My wife and I spent five days in Iceland from 9th - 14th Feb 2012 with the holiday being booked via an Icelandair "Northern Lights" offer. We had a super time and loved Iceland and this hotel.
Upon arrival at the "Hotel Icelandair Natura" we were invited to upgrade our room for about £20 a night and we did so, although in fairness we had no knowledge of what a standard room was like. We had initially thought that an upgrade included breakfast and this probably influenced our decision at check-in although staff quickly and politely advised us that this was not so.
We were allocated a lovely room on the third floor with a comfortable bed, coffee & tea making, a great bathroom with personal bathrobes and access to the fourth floor lounge every evening where we enjoyed free soft drinks, coffee and various home made pastries etc. There were some minor issues with the upgrade that required attention from the hotel staff but these were resolved within a reasonable time and caused us no problem. I think the efficient resolution of problems is a positive issue. At all times we found the staff to be professional, polite and always helpful. They were a credit to the hotel and Icelandair.
The interior of the hotel is extremely pleasant and we certainly enjoyed the wonderful spa pool, using our robes to relax in after a swim within the lounge area. Access to the (free) computers in the reception area was relatively easy to achieve although at busy times there was a short wait but the personal time allocated to each user was sufficient for our use. Additionally the tour desk situated close to reception was ideal and we booked various day trips after our arrival at the hotel in accordance with our daily plans.
There were only two slightly negative issues experienced, the first being that of the geographic position of the hotel in relation to the centre of Reykjavik although a free shuttle operates to and from the hotel at various times of the day. The second negative issue (for us) is the high cost of dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
We did use the hotel shuttle buses when we could and were grateful for the travel into the city centre but I felt that in the cold February weather there was an insufficient number available for the return journey especially mid afternoon or mid evening. We walked many times in wind, snow and rain, taking about 30 minutes although it has to be said that the walk route is on good pathways with road crossing being facilitated by traffic lights and the courteous Icelandic drivers who we found always gave way to pedestrians. I recognise that in summer this may not be so much of an issue and may not be an issue if guests decided not to venture out of the hotel other than on pre-booked activity tours. Reykjavik is not a New York, London or Paris in terms of city sights but it is a charming city with lots of character with great coffee shops, restaurants and other delights and as such it would be sad to ignore what is on offer.
I wonder if more shuttles could be provided especially one during the late afternoon and one mid evening although I recognise that this would incur additional expense for the hotel. Perhaps a way around this could be with the cost of all shuttle trips being met via a small token fare from hotel guests?
Prior to our trip we knew that Iceland was an expensive place to visit but we quickly realised that to eat in the hotel regularly would really stretch our bank balance. Breakfast was 2300K (£14) each which isn't too bad but when we ate (once) in the Saga restaurant a two course meal, with one glass of wine each was, over 12300K (£70 or $105 in real money) before the tip/gratuity. Notwithstanding the high cost, that one meal was however delicious and we had a very pleasant night but our budget would have been hard hit if we had eaten all meals within the hotel over a five day period.
Perhaps I could suggest that the hotel consider offering a less expensive "menu of the day" or even a buffet alongside to the main menu, similar to that which is often seen in other parts of Europe and the USA. The hotel did offer a range of "light bites" but these were equally expensive and insufficient for the purpose of a meal. As a consequence we mainly dined in Reykjavik as did other hotel residents that we spoke to, enjoying the many coffee shops and city restaurants with good meals being served to us for what we considered a reasonable cost.
As a tip try to visit the Klinglan shopping mall which has a great food hall where you can buy everything from traditional Icelandic fare to what may be considered international, at very reasonable prices. On one cold afternoon returning from a tour, I have no qualms in admitting that in this mall, we enjoyed huge slices of pizza from the US based company "Sbarro", wonderful, and cost only about 650K each (£4 or $6). We then enjoyed "Earl Grey" tea with huge cakes for about the same price!
My wife and I have already agreed that we would love to return to Iceland, perhaps at a different time of the year in order that we can contrast what the country has to offer in an alternative season and we would return to the Hotel Natura.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Four-star Reykjavik accommodation showcasing the best of Icelandic nature. Newly-renovated Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Natura (formerly Hotel Loftleidir) is close to the city centre, in the quiet Oskjuhlid wooded area near the sea. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík
- Hotel Loftleidir
- Icelandair Hotel Loftleidir