Hotel rating: Reykjavik Edition, Iceland
The Edition Hotels, part of the Marriott Group, are based on two paradoxical ideas. Despite their collective identity as a chain, they each have their own idiosyncratic character — and each aspires to be a boutique hotel on a grand scale.
The Reykjavik Edition is one of the newest, having launched in late 2021, just as Iceland was reopening from the pandemic. And like its predecessors, it’s a very stylish place to stay. It shares a clean, modern aesthetic with lots of sleek, dark surfaces in the perfumed corridors and common areas — but here they’re complemented by a distinctly Nordic touch. Light woods and unpolished concrete are softened by sheepskins, wool blankets, and faux fur draped generously over beds, banquettes, and restaurant chairs.
However, what really sets this hotel apart is its location. Right on the water, it overlooks the glass-clad Harpa Concert Hall and beyond, across the water, the snow-capped peak of Mount Esja and the Snæfellsjökull glacier. Rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of the area.
Why are you coming here?
A small city with a big personality, Europe’s northernmost capital is both a remote outpost and a cozy compendium of everything we’ve come to love about the Nordic way of life. With warm cafes, cool restaurants and the relaxing feeling that nature still has a place even in the heart of the city, Reykjavik is more than just a starting point for an island tour.
What should I do
Edition Hotel is right next to Reykjavik’s main shopping district, a network of narrow streets lined with shops and cafes. In a world of extraordinary high streets, the architecture here remains unique: corrugated iron is the building material of choice, brightly painted and attached to hut-like houses, churches and shops, giving even the heart of the city a village-like feel.
Walk along the harbor and you’ll find Jon Gunnar Arnason’s Sun Voyager sculpture (above), a humble Viking ship overlooking the bay. At the National Museum of Iceland you can learn about the country’s relatively short human history – it was settled just over a thousand years ago.
Or turn inland and stroll around Tjornin, a scenic lake (frozen half the year) from which to admire the skyline – and plan your route to Hallgrimskirkja (below), the modernist church whose Concrete tower rises above the city. Strongly Lutheran on the outside, it reveals a warmth inside, where its light-wood pews — and colossal pipe organ — glow in the bright sunlight streaming through its plain glass windows.
Most visitors to Reykjavik are also on the way or come from Iceland’s great nature. It’s a landscape like no other that embraces the nobility of the people Blue Lagoon and the wildness of the glaciers and volcanoes who shaped the island. That golden circle is an excellent introduction that includes geysers, waterfalls and hot springs in an itinerary that fits into a manageable day trip from the capital.
From April to September you can join a whale watching expedition from the port. Sightings are never guaranteed, but you have a good chance of seeing humpback whales or blue whales on a full-day excursion. The other half of the year you can head out to sea in search of the Northern Lights – or wait at the hotel for them to come to you, which is a regular but unpredictable occurrence between October and March.
Hiking is possible at any time of the year, but should be undertaken with caution, especially in winter. Icelandic weather can change from benign to wild in an instant, and snowstorms can occur at higher elevations at any time of the year. Organized tours offer the assurance of expert guidance and assistance.
If you want to get even closer to nature, you can take a unique piece glacier tour and descend through a tunnel into the ice and walk through layers of snow and volcanic ash deposited over the past few decades. Or don a dry suit and snorkel through the crystal clear glacier meltwater Silfra Fissurewhere the continental plates of Europe and North America diverge.
what to eat
tide, Edition Reykjavik’s restaurant, is a good place to start. The a la carte breakfast includes the traditional bacon and eggs, as well as various combinations of avocado, feta and smoked salmon on roasted rye and sourdough. Dinner is a more distinctly Nordic affair, with reindeer and plenty of seafood choices. The veggies are particularly well done: heirloom tomatoes with Ferkosti cheese are fresh and surprisingly luxurious.
In addition to the hotel, Reykjavik has an enviable dining scene. dill is the main proponent of the “New Nordic” movement, which relies heavily on collected ingredients and places sustainability at the heart of its mission. Grillmarkadurinn is a little less austere: it serves grilled meats and fish in a restaurant that seems hollowed out of pure rock. The tasting menu is a highlight.
When to go
Summer and winter offer two very different experiences of the country. In the dead of winter you only have a few hours of daylight to enjoy the snowy wonderland and roads can be closed, especially inland – but this is Iceland at its purest. Summer is the better time for hiking and other outdoor activities—and there’s still snow in the central highlands.
how to get there
British Airways, Icelandair and easyJet fly to Reykjavik from a number of UK cities, from around £120 return.
how to book
Rooms are available from Reykjavik Edition website from around £370 per night.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/travel/956456/reykjavik-edition-hotel-review-iceland Hotel rating: Reykjavik Edition, Iceland