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Best Reykjavik hotels for budget travellers, Icelandic dining and vintage luxury

Best Reykjavik hotels for budget travellers, Icelandic dining and vintage luxury
As more visitors flock to Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, hotels with quirky decor, vintage vibes and social spaces have boomed in the city’s landscape

Visitor numbers to Iceland grew in just one decade by 500 per cent as the backdrop of Game of Thrones revealed the wonders of this isolated nation. With accessible otherworldly landscapes positioned like they’re in a geographical theme park, visitors can hike between tectonic plates, bathe in natural steaming hot springs, peer into volcanoes, walk glaciers see more than 200 tumbling waterfalls. Reykjavik is an ideal base for exploring the best of the nation, and the boost in visitors has led to a boom in places to lay our heads

The best hotels in Reykjavik are:

<p>The bar area at the sociable Kex Hostel</s>

The bar area at the sociable Kex Hostel

Best for a social scene: Kex Hostel

Neighbourhood: Mioborg

Kex is branded as a hostel, but this renovated biscuit factory offers a range of stylish accommodation options, including private doubles with en-suite bathrooms and ocean views. Ample communal space – a guest kitchen, gym, barbershop and heated outdoor patio that fills up when the weather is nice – creates a buzzy atmosphere that encourages mingling; and the gastropub Saemundur attracts as many travellers as it does working locals who come for wifi, coffee and craft beer.

Pris: Dorms from KR4,216 (£ 26), doubles from KR12,976 (£ 80)

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The Art Deco Hotel Borg dates back to 1930
The Art Deco Hotel Borg dates back to 1930

Best for luxury: Hotel Borg

Neighbourhood: Mioborg

Located in the heart of downtown, the 99-room art-deco Hotel Borg has set the standard for Reykjavik luxury hotels since it opened in 1930. It’s since been renovated, though many original fixtures, vintage accents and black and white photos of Reykjavik remain. Rooms feature lacquered tables, heated bathroom floors, high ceilings and stylish Bang & Olufsen TVs. There’s an onsite Jamie’s Italian and a spa with a steam bath, sauna and hot tub.

Pris: Doubles from KR32,115 (£198)

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Sleep easy in the knowledge that the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel is committed to environmental sustainability
Sleep easy in the knowledge that the Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel is committed to environmental sustainability

Best for a clean conscience: Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel

Neighbourhood: Hlemmur

Set a few steps off Laugavegur, the city’s main shopping street, is the 65-room Eyja. It’s part of Guldsmeden Hotels, a Danish group with a focus on sustainability. It’s the first Icelandic hotel to be Green Globe certified. Rooms feel earthy and organic, with rough-hewn-wood four-poster beds, sheepskin throws and natural fabrics like cotton, wool and leather throughout. Eyja uses at least 90 per cent organic produce in the food it serves and employs a 360-degree sustainability management system with an emphasis on environmental responsibility.

Pris: Doubles from KR23,513 (£145)

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<p>One of the suites at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina</s>

One of the suites at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina

Neighbourhood: Harbour

The quirky nautical-themed Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina is set on the edge of the downtown harbourfront, has rooms with sailing knot diagrams and maps as wallpaper, life rings on the balconies and a mini climbing wall in the gym. It’s also home to the chic bar and seasonal restaurant Slippbarinn (named after the adjacent dry-dock), a perennial favourite among locals. Serving breakfast, brunch and an all-day menu of modern Icelandic fare, such as langoustine flatbread and soup with the day’s catch, it’s a popular spot any time; but especially during happy hour, when creative cocktails are served at a discount.

Pris: Doubles from KR25,301 (£156)

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Canopy by Hilton, Reykjavik City Centre, used to house a furniture factory
Canopy by Hilton, Reykjavik City Centre, used to house a furniture factory

Best for Icelandic culture: Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre

Neighbourhood: Mioborg

Composed of six interconnected houses that were part of a furniture factory from 1937-1963, the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre has been fully renovated, but still nods to its past – and Iceland’s unique natural setting. Rooms are decked out in muted versions of the country’s natural colours: slate grey reminiscent of volcanic rock, pale blue the colour of the sea and pastel green like the moss-covered countryside. Local artwork lines the walls, the snack shop sells Icelandic artisanal chocolate and the library is stocked with books from Icelandic authors.

Pris: Doubles from KR27,083 (£167)

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The Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel is ideal for business travellers to the city
The Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel is ideal for business travellers to the city

Best for business: Radisson Blu 1919 Hotell

Neighbourhood: Mioborg

The 88-room Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel is set in a century-old building in the heart of downtown, within easy walking distance to visitor attractions like the Harpa concert hall and Reykjavik Art Museum, as well as the city hall, parliament and the prime minister’s office. Rooms offer all the modern trappings, and there’s a fitness centre, three meeting rooms and the 1919 Restaurant, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Pris: Doubles from KR25,790 (£159)

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History buffs will appreciate the heritage of the Sand Hotel
History buffs will appreciate the heritage of the Sand Hotel

Best for history: Sand Hotel

Neighbourhood: Mioborg

The 67-room art deco-style Sand Hotel is built around three historic buildings on Laugavegur Street. Sandholt Bakery and Gudsteinn Eyjolfsson men’s clothing shop, which have been serving Reykjavik for more than a century, are on the ground floor; the former provides the hotel’s continental breakfast, while the latter offers in-room shopping with delivery to the hotel. Out front, a small plaque commemorates the most important historical aspect: behind the hotel sits the small house where Nobel Prize-winning author Halldor Laxness was born in 1902.

Pris: Doubles from KR22,705 (£ 140)

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The snowy exterior of the Reykjavik Marina Residence
The snowy exterior of the Reykjavik Marina Residence

Best for a home away from home: Reykjavik Marina Residence

Neighbourhood: Harbour

Located next to the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina hotel, the Residence offers a homely environment with all the conveniences of a hotel. Set in a 20th-century townhouse, it includes one two-storey suite and six one-room Residence Suites, each with balcony, minibar, Sóley Organics Icelandic toiletries and Lin Design linens. Breakfast is included and all suites share access to the Residence Lounge where complimentary refreshments are offered every evening.

Pris: Doubles from KR58,960 (£367)

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Reykjavik isn't cheap, but the colourful rooms at the Loft Hostel are a budget option
Reykjavik isn’t cheap, but the colourful rooms at the Loft Hostel are a budget option

Best for budget travellers: Loft

Neighbourhood: Mioborg

Another genre-crosser, Loft offers both hostel and hotel accommodations. The Double Deluxe Rooms are basic but cosy, with large windows overlooking Laugavegur, soft beds and small-but-functional tiled bathrooms. Guests also have access to the top-floor balcony cafe for breakfast and light bites, and a self-catering kitchen to save even more on the high cost of dining in Reykjavik.

Pris: Dorms from KR6,976 (£43), doubles from KR19,142 (£118)

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