Smack bang in the centre of downtown Reykjavik, Kvosin Hotel is charmingly historic on the outside, but inside you’ll find swish, Scandi-style interiors and a bar that'll please the pickiest connoisseur. Another winning feature of this former townhouse is the size of its rooms: all but the smallest have a lounge area and marble-topped kitchenette – worth its weight in gold if you’re looking to keep costs down. If you don’t mind splashing a little, brace yourself against the elements with an Icelandic G&T at Klaustur bar, then head out to take on the city’s burgeoning resturant scene. Thankfully, with a location as central as this, pretty much every place worth its salt is just a few minutes’ walk away.
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Chocolates from local chocolatiers Omnom; crowberry and rhubarb schnapps miniatures from Reykjavik Distillery; two Kvosin Hotel schnapps glasses
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $176.32 (€159), excluding tax at 11 per cent.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast, a buffet spread full of Icelanders’ favourites. There are baked goods by famous Icelandic chef Joi Fel; Skyr yoghurts; meats and cheeses; hard boiled eggs; cereals; juices, tea and fresh coffee. If you skip breakfast
This hotel has a big heart. Each room has an individual and inspiring name (often invoking Norse gods), but none quite so much as Pippa’s Wish, the disabled access room. Former guest Pippa has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, but she wouldn’t let it stop her from travelling to Iceland to see her favourite band, Sigur Rós. The hotel were so honoured to be able to put her up that they renamed the room after her.
At the hotel
Boutique, free WiFi throughout, laundry. In rooms: Samsung smart TV; minibar; Nespresso coffee machine; kitchenette with a hob and sink; tea-making kit; free reusable water bottles; organic Sóley bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Like Paris or New York, Reykjavik is known for having some rather pokey hotel rooms. Not so at Kvosin, where even the Junior Suites give you room to stretch out – but we do like the added lounge space in the Social Suites. If you want a view of the cathedral, ask for an an east-facing room; if you’d prefer one over the parliament and gardens, then west is best.
Pack an eye mask in summer, as it hardly gets dark at night. In winter, layers, layers and more layers. Remember your swimming gear if you’re going to the Blue Lagoon.
The lobby and common areas are wheelchair accessible, and one of the Social Suites is specially adapted.
Very welcome. Little Smiths will love the toys, books and board games that can be checked-out from reception. They even have snowman kits in winter (complete with a pint-sized pail and shovel, a box of reusable lava rocks, a carrot, a scarf and a hat).
All of the hotel’s electricity and heating is powered by geothermal energy, currently the cleanest in the world. They recycle wherever possible and use locally-produced organic bath products in large bottles to reduce plastic waste.
The hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant, encouraging guests to explore the city’s burgeoning restaurant scene. Bergsson Mathus is right downstairs, however, and Klaustur serves sandwiches and delectable Icelandic-style tapas.
They take the art of imbibing seriously at Klaustur, a laid-back space clad in wood and finished with copper-piping, dangling Edison bulbs and dark hexagonal tiles. They’ve amassed the largest (and most international) selection of wines and spirits anywhere in the city, with 50 whiskeys, 60 gins and 150 wines to choose from. The breadth of the collection is largely down to the knowledge and studious dedication of the staff – klaustur means cloister, after all. And it’s not just those behind the bar: Joe Compton, the CEO of the company that owns Klaustur, is a Certified Specialist of Spirits, a qualification that involves a rigorous and comprehensive test on all things swillable. If you’re stuck for choice on what to order, kick the evening off with one of their wildly popular Icelandic G&T’s, in which craft gins are muddled with traditional fruits and herbs.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 10am. The barmen in Klaustur shake, strain and stir from 2pm to 1am Monday to Thursday, 2pm to 3am Friday and Saturday, and 6pm to 11pm on Sundays.
None, but there's plenty to sustain you just over the threshold.
Kvosin Hotel is in the historic Kirkjuhvoll building in the heart of downtown Reykjavik.
Keflavik International Airport is the largest in Iceland – flights land there from all over Europe and larger US airports. It takes 45 minutes to drive from there to the hotel. The Smith24 team are on hand around the clock to book any flights and transfers.
If you’re in town for a whirlwind visit, you’re unlikely to need a car. If you’re going to venture further afield – to the Golden Circle, for instance – then a your own set of wheels will come in very handy. If you’re arriving in the depths of winter, bear in mind that the conditions can be very difficult for anyone who isn’t used to driving through snow, ice and white-out conditions. There’s street parking in front of the hotel, and public carparks nearby. If you do want to hire a car, the Smith24 team can do it for you.
Worth getting out of bed for
One of the best things about the hotel is that it really is smack bang in the centre of the city. The Althing, Iceland’s parliament, is right next door; the city’s cathedral is across the road. In fact, you’re no more than a 20-minute walk from almost all of the city’s best attractions – but many of its most in-demand restaurants, bars and boutiques can be reached in less than three. A five-minute stroll will take you to the port, where most of the whale-watching and puffin colony tours depart; in less than 10 minutes, you can be ascending to the viewing platform of the soaring Hallgrimskirkja (open every day except Sunday), or gazing at the crystalline Harpa Concert Hall, recipient of the coveted Mies van der Rohe Award. As if the city’s sights weren’t enough, several day trips to the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle collect from right outside the hotel. Guests are also sent the Mews Navigator App before they arrive, an in-the-know guide to the city.
Icelandic bistro Bergsson Mathus shares the same building as the hotel. A local favourite for lunch and brunch, it always has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, and their homemade sourdough bread is about as good as you'll get anywhere. You’ll need to book ahead for Kol, another local star who describe their menu as ‘feel good comfort food with a twist’ – which seems a bit of an understatement once you’ve seen the quality of the ingredients and artistry lavished on many of the dishes. For something really special, try Michelin-starred Dill, often said to be the best restaurant in the country. The seven-course set menu is a journey through New Nordic cuisine, so you can expect classic Icelandic ingredients that have been given a creative overhaul. It’s a tiny place, so booking ahead is essential. Meat-eater’s delight Grillmarkadurinn (grill market) has forged relationships with some of the Iceland’s best farmers and fishmongers, allowing them to get hold of some truly first-rate cuts and fillets.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Reykjavik and unpacked their Icelandic sweater, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Kvosin Hotel in Reykjavik…
Location is important at the best of times, but when the country you’re staying in has the word ‘ice’ in its name, the stakes are a bit higher (in the winter, anyway). Thankfully, Kvosin Hotel is so central that you could say it had pipped two pillars of society for the most central spot in the city: it’s got the Althing (parliament) on one side and the cathedral on the other. Cultural politics aside, this means that you’ve got all the best museums, coffee shops and even Michelin-starred restaurants within easy strolling distance – a real bonus when the mercury sinks to sporting levels. That said, you won’t be rushing off in a hurry when you see the rooms, which merge traditional Icelandic style with Scandinavian design to create an atmosphere that radiates cosiness. Then there’s the staff, who go above and beyond to make you feel at home and ensure you get the most out of their city; incidentally, one of the reasons the hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant is to encourage guests to get out and explore everything Reykjavik has to offer.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Kvosin Hotel’s Guestbook below.
The location (close to city hall for tour pick ups), the room was perfect - we had a social suite for a family of four, the breakfast was really good and the staff went above and beyond. Will be staying here next time we go.
Quiet - its a very central location which means there was some noise at nighttime. You're given earplugs though I honestly didnt use them.
Stayed on 22 Feb 2019
The 'extreme' customer service, nothing was too much trouble, as a small boutique hotel the personal touch was evident offering tailored restaurant recommendations and personalised tour advice. The two queen-size beds in the apartment meant my friend and I could have our own cosy beds, yet share a very decent sized living room space.
Room service, which is really not needed – the hotel is centrally located with a huge variety of places to eat. A bathroom with a bath: there is only a shower room and separate loo.