When we looked to book a hotel for a short break over in Iceland in December, thanks to Visit Reykjavik, we had a choice of some very popular hotels on all manner of travel blogger’s lists and international travel magazines’ MUST TRY pages.
Whereas Skuggi Hotel – located just off the harbour in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital – is fairly out of the way, and being new, doesn’t have the reputation built over the years that intrepid tourists have been escaping to the land of ice, volcanos and midnight sun.
Still, we loved the look of the rooms and decided we’d give it a punt. Packing as much fleece, wool and Thinsulate as is possible with hand luggage restrictions, we hopped on an Iceland Air flight and kicked off our thoroughly freezing weekend.
Check in at Skuggi Hotel, and an instant room change
Arriving straight from the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa experience everyone MUST try once, thanks to a prompt Flybus and welcomed by a swirling, swaying encore of green and red Northern Lights (we were THAT lucky!), we were dropped off on the corner of Hverfisgata and tracked over the slippery ice with suitcases in hand.
Reykjavik has a very industrial feel. Imagine the Lego buildings of south London in rows and rows, covered in ice and blackened ash. But with each window boasting twinkling festive fairly lights, the city looked a special kind of pretty.
Skuggi Hotel follows the city’s industrial theme, but look past the grey concrete and inside is one very modern, beautiful hotel. Greeted by a cheery blonde girl on reception, we checked in and were shown a room on the ground floor. As a very light sleeper, I was worried. Although she put my mind at ease saying the bar – which we were a few steps from – was fairly quiet and closed early, I requested a room on an upper floor.
I know, what a nightmare. However when she came back a few minutes later with a choice of two rooms, on on the third floor and one on the top with great views, but no opening window, we chose room 413. Boasting great views and with the Northern Lights still shimmering above the city, we were in awe.
Bearing in mind for half the year Iceland is bathed in sunlight for 20 hours of the day (with December seeing around three hours of light a day…) the blackout blinds and bright lights were a fantastic design feature.
The rooms are decked in gorgeous Icelandic woollen throws and walls splashed with royal grey paint, giving a slightly industrial, modern look, the theme of Reykjavik. Our bathroom was beautifully designed with a monsoon shower and towel heater perfectly placed to ensure no chills were had getting out of the bathroom.
It was beautiful.
The flooring, wooden slats, did get a little wet with our snowy Regatta boots, so remember to leave shoes by the door in winter.
Breakfast is served from 7am until 10am downstairs in the bar area, although with the sun only beginning to rise around 11am, if you visit in winter you’ll be eating in the dark. Thankfully, the selection on offer was enough to tempt us to eat for our busy days planned.
Cold meats, cereal and yoghurts lined the bar area, with scrambled eggs and bacon for those looking for something warmer. The staff were fantastic and so lovely, taking away empty plates and restocking the breakfast area when bits started to run low.
There was even a shot of cod liver oil for those wanting something a little authentic – ever wonder why people in the Arctic Circle, Scandinavia and Nordic nations have beautiful skin and glossy hair? – although I wasn’t massively excited about having my shot. Fortunately the creamy coffee washed it down a treat.
With bellies full and the sun starting to rise, we headed back to the room to get all wrapped up to explore.
The hotel’s location was perfect. Just a few strolls away from the gorgeous, mountain-lined harbour and shopping centre, flea markets and restaurants but far enough from the action to guarantee a peaceful night’s sleep – even with 20 hours of darkness.
We didn’t need to take a taxi or bus anywhere, and the Northern Lights tour we booked stopped right outside the hotel. Just make sure if you’re visiting in winter you bring sturdy shoes; paths aren’t aways cleared of snow and the roads can be busy.
All in all, we loved the hotel. Clean, modern, with friendly staff and a great breakfast – the only problem we had is that we didn’t want to leave.
We lovedThe location
Quiet for those who plan to sleep through the winter darkness, but not too far away to leave you stranded in case of snowstorms!
You can't get cooler than typography, grey painted walls and Icelandic woollen throws. It's like Shoreditch meets Scandinavia.
The price (for now)
While it's still in launch phase, prices are so reasonable with single rooms starting from £84. But expect these to climb once its starts getting really popular.
If you want to book, please note the links are affiliate! Due to near darkness, photos are via Booking.com’s website