it’s one of the world’s smallest capitals with a population of around 119,000. It is also the world’s most northern capital, lying just under the Arctic circle.
For our one night stay in Reykjavik we didn’t get to experience much of the culture that the city has to offer such National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik Art Museum or the Harpa Concert Hall.
But we did get to admire some of the dramatic street art much of which has been commissioned by the city. For example this cartoon monkey is collaboration between the UK’s The London Police and American artist Above.
The huge art pieces really added to the vibrant and creative feel of the city.
Having decided against dessert at Blue Lagoon Iceland, in favour of foraging for sweet stuff in Reykjavik, Mr S and I went in search of ice cream. I can’t remember the name of the place that we found unfortunately but I must say there was something very cool and almost eerie about eating ice cream at 11pm on the light filled, chilly streets.
And soon the sky turned pink around the Hallgrimskirkja Church, an iconic building finished in 1940 and designed to resemble the rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape.
SKÝ Restaurant & Bar in the CenterHotel offers gorgeous views across the harbour and there’s plenty of local pubs serving Viking Beer brewed in Iceland.
Just before going to bed I poked my head around the corner of the hotel’s restaurant: Kitchen & Wine. One of Reykjavik’s top restaurants, it’s casual and relaxed and serves Modern Icelandic and international cuisine. Head chef director, Hákon Orvarsson has won international awards and worked at Michelin star restaurants around the world. The monochrome look and glossy counter mirrored the stylish bedrooms all created by the owner Icelandic designer Ingibjörg Pálmadóttir.
Here and throughout the rest of the hotel there is a handpicked selection of art by Icelandic designers and the hotel holds temporary exhibitions too.
Having already had dinner at Lava we didn’t try Kitchen & Wine but we returned for breakfast the next day to a small but perfectly formed buffet laid out on that black lacquer bar. There’s the option to order à la carte but with a plane to catch we stuck with the buffet.
Fresh made bread and local produce for breakfast were excellent and it was my first time trying skyr – it’s a bit like yogurt, creamy but low-fat dairy and unique to Iceland. There were lots of different toppings provided for the skyr too.
Adjacent to the restaurant is the lounge which was my favourite area of the hotel. Again monochrome minimalism could have made it look austere but the textured rug, blazing fire place and eclectic mixture of seating meant it was still cosy.
The gorgeous Scandi-style furnishings include pieces by designers such as Eero Saarinen and Philippe Starck which have been collected by Ingibjorg S Palmadottir. Once again the original artwork stands out against the walls adding even more character to the design hotel.
The downstairs red room stands out against the otherwise black and white rooms and would make the perfect stylish events space.
And there’s also a gym and indoor jacuzzi. A fair amount is packed into this intimate townhouse that was originally a 1930’s office.
We really enjoyed our stay the boutique 101 Hotel Reykjavik. Don’t expect value for money but this true of most Iceland hotels, and you certainly find style, comfort and a great location.
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