South Iceland Hotel Tips by toonsarah Top 5 Page for this destination
South Iceland Hotels: 12 reviews and 41 photos
As we were arriving at 4.00 pm, and as in February it gets dark in Iceland soon after 5.00 pm, we decided that we wouldn’t drive to the Hotel Ranga, our main base, on the first day but would instead stay somewhere near to the airport in Keflavik. This also gave us an opportunity to spend the next day in Reykjavik before heading east. We chose the Icelandair Flughotel as it was recommended by both our travel company and VT member Regina1965, and was (supposedly) an easy drive from the airport. I say supposedly, because somehow in all the rain and growing darkness, we managed to get lost and had to ask a passer-by (of whom there were very few in that inclement weather) for directions. Still, we found it, and it proved to be more than adequate for our needs – a good sized room with a comfortable bed (two singles pushed together to make a queen), TV, mini-bar etc. The bathroom however was a bit functional for a four star hotel, being of the capsule style you usually find in the cheaper chains and with just wall-mounted shower gel dispenser. And unless you get very excited by photos of airplanes you will probably find the art-work on the walls a little dull (a shame, as the pieces in the public areas were much more varied and interesting).
There is a large restaurant downstairs, and a small bar. We had dinner in the former (see separate review) and also the breakfast that was included in our room rate. This was good, with juices, various cereals (with lots of seeds, nuts and fruit to add to them), yoghurt, assorted breads, different cold meats and cheeses, sausages and bacon, and a waffle-maker.
Address: Hafnargata 57, Keflavik
Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: There’s a map on the website but we still managed to miss the way in the dark – and note that the GPS they give there is for the WRONG Icelandair Hotel – follow that and you’ll end up in Fludir!
We booked this hotel as part of a special “Northern Lights” deal, choosing it for its reputation as a great place from which to see the Aurora (you can register at reception to be woken up in the middle of the night if it appears). I’m not sure if we would have come here otherwise, as it’s pretty pricey, but despite not delivering on the Aurora (and of course there are no guarantees) we loved the hotel and were very pleased to have had the chance to stay here.
The hotel has apparently been selected as one of the so-called "Great Hotels of the World" and it’s easy to see why. It has a really special atmosphere and you can cosy down here when it’s cold and dreary outside (inevitable at times in an Icelandic winter) or use it as a super-comfortable base from which to go exploring – we did a bit of both. It is definitely a really super place to stay regardless of whether or not the Aurora does its thing. In fact it is almost, but not quite, perfect.
The pluses include its great setting, only a few hundred metres from the Ring Road but seemingly in the middle of nowhere. But do be sure to ask for a river- view room, as those on the other side, while advertised as having mountain views, look out on those mountains across the rather large car park. We were lucky, as our room (#38) was on the river side with direct access to both it (for fantastic sunrise photography opportunities) and one of the hot tubs. We were also very impressed by the very friendly staff and excellent service, and as I have already mentioned, by the wonderful cosy atmosphere throughout.
The (very minor) negative was the relatively small size of the bedroom for the quality and price of the hotel, although it had everything we needed and was fine for just a few nights' stay which I imagine is the norm here. The bathroom was a good size, with a large corner tub and shower, and a good range of toiletries provided, along with plenty of towels on the heated towel rail. We had a flat-screen TV with some English language channels (e.g. Sky News and CNN) as well as movies which had to be paid for (we didn’t bother!) There was a mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, hair-dryer, and towelling robes and flip flops for the hot tub.
Breakfast is included in the rate and is very good, with a wide selection available at the buffet, including various juices, yoghurt drinks, coffee and a range of teas, bread and rolls with assorted jams and spreads, cold meats, cheeses, fish, scrambled eggs and bacon, cereals, dried fruits and fresh, muffins, pastries and biscuits. It is served right through to 11.00 am which makes sense when the sun doesn’t come up until an hour before that. We also had dinner in the restaurant here (there is nowhere else very close, so in the winter you have little choice unless you are prepared to drive after dark) but I will save my rather mixed impressions of that for a separate restaurant review. And on one evening I was feeling a bit rough and didn’t want to eat, so Chris ordered a burger on room service and was very impressed with it – good quality meat, nice accompaniments, generous portion.
Unique Qualities: The manager (owner?) takes a personal interest in all the guests and makes a point of checking at dinner if you are happy with everything. He was very helpful in advising us on our days out, for instance suggesting that we should wait till the following day for our drive to south coast as the weather would be much better – it was, and we were very happy that we’d waited.
We especially liked the small cosy bar, with its wacky bar stools and good value Happy Hour (buy two beers and or wines and pay only for the dearer between 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm). We also developed a taste for the Icelandic Brennivin, the best value digestif on the list, which was served icy cold and tasted a little of caraway. We enjoyed this in the upstairs lounge after our dinner on two of the evenings – a very relaxing space.
And our soak in the hot tub after a day's sightseeing was a wonderful experience...
Comparison: most expensive
Directions: From Reykjavik take the Ring Road east to Hella which you pass through. The hotel is 8km east of Hella on the right, and well sign-posted.
Price: US$180 and up
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