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“Friendly proprietors, and lovely, quiet neighborhood close to downtown.”

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Guesthouse Galtafell
Ranked #11 of 110 Specialty Lodging in Reykjavik
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 1, 2010

Very helpful, English-speaking, friendly owners went out of their way to make our stay pleasant. Basic, but comfortable accommodations at a very reasonable price. Great location in a very nice, quiet, Reykjavik neighborhood within walking distance to all the major sites, shopping areas, and restaurants. Short walk to the bus terminal makes it easy to get to and from the airport. We would highly recommend this guesthouse.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Birdoswald
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 - 215 of 252 reviews

Reviewed August 30, 2009

We stayed at Galtafell for three night in August of 2009 with extended family staying in one of the "apartments" at Galtafell (their experience was very good and is covered in a seperate review). We were in the tower room...up a circular staircase. The room was fairly basic but served our needs well. The lack of them didn't bother us but black-out shades seem like a good idea for every hotel/guesthouse in Iceland for those who have difficulty falling asleep in daylight. Again, it didn't bother us...in fact we all ended up joking about it, but the airport is nearby and it was clear when a plane was landing. The guesthouse is in a residential neighborhood with several embassies nearby (including US)...in fact Galtafell is the former Maltan (sp?) embassy. Thory, the owner, was very nice and helpful with all our questions. We had several nice conversations with her. She was overly-accomodating when we arrived quite early...actually waking them up. She also made a couple of calls for us about bus pick ups etc. The location, I think, is excellent. Short walk to downtown, "the big church", restaurants, shopping etc. We went local and shopped at the local supermarket, it's called Bonus...just look for the big pink pig. We had a shared powder room (down the staircase) and our shared shower (never saw anyone else in there) was actually out the front door and around the front of the house. I know....sounds bad but it really wasn't as long as you expect it before you get there. Which brings me to expectations. After having travelled to Europe many times I understand the basics...it's fairly expensive, the accomodations can be small and their bathroom/shower facilities are different from ours. Different...not better, not worse...just different. So, in my book, expectations are quite important when travelling and can have a big impact on how you view your hotel/guesthouse experience. Galtafell was a very good guesthouse...my expectations were in line with reality. I would recommend Galtafell without hesitation. Oh, the price...we paid $100/night. I believe my extended family paid $212 for their apartment. I had looked at many other places to stay in Reykjavik and found this to be a very good price for that area and time of year. Lastly...if staying for more than a few nights I think I'd opt for one of the apartments for the extra space along with the private bath and kitchen.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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Thank Delawaretraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2009

The Galtafell is located rgiht in downtown Reykjavik. The beds were clean.
The guesthouse is family run, and the proprietors could not be more accomodating.
We arrived at 7AM and weren't supposed to check in until 2PM. Exhausted from our overnight flight they brought us into their own apartment and allowed us to rest, while they hurried to prepare a room for us. By 11:30AM we were all sleeping.
The apartment was clean, with a full kitchen and bath.
We had relatives that traveled with us who had a single room that needed to share a shower and bath. The prices were affordable and the proprietors very friendly.
There were no surpirses and it was a great value for its locations alone.
I would recommend Galtafell to anyone who wants to be close to downtown, needs a clean place to rest your head, and doesn#t require a luxury Hotel .

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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1  Thank larryofpawling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2008

Great location near downtown everything! Very service oriented host that made phone calls and arranged events for us. Stayed 5 nights. Spacious apartment with separate bedroom and kitchenette with some food essentials included. Free parking. Would stay here again!!! Enjoyed DVDs that were provided.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Trav-W0RLD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2008

We had an awful time at this place. Unbeknown to us it was the night of the Culture Festival when we arrived and the owner was in a state because as she said it was so full on. She had got our booking muddled and we had to take two rooms for the three of us instead of n "apartment". The toilet was blocked and smelly in the double room's ensuite and with two other guests we had to share a very poky bathroom. She was so "upset" she didn't show us round properly and we had no idea what the facilities were. There was food in the kitchen: were we supposed to help ourselves for breakfast? Was there a code for WiFi? All in all we felt unwelcome.
She apologised when we went to pay after our second night, sure, but we were still charged the full, exhorbitant rate.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Philippa_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2008

Beautiful Historic home in the best location. Short walking distance to shopping, restaurants, sights.
Owners were friendly and accomodating.
When we arrived our reserved room with private bath was mistakenly given to someone else. The owner fixed the issue immediatley.
The room was good sized. Bath did not have a stand up shower, however did provide a large tub & hand held shower. Shared kitchen facility and seperate entrance.

  • Stayed: May 2008
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1  Thank toohappi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2008

This was my first time in a guesthouse, so it was a new experience for me. I guess you can say a guesthouse is somewhere in between a hotel and a hostel. So when it come to my ranking/rating of this accommodation, I’ve had to change my standards somewhat – in other words not rate it with the same standards as I have with other hotel reviews on this site.

Positive Aspects:

· Location: This guesthouse is located in a quaint, European suburb – far enough away from the city to avoid the ‘runtur’ crowd at night. And yet it is only about a 10-minute walk away from the heart of the downtown Reykjavik, and about 5 minutes away from the pond. Most tourist sites are walkable from this location (Sólfar sculpture; Hallgrímskirkja church; City Hall; Perlan; harbour for whale and puffin-watching; Videy Island ferry; Culture House; extremely close to the National Gallery; extremely close to the Volcano Show; BSI bus terminal; geothermal beach; National Museum; both tourist info centers; free walking tour; pubs/clubs, and so much more). For those of you taking the bus from the airport to the BSI bus terminal, the Galtafell guesthouse is only about 10-minute walk away from this terminal – we did this easily even with luggage.

· Price: I say this reluctantly. The price was right based on my exhaustive research on guesthouses in the city. We paid less than $100 Canadian per night for two people. Shortly after I booked the room they changed their rates and the month of May suddently became classified as a ‘summer’ month, with corresponding higher rates. Had I booked a few days later we would have paid $600 more for the same thing. I would have recommended this guesthouse based on the price I paid, but I think the new price is outrageous. The new rate works out to $175/night CAN. On my recent trip to Chicago I paid about $100/night for a beautiful, spacious, botique 4-star hotel – I know it’s different countries but it begs the comparison. Check out my pictures here of this guesthouse, and compare it with my pictures of the Hotel Blake in Chicago and you’ll see what I mean. Nonetheless, the price I paid was good for Reykjavik.

· Accommodating Owners: The owners are very accommodating and helpful. We arrived well before check-in time, and they held on to our luggage while we explored the city until our room became available. They let us use their phone numerous times for local calls. We even got a private tour of the guesthouse rooftop.

Negative Aspects:

· No Frills: The price was right for accommodations in a Scandinavian country, but you just don’t get much for $100/night. Our room was incredibly small and we had a shared bathroom and kitchen. Our room was always overheated, and we had no control of the heat. We were there for 8 nights, and the shared bathroom was not cleaned more than once (if that). There is no noise insulation between the walls, so bring earplugs or a white-noise machine. And because we had to keep our window open in our room/sauna, street noise became an issue at times. The shower area is extremely tight, and is basically a curtain smack next to the toilet. There is no reservoir for the shower water….the bathroom floor IS the reservoir for the shower, with a drain in the middle of the tiled floor. Although internet access is advertised, this is for wireless internet only for those that bring a laptop.

· No Breakfast: No breakfast or food was included for this price. You have to pay extra for this.

This Guesthouse served our basic needs and made for a good ‘base’ for our city adventures. But with respect to the new rates, it seems very wrong to pay $175/night for this.

Reykjavik and Iceland is a beautiful city and country. Iceland is a geological fantasyland with breathtaking landscapes and natural phenomenon. And the city itself is a picturesque European city bursting with character and charm. I particularly enjoyed the geothermal pools, caving in a lava tube, and the Golden Circle tour.

Tips:

- The geothermal beach, past the Perlan, is well worth the trip. We enjoyed it more than the geothermal public pools in the city, which feel too much like regular, run-down public pools. It was something else to swim on a beach with cold Atlantic water drifting in from one side, and geothermally heated water coming in from the other side – all the while lifeguards are standing outside wearing their parkas/winter coats.

- There is a free 2-hour walking tour that departs everyday from the tourist info center.

- If you don’t see whales on your 3-hour whale-watching boat trip, they will give you a voucher to come again for free.
- Both the Golden Circle tour and the Blue Lagoon are well worth the price of admission.

- “Þingvallaleid” is the cheapest bus tour to get you to the Blue Lagoon.

- For cheap groceries, shop at “Bonus” and prepare some meals at the guesthouse kitchen.

- The cheapest pints of beer we found was at a sports pub called “Belly’s.” It worked out to $7 pint Canadian - most other places you’ll pay $9-$10 Can.

- For less expensive meals when eating out, explore off the beaten path. We found some restaurants that cater to locals, and had lower prices (e.g. $10 plate of huge burger and fries). Next to the Bonus grocery store, you will see a spiral stairway that leads to a Thai restaurant. Their prices here were quite reasonable.

- For those looking to make a meal out of sheep’s head, this can be found at the BSI bus terminal restaurant.

- It is well worth a trip to the Hallgrímskirkja church. Try to visit when the church organ is playing, and make an elevator trip up to the viewing platform behind the clock.

- Join in on the Friday and Saturday night pub-crawling known as ‘runtur.’ They really do party hard!

- Tourists can get a rebate on the VAT taxes. If you spend about $50 or more on items in one visit (as I had bought Icelandic gloves, toque, necklace, and t-shirt from one shop), you can receive a rebate of about 15%). This can be huge savings if you get a big-ticket item, such as a traditional Icelandic sweater. There are some steps and paperwork involved in getting the rebate, but the store clerk will explain it all to you upon request.

- You may need a sleeping mask if you’re sensitive to the light. We went in May, and dusk started at around 11:30 PM. Our room had basic horizontal blinds with no blackout curtain – there was still plenty of light getting into our room at midnight!

- For those traveling to this guesthouse from North America, bring a plug adaptor with you since you will not find any at this guesthouse.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank product-of-canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Guesthouse Galtafell

Address: Laufasvegur 46, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Phone Number:
Location: Iceland > Capital Region > Reykjavik > Miõborg
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 110 Specialty Lodging in Reykjavik
Price Range: $146 - $346 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Guesthouse Galtafell 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Galtafell is located in the heart of Reykjavik, within easy reach of all major activities. Our bright and non smoking suites are comfortably furnished and all have private entrance. Every suite consists of a bedroom, bathroom, living room and a fully equipped kitchen corner. Laundry facilities are in the building. The apartments can comfortably room up to four persons and bed linen and towels are provided. We also offer double or single rooms. ... more   less 
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