Reykjavik: Icelandair Natura
Despite a revolving door of one-night-only guests, this Icelandair hotel is a stylish and cozy oasis of calm. One of a handful of Icelandair hotels in Iceland, the Natura flawlessly mirrors the natural beauty found right on its doorstep. Built in 1966 and renovated in 2011, it gives green-certified comfort, great art—and attuned service.
Vibe: As the airport is next door, the domestic business traffic at the Icelandair Natura is considerable and well-catered to. Then, there are the tourists: Fleece-clad adventurers on their way to and from excursions to the magnificent countryside (in rented 4 x 4s with a driver); young marrieds who take advantage of a stopover package, checking in for a few days before heading on to Europe; nature-lovers who like to escape to the surrounding parkland yet still be “in town”; people en route to northern cities like Akureyri to see the Northern Lights.
Rooms: The 200 rooms exude authentic Iceland character, i.e. they’re spartan. Simple, modern décor includes lots of blond wood, parquet flooring, wool felt and clean lines (and little fridges). You have everything you need and little else, which is just the way I like it. Sóley Organics amenities in the bathroom deliver the benefits of local healing herbs and oils.
F&B: Satt Kitchen does breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks and it’s kind of a miracle that they keep it so very clean. Find the standard hotel menu items like pizzas and sandwiches, plus a nice selection of Icelandic food to keep the locals happy and to expand your taste horizons. An in-house bakery is another example of the hotel’s high comfort factor.
Extras: The art is a breath of even more fresh air. The work of Icelandic painters and sculptors is front and centre, including the whimsical wooden creations of Adalheidur S. Eysteinsdottir, which you will find all over Iceland. There’s even a small gallery to escape to. The library also shows films if you don’t feel like sequestering yourself in your room. There’s also an indoor swimming pool and a nice spa.
Off-Site: The Icelandair Natura sits in the woodlands at the edge of town, just a five-minute walk from Reykjavik’s domestic airport next door. Designated parkland surrounding the hill of Oskjuhlid nets you hiking trails and cycling paths, and the fresh ocean air of Nautholsvik geothermal beach is 15 minutes away if you fancy a kayak or a swim. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the Perlan, a glass-domed museum and restaurant, and the city centre is a 20-minute walk away.