On my recent trip to Iceland, I spent a couple of nights at the 101 Hotel, a design hotel in Reykjavik.
101 Hotel is a member of the Design Hotels™ scheme – a Mr and Mrs Smith style curation of small, luxury hotels. And 101 certainly brings a bit of style swag to the table.
Here’s what I thought of my stay there…
Reykjavik feels like a tiny city, particularly if you’re coming from a sprawl like London. Only a couple of hundred thousand people live in the whole of Iceland, with about a third of the population residing in the capital.
101 Hotel sits right in the thick of this compact city centre. It’s a corner property, with one side overlooking the beautiful Harpa Concert and Conference Hall and the surrounding harbour.
The other side faces one of the main streets in Reykjavik, filled with bars, pubs, restaurants and souvenir shops.
Which means everything is within incredibly easy walking distance. Brauð & Co., Seabaron, Sushi Social, ROK, Krost and Kaffitar are just a few of my newly found favourites.
And you can easily make your way from the hotel and around non-foodie city sights within an hour or two.
Hop in a hire car and it takes about 50 minutes to drive into Reykjavik. There’s also a bus, which probs takes a little longer.
As for parking, the hotel has five, first-come-first-served spaces in a kind of internal courtyard behind the hotel.
But if you’re not lucky enough to snag a space, I found that there were plenty of on-street places to park nearby. Just watch out for any restrictions or fees.
101 Hotel Reykjavik is set in a former office block from the 1930s. And the hotel’s façade is as glamorous as that last sentence would suggest.
Outside the place looks grey and austere. With maybe (just maybe) a hint of retro charm. Let’s be honest, I’m being generous there.
But the reason this place is a proud and perky member of the Design Hotels™ scheme becomes crystal clear when you walk through the door.
You’re greeted by minimalist Scandi design, clean lines and a cool monochrome palette. 101 is understated and super-chic. But manages to be warm and welcoming at the same time.
That’s partly down to the guys at reception who, give them their dues, don’t play up to the high-end design. They’re friendly and helpful and happy to divulge their city tips.
And partly down to the cosy lobby lounge area with its contemporary fireplace and natural wood furnishings.
I stayed in the Deluxe Room. You can get cheaper rooms that are smaller. And more expensive rooms that are bigger and balconied. So the Deluxe fell somewhere in the middle.
As far as my Reykjavik room went, it was spacious. There was free Wi-Fi. Win. And Bluetooth Bang & Olufsen speakers for all my musical needs.
Underfloor heating warmed my tootsies on a cold Icelandic day. And there were blackout blinds that I imagine come in handy if you’re visiting during the long daylight hours of summer.
The bathroom came with fluffy bathrobes and slippers and a spacious walk-in shower. And everything was beautifully and luxuriously designed in the hotel’s signature black and white tones.
One thing to note, however. Being right in the heart of Reykjavik city centre has its pros. But also its cons.
If you’re a light sleeper and you think noise from the street might keep you from your kip, request one of the hotel’s quieter rooms on the Harpa Concert Hall side of the building. Or bring your earplugs to guarantee some quality ZZZs.
The hotel’s bar-cum-dining-room-cum-breakfast-room can be found on the ground floor.
Breakfast is a reassuringly familiar affair. Coffee, juices, cold cuts, eggs and steaming bowls of porridge to warm your insides before heading outside.
During the day, the place serves up modern Icelandic and international cuisine. As well as special happy hour and brunch menus.
101 Hotel has a few other perks up its sleeve.
Down in the basement of the hotel, there’s a fully-fledged gym and a mini spa, fitted with steam room and Jacuzzi. In-room massages are available too.
You can also while away some time wandering the 101 Gallery, the hotel’s curated collection of Icelandic artworks.
This isn’t the usual – let’s be honest, bland – art offering you tend to get in hotels. The collection has been carefully put together. And there are some really interesting pieces to take a peek at.
Minimal, trendy but comfortable. 101 Hotel is the perfect base for a stay in Reykjavik.