Heading out of Reykjavik I was prepared for hotels and restaurants to veer country bumpkin.
Out of the big city, where there’s a lot less competition, surely standards wouldn’t be quite as stellar, I thought to myself.
How wrong could I be?
Hótel Kría, Vik and the Drangar restaurant it houses provided some of the best experiences I had across the whole of Iceland. They topped the list when it came to style, service and the quality of their offering.
Read my full review of Hótel Kría, Vik below, to discover what made the place so special…
Hótel Kría, Vik is two and a half hours’ drive from Reykjavik. If you’re coming from the opposite direction, it takes around three and a half hours to get here from Höfn.
However you plan on making your approach, there are some great pit stops along the way. Glacier lagoons halfway to Höfn and beautiful waterfalls in between Vik and Reykjavik.
From either direction, you’re rolling down Iceland’s one and only main road. So no need for in-car, map reading disputes with your travel buddy. Winner!
Vik is a well-known little village in Iceland. It’s the first place of note you come across when you head southeast out of Reykjavik.
Despite being remote, Vik is famous for a couple of things. Number one. It’s right by the black sand beach, Reynisfjara (which you can actually see from Hótel Kría).
Game of Thrones fanboys might recognise Reynisfjara’s dramatic cliffs and the stones sticking out of the sea from Season 7. But even if GOT holds zero interest for you, it’s a spectacular location to visit.
Claim to fame number 2. Vik sits in the shadow of the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier. Snowmobile across its surface or go ice caving to explore its depths if outdoor adventure is your kinda caper.
Less awe-inspiring but nonetheless essential for Icelandic road trippers are Vik’s petrol station and supermarket. And there’s a pretty little church, up on a hill overlooking Vik bay, that’s well worth a stroll if the weather is amenable.
Approaching Hótel Kría, I was put more in mind of a bunker than a boutique hotel. This long, low-slung structure looks strong enough to withstand the very worst weather the North Atlantic happens to send its way.
The hotel’s practical aesthetic was really appealing. You feel very protected from the elements once you’re inside. Especially because the interior design is so warm, welcoming and beautiful.
It’s Nordic minimalism 100%. Natural materials. Lighting with a whole lot of hygge. Straight lines and stylish simplicity. And absolutely nothing OTT.
Hótel Kría felt like the perfect retreat. Whilst huge windows still give you a view onto that dramatic landscape surrounding the hotel.
Hótel Kría, Vik has 72 rooms and one suite. I switched between a double room and a suite, for the full Hótel Kría experience.
Double rooms are a no frills, no thrills kind of affair. And I don’t mean that negatively.
There’s everything you could possibly need to be completely and utterly comfortable – Wi-Fi, a big screen TV and a sink-in-to-me double bed. But nothing unnecessary or showy in terms of design or facilities.
You can either get a double that faces the road and the seafront (Vik is dead after dark so there’s no need to worry about excessive noise). Or a double that faces the mountains behind the hotel.
I’d opt for the latter if you’ve got the choice. The rooms’ floor to ceiling windows give you a picture perfect view of those huge, moss-green mountains. Lying in bed and soaking up that vista felt like a really unique experience.
Onto the suite. Obvs there’s more space and a few extra facilities. There’s a little lounge area. A desk, which was useful for editing photos and catching up with emails (to make sure the world hadn’t fallen apart in my absence).
The bathroom was huge, with both bathtub and shower. There’s an espresso machine for that early morning caffeine hit. And the L-shaped configuration meant sea views on two sides.
In keeping with Hótel Kría’s streamlined approach, you can choose to pay for little add-ons to make your stay exactly what you want it to be.
For instance, amenity kits containing the things I always tend to ignore in a hotel room – a comb, toothbrush, sewing kit, slippers and the like – can be purchased from reception if you’re in desperate need.
You can also pay extra for early check-in or late checkout, which gets more expensive the longer you plan on lounging in your room.
If you’ve been out chasing the northern lights all night, it would be well worth coughing up the extra dough for a few more hours in bed.
So I thought this was a really fresh, flexible and personalised approach to guests and their requirements.
Breakfast was included in the room rate and served in Hótel Kría’s Drangar restaurant.
It was a self-service shebang with everything you could possibly want to ingest first thing in the morning. All delicious and all in plentiful supply.
A special shout out goes to the Drangar restaurant tea station. Without doubt, the most picturesque tea station I’ve ever poured a brew from in my life. Check out the picture below.
The whole of the restaurant, in fact, is stunningly beautiful. Huge windows and an L-shaped configuration make you feel like you’re amongst nature, whilst actually sitting in a warm, cosy dining room quaffing croissants and coffee.
I’ve dedicated a post to dinner at the Drangar restaurant here so I’ll try and keep effusive descriptions here to a minimum. No promises, folks.
Drangar’s modus operandi is modern Icelandic cuisine made with fresh local ingredients. The food is excellent, with service to match.
With all the trekking around I did, I found my Icelandic appetite took some satisfying. But I ate here both nights of my stay and was treated to hearty portions of mouth-watering seafood that more than filled my belly.
I’d recommend a stop at Drangar even if you’re not staying at Hótel Kría. And I’d definitely try to pay a visit during half-price happy hour, which runs from 3.30pm to 6pm.
The staff at Hótel Kría, Vik are phenomenal. There’s no other word for it. I walked through the door, and the reception got the biggest, most welcoming smile.
The guys there have loads of information on excursions and tours. And they can arrange no end of outdoor escapades.
They will also, if instructed, give you a wakeup call when the northern lights make an appearance. So you get to see one of earth’s great spectacles and get a decent night’s kip to boot.
Throughout the hotel, the staff are friendly and ready to help. It’s really a five-star service.
My review of Hótel Kría, Vik was always going to be gushing. I get a goofy smile on my face just thinking about the place.
It’s a relatively new property – they only opened in 2018 – but Hótel Kría is already at the forefront of the hotel industry in Iceland.
Great location, outstanding service, beautiful design, reasonable room rates. I could obviously go on.
But I’ll keep it short and sweet and say that I had a memorable couple of nights at Hótel Kría, Vik and I can’t wait to go back.