I stayed in the following hotels – Grand Hotel, Hotel Centrum and Hotel Plaza – all of these were excellent with only minor advantages and disadvantages to distinguish them. Overall I don’t think any of them will disappoint.
LOCATION: Centrum = Plaza >> Grand
– Centrum and Plaza are basically in the same location close to the main entertainment area and close to the main shopping street
– Grand is not near the centre but offers a free shuttle taxi service at preset times. Taxi ride is only about 2000ISK. Drive time is about 5mins. Walking direct thru the city is safe but the esplanade route is better – very scenic – takes about 20-25mins. You can also hire hotel bikes for half or full-day (hotel bikes are not offered by Centrum or Plaza but bike hire companies are close by). The location is better for guests with a hire car.
ROOM QUALITY: Grand >> Centrum > Plaza
– The room facilities in the Grand and Centrum are better than the Plaza but you get what you pay for. The Grand and Plaza seem newer and more modern than the Centrum. Grand and Centrum provide safes and irons/boards. TV size and quality = Grand >> Plaza > Centrum. Only Grand has a business cable channel. All the beds were comfortable. All the rooms were clean and tidy.
– Grand has the largest bathroom and offers a towel warmer. Both the Centrum and Plaza have small bathrooms. Grand and Plaza offer both a rain shower and a hand-held shower. All toilets worked well. Plaza does not offer shower amenities in a bottle. All hotels use a combination of soap via a pump.
– Rooms can be warm - no thermostat - leave window open during the day can help
BREAKFAST: Grand > Centrum >> Plaza
– All hotels seemed to offer free breakfast – these were all good but again you get what you pay for – all had hot and cold selections but Grand had most variety.
INTERNET: Plaza > Grand > Centrum
– Plaza offers free wireless internet in the lobby and in wired internet in the room. There is one free computer in the lobby
– Grand offers 3 free computers in the lobby. Paid wireless internet is available throughout the hotel.
– Centrum offers at least 1 free computer in the lobby. Paid wireless internet is available throughout the hotel.
– All hotels were faultless – in fact the Icelandic people are all very courteous from restaurants to tours
– most hotels have bars that offer happy hour between 1700-1900
– most tours offer free hotel pickup
– the main Icelandic Tourist Centre/s is closer to Plaza and Centrum but all offer plenty of advice and brochures and offer to phone to book tours/restaurants at your request
– All the tours I experienced were excellent including: Golden Circle, Snowmobile on Glacier, Videy Island and Whale Watching (Special Tours = faster and smaller boat = travels further + more time whale watching – excellent commentary)
– 1000 River Mountain Bike Tour – very challenging – heaven for REAL mountain bike riders but no problem if happy to take it easy
– Hot springs - this was part of my mountain bike tour but most people take a hiking or horse riding tour to much the same point
– Blue Lagoon – there are several bus companies that go to this destination – must see!
- Other highlights = Perlan, Harpa, esplanade, pond
– I tried almost everything from the unique to the upmarket
– UPMARKET = honestly very difficult to distinguish but all culinary masterpieces
- these include Seafood Cellar (a little bit of Heston for people in the know), Fish Market (Icelandic-Asian fusion), Silfur, Fish Company, Grill Market (going to the bathroom is also an experience), Kolabrautin (best view in town)
- most offer a tasting or set course menu +/- matched with wine – highly recommended
- Einar Ben was very very good but the others stood out more
- Solon was very good without the price tag
- I did not try Dill or Vox
– UNIQUE = famous hotdog stand (different but worth a try) or Icelandic Fish & Chips (very unique light batter + great real chips)
BARS / NIGHTCLUBS REVIEW:
- best to dance = Austur
- best to sit +/- dance = Esja
- best for older crowd = Thorvaldsen
- other interesting bars = 101 Hotel, 1919 Hotel
- Friday is a good night to party – no lines or cover charge
- Saturday is the busiest night – some places are difficult to get into – Icleandic locals go to Bar 11, Austur and Vegamot. English Bar plays live music and has that traditional UK sound and beer smell – very popular but perhaps for like minded tourists
- NASA was not open but supposed to be the biggest for live bands. Vinbarrin was OK but not spectacular. Icelandic bar also appears to be very popular.
- Café Paris was a good place to mellow out +/- live jazz!
- no passport control if transiting within Europe = may need to ask for a passport stamp
- many flights leave international airport around 8am so there are long queues – go to check-in early
- try the traditional lobster soup
- right hand drive cars – traffic is easy to navigate
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Reykjavik Centrum is a new first class hotel in the heart of the city, opened on April 1st 2005. It is located on one of Reykjavik’s oldest streets, Adalstraeti, in a newly renovated building, the oldest part of which was built in 1764. On each side of it, new buildings have been constructed in the likeness of their historic predecessors. The hotel spreads over all three buildings, and is designed in the style found in Reykjavík around 1900. During its construction, the remains of a Viking longhouse from the Settlement Period were found. Among the finds excavated at the site were Iceland’s oldest human remains, dating from approximately 870 AD.The hotel has 89 rooms, each fitted with modern amenities, such as satellite TV, telephone, Internet access, mini-bar, radio, iron and board, hair dryer, safe and tea & coffee set. All rooms have en-suite bathroom with either a shower or a bath. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Reykjavik Centrum Hotel
- Reykjavik Centrum Reykjavík