Hotel Review: Centerhotel Arnarhvoll, Reykjavik

30/11/2010 18:23 | Updated 22 May 2015

A stylish bolthole in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, the hotel overlooks the sea and is the perfect base to explore the city's centre.

Hotel Arnarhvoll

The USP: Minimalist chic with great views out over the bay around Reykjavik, with its own mini spa and rooftop restaurant but without the high Icelandic price tag you might expect.

Book it now if: You're looking for a base to explore Iceland. The hotel is a five minute walk from the centre, not too far even on freezing autumn days, but far enough that the Friday and Saturday night pub crawls won't be taking place underneath your window, while there's parking and the big excursion companies will pick you up from the doorstep. The English speaking staff are efficient, if not particularly friendly, and although the spa isn't huge, the mini steam room and Jacuzzi are perfect after a day exploring in freezing temperatures.

Bedding down: Fans of oversized rooms will be disappointed – Reykjavik's hotel bedrooms tend to be on the cosy side, but there's plenty of stylish little touches to keep you happy. The open wardrobe is a cleverly designed mix of function and Scandinavian chic, while the duvets are so toasty warm that you won't need any heating on. The bathroom has its own foldaway shower, although no toiletries, and some rooms look out to the sea – if you're travelling before 2011, you'll probably also have a view of the cranes around the half-built concert hall, although it looks set to be impressive when it's finished.

Feed me: The rooftop restaurant has fantastic views out over the city and there's an outdoor section for warmer days. If you visit out of season, you'll get to see the light breaking over Reykjavik when the sun finally rises. Breakfast itself is typically Icelandic, with three or four different types of fish, as well as some less exotic options for those who aren't too experimental in the mornings – fruit bread, waffles, eggs and fruit, among others. You'll need to venture out if you don't want Nescafe though. Unusually for Iceland, it's included in the room rate, although the evening meals are pricy enough to make you wince, so unless you're snowed in, head to the restaurants on nearby Laugavegur.

Easily bored: Even if you're not venturing beyond Reykjavik, there's plenty to keep you entertained. The Old Harbour is a 10 minute walk away along the sea front, where you can book whale and puffin watching tours, while the central square, Ingolfstorg, and stunning Tjörnin lake are all nearby. The National Museum, slightly further out, is still in walking distance too. Check out our Starter for 10 guide for more tips.

What's the damage: Room rates start at around £60 if booked online. If you're staying in a deluxe room, entry to the small spa is free, otherwise it costs £8.50.

Point me in the right direction: Hotel Arnarhvoll, Ingolfsstræti 1, 101 Reykjavik (+354 595 8500/

Hotel Arnarhvoll


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