Due to the high cost of visiting Iceland, even travelers who don’t consider themselves “budget travelers” may have a hard time coming to terms with the prices for accommodations. While private rooms (usually with shared bathrooms) in smaller guesthouses and hostels can be had for around $100 per night, you’ll spend more like $200 on anything even approaching luxury. If you’re looking for a more traditional hotel experience – luxurious queen or king bed, flat screen tv, ensuite bathroom with jacuzzi tub – expect to pay close to $300 per night, and know that you’ll have few options outside of the capital city, Reykjavik.
If you’re looking for upscale accommodation, check out the chain of Icelandair Hotels scattered around the country. There are several around the capital: two in Reykjavik, one near the airport, and two just outside the city. There’s also one in the north near Akureyri, one near Vatnajokull glacier, and one in east Iceland in Egilsstadir. Here’s how they compare.
One of Icelandair’s Reykjavik accommodations, the four-star Reykjavík Natura (formerly Hotel Loftleidir)is near the Pearl, close to Nauthólsvík thermal beach and the domestic airport. It would be about a 25 minute walk into the city center, though the hotel also runs a free shuttle. There’s a movie theatre, restaurant, spa, bike rental and pool onsite, and the 220 rooms are spacious with modern decor and conveniences like tvs, hair dryers, and wi-fi.
The other city center accommodation, the Reykjavik Marina hotel will open in April of 2012 with 111 rooms, a gym, bar and restaurant. Located in a three-story building on Myrargata, it will be close to the shops, restaurants, galleries and harbor of Reykjavik.
On the Reykjanes Peninsula, a 15 minute drive from the Blue Lagoon, the Hotel Keflavik offers excellent accommodation for those with a very early flight out of Iceland. The four-star hotel is five minutes from the Keflavík International Airport and offers a bar and cafe, sauna and fitness center, free wireless internet, free parking, and free transport to the airport after your stay.
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Close to the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park and the geothermal area on the slopes of Mt. Hengill, a 30-minute drive from Reykjavík, this three-star hotel offers a fitness room, sauna, restaurant and outdoor hot tub. The 22 rooms each have phone, TV, radio and wireless Internet acces, along with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
In the north of Iceland, in the country’s second largest city, Hotel Akureyri makes a great base for exploring Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss, Husavik, and the other attractions of northern Iceland. The hotel offers a restaurant, ski storage room, a bar, and a heated pool and a fitness center within a two-minute walk.
One hour away from Reykjavik, tourists interested in golf can stay at the Hotel Hamar, which offers an 18-hole golf course in West Iceland. The three star hotel also offers a restaurant and bar, and outdoor hot tubs, and the 30 ground floor guestrooms offer modern amenities like hair dryers, tvs and wireless internet.
In the east Iceland town of Egilsstadir, the Hotel Herad offers stylish and comfortable accommodation close to some of Iceland’s best outdoor activities like bird watching, fishing and hiking. The three-star hotel has a bar, restaurant and 24-hour room service, and the 60 ensuite rooms are modern and spacious, decorated with sleekly designed furniture and muted colors.
Those looking to explore the glaciers of Iceland can stay at Hotel Klauster, which is located mid-way between Myrdalsjokull glacier and Vatnajokull in southern Iceland. The three-star hotel offers a restaurant and bar, and easy access to a local swimming pool and 9-hole golf course. Standard and superior rooms are available, as well as spacious suites.
On hour away from Reykjavik, the three-star, single-story Hotel Fludir is located in an ideal stop-off point in South Iceland, close to the Golden Circle, excellent hiking spots and outdoor activities like white-water rafting and horseback riding. The 32 guest rooms are all ensuite, with hardwood floors and access to the hotel garden.
Rates at each hotel vary, but expect to pay anywhere from $180 to $350 per night, and even more in high season. However, as Icelandair owns the hotels, it often offers affordable packages that include flight and three nights of hotel for under $600 per person, particularly in off-season.