Where we slept. Iceland edition.
Our epic trip to Iceland ended a few weeks ago and we are already planning a trip back. While we were able to explore so much of the island, there’s still more to be discovered. Plus, we missed the puffins (they are just arriving now) and barely got to see the Northern Lights. Looks like we’ll have to make a few trips back and we’re not even mad about it.
Below is a list of where we laid our heads while we traveled through Iceland. They range from boutique hotels to welcoming farm stays. Scroll through to see which type of accommodation would be best for your future trips to Iceland.
Like I mentioned in our post about things to know before traveling to Iceland, one of our best decisions was to head straight to the Blue Lagoon from the airport. This detour allowed us to fight off jet lag with a warm soak in the lagoon. It wasn’t until we checked into our Icelandair hotel in Reykjavik that I started feeling the effects of our red-eye flight. While I tried my best to stay awake as long as possible in order to put myself on a decent schedule, the beds at the Reykjavik Marina Icelandair hotel were so welcoming (and comfortable).
The staff at the hotel weren’t only friendly, they were hilarious. Whether they were checking us in, helping with directions, or serving up our morning cup of coffee, they were doing it with a smile and with a joke. We felt like we were hanging out and conversing with friends. Some hotels lack personality but this was not one of them.
The decor. When we first walked in I immediately looked at Chris and began pointing to all of the furniture that I wanted for our apartment. I don’t think there was anything about the decor that I didn’t like. Our room featured intricate knots and bright colors that were inspired by Iceland’s nautical traditions. Our room basked in a ton of natural light (which is always a plus for us) and there were adorable facts about Iceland and the hotel that were strewn around the room.
Breakfast at the hotel was the stuff that dreams are made of. The spread was massive with platters of cheese, meats, fruit, and a plethora of other drool-inducing treats. We don’t know what it is about bread in Iceland but it’s just more delicious. For a person that tries not to overindulge in carbs, I had at least one piece with breakfast every single day. My guilt was surpassed by the sheer joy of my taste buds. We should also mention that the hotel’s Slippbarinn bar has incredible decor and a delicious happy hour. 2-for-1 drinks for the win!
While we could have spent our entire trip warm and cozy at our Icelandair hotel in Reykjavik, the rest of the island called. Our Iceland road trip around the southern and eastern parts of the island had us staying in various accommodations by Icelandic Farm Holidays.
Our first stop on our Icelandic road trip was at hotel Katla. Located just outside the coastal town of Vik, the hotel was a comfortable respite from the insane blizzard we found ourselves in. The hotel has a restaurant on site as well as a sauna and two outdoor hot tubs.
By far, the favorite part of our stay at Hotel Katla was the outdoor hot tub and sauna. Lola, Chris, and I spent over three hours soaking ourselves in the hot tub while interspersing dares of snow angels and freezing somersaults (Reyka vodka was indeed present). On a clear winter night the hot tub would also serve as an incredible spot to view the Northern Lights.
This farm stay was one of the coziest we encountered. Making it to the farm just before another big storm hit, we were greeted by a friendly dog who practically herded us to our rooms. This was the only stay where we didn’t have en suite bathrooms, but what it lacked in toilets it made up for in character. Frida, our host, made sure that we were comfortable and even left us a hand written note and freshly baked bread in the morning. A visit to the nearby geothermal hot springs was included in our stay but we sadly never experienced them as we had to hit the road early the next morning. We have it on the to-do list for next time.
We have high praise for the freshly baked bread that was served at our Hoffell farm stay. Throw some of the homemade jam on top and you’ve got yourself one delicious breakfast. There’s not a restaurant on site but we asked Frida for dining recommendations and found ourselves gorging on freshly caught lobster for dinner. The nearby town of Höfn is known for its lobster and they serve it up on pizzas, in salads, and straight up.
Ah, the Egilsstaðir guesthouse was probably one of my favorite stays on our trip. With all the charm of an old farm house and the modern amenities of home, this stay perfectly melded character with convenience. Our room was spacious with a huge bathroom and lots of natural light. The windows looked out to beautiful Lake Lagarfljót where the famed Lagarfljótsormur (sea serpent) is said to live. While we didn’t spot the sneaky Lagarfljótsormur, we did hear rumors of elves that once resided in town- although our friend at the front desk looked at us as if we were insane. If you’re looking for tamer creatures, there’s a cow barn located on the property.
Aside from the decor (think Old World charm), the three of us really enjoyed the fully loaded bar (surprise surprise) and the onsite restaurant. The dinner menu boasted local beef, lamb, arctic char, and perfectly smoked salmon. Breakfast was served buffet style with an assortment of cheese, breads, skyr yogurt, and meat and like all foods in Iceland, it was delicious.
Our last stay with Icelandic Farm Holidays was at the lovely Hotel Geirland. Located in a basket of basalt and often cloaked in the Northern Lights, this hotel was the perfect way to end our road trip. The property was quiet while we were there but it appeared to have plenty of rooms-and even private cabins-to accompany an assortment of guests.
The adorable Icelandic horses that frolicked outside the hotel were a real selling point for us. These beautiful hooved creatures rocking Bieber-esc manes were so friendly and all too willing to eat smuggled sugar cubes from our open palms. Horses aside, the property’s restaurant featured a skyr cake that was a slice of pure sin and the gentleman at the front desk was very friendly and helped us decipher for aurora forecast for that night.
We were fortunate enough to team up with our buddies at Flipkey Vacation Rentals while in Iceland. As you might recall, last June we stayed at an enormous Flipkey townhouse rental in Toronto for TBEX 2013. This time we found ourselves in a modern penthouse loft in the heart of Reykjavik’s shopping district. What we love most about apartment rentals is that we always feel closer to a destination when we are living like the locals. We only stayed in this apartment for two nights but could have easily settled for more. There were even talks of all three of us (and Inga of Tiny Iceland) buying the apartment. That’s how much we loved it.
Our Flipkey rental couldn’t have been in a better location. Just outside our door was Laugavegur street, dotted with all of its eye-and wallet-catching stores. The Big Lebowski bar could be seen from our balcony and the ginormous windows made for ideal late night people watching. A grocery store was a two minute walk away and the all-important liquor store was also nearby. If you’re coming to Iceland but won’t have access to a car, this apartment is for you.
Have you been to Iceland? Which accommodation option would be your choice? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Our accommodations in Iceland were sponsored in part by the generous companies listed above. As always, all opinions are our own. That being said, we would highly recommend any of the hotels and farm stays above to our friends and family that are visiting Iceland.