Don’t let Sandhotel’s gritty name fool you: this boutique hotel in central Reykjavik is a sweet confection whipped up by the pâtissiers behind beloved Icelandic bakery Sandholt. The eatery is just next door, but Sandhotel’s friendly team can often deliver a basket of warm cinnamon-spiced buns to your super-soft bed on-demand, and wares from their neighbour, Iceland’s oldest tailor, if you’d like a polo-neck with your pastry. Don’t spend all day preening and pigging-out: there’s a list of day-trips longer than an Icelandic summer to try and Reykjavik’s main street to ramble down.
Get this when you book through us:
A selection of handmade chocolates from the in-house chocolatier
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £150.83 (€171), including tax at 11 per cent.
Rates include a Continental breakfast, which includes a selection of fresh-from-the-oven breads and sticky-sweet pastries from Sandholt Bakery.
Brush up on your Icelandic history here: flick through a novel by Icelandic writer and Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness who lived in one of the houses that now make up the hotel.
At the hotel
Lounging area with a selection of coffee-table books; free WiFi throughout; laundry service. In rooms: flatscreen TV, Marshall Bluetooth speaker, Nespresso machine, minibar, Soley Organics bath products. A kettle can be added to rooms on request.
Our favourite rooms
Reykjavik’s hotel rooms often favour a monochrome, concrete-lined, volcanic-stone-accented look to reflect the country’s more lunar-looking wilds. Not so at Sandhotel, whose rooms use art deco elegance and a touch of masculine tailoring to create the cosiest of city spaces. The Junior Suites with their huge button-back headboards in minke-whale grey, cushions made of offcuts from Iceland’s oldest tailor; and local artwork, such as Birgir Andrésson’s textual canvasses and Sigurdur Gudmundsson’s playful photographs feel snug and stylish. Street-facing windows let you spy on hip Reykjavikers, too.
Bring some footwear suitable for exploring; for winter stays, a North Face parka and fleecy jim-jams are de rigeur.
The hotel is wheelchair-accessible with four specially-adapted rooms and a lift to all floors. Single occupancy room are available on request – just call our Smith24 team and they'll sort out everything you need.
Children are welcome. The hotel has a limited supply of baby kit (a couple of buggies, highchairs, beakers, children’s cutlery, child-friendly books and art supplies). Baby cots (free) or an extra bed (ISK6,000 a night) can be added to certain rooms.
Sneak down to the bakery and return with goodies to eat propped up against your cushioned headboard – just don’t get cinnamon-y crumbs on the luxurious bedlinen.
Sleek knits and classic Lopapeysa jumpers.
Tuck into a Continental breakfast buffet each morning at Sandbar & Bistro on the ground floor. The morning feast includes house-made granola, rich coffees and freshly baked breads and pastries from nextdoor neighbour Sandholt Bakery.
A lounge bar is attached to Sandbar & Bistro, for glasses of imported wine with cheese platters and a range of local and international beers.
The hotel sits on Reykjavik’s main strip, Laugavegur; its neighbours are edgy clothing shops for wannabe Björks, an assortment of global restaurants and cute cafés. All of the city’s main sights are within easy walking distance.
KeflavÍk Airport is Iceland’s main hub; from here, the hotel is an hour’s drive. There are direct flights to here from most major cities in Europe and services from New York arrive direct in around six hours. For hassle-free trip planning, get our Smith24 Team to book flights and hotel transfers for you; prices for the latter vary depending on what time you arrive.
Reykjavik is the jumping-off point for adventures in Iceland’s wondrous wilds; if you’re not a fan of coach tours, a car will come in handy. Smith24 can arrange car hire on request, and there’s a multi-storey car park a six-minute walk from Sandhotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
The list of trips the hotel’s friendly staff can arrange for you is as long as the number of vowels in an Icelandic volcano’s name. Ride horses through lupin fields and volcanic landscapes; trek through ice tunnels to the heart of a glacier; go caving, snorkelling and surfing; uncover Viking settlements; or hop in a helicopter for a private tour around the tip of a volcano. First-timers should hit the Golden Circle'sunpronounceable beauty spots (Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir), or book a soak in the Blue Lagoon’s geothermal springs. Reykjavik itself is quirky and cosmopolitan, with sights as diverse as the Hallgrímskirkja church and Olafur Eliasson-designed Harpa opera house, and the blush-inducing Phallological Museum. Shop for lopapeysur (Iceland’s signature yoke sweaters) from the Handknitting Association of Iceland; niche vinyl from the Bónus Plötur label at vegan eatery Kaffi Vínyl(only 30 pressings are made of each release); and on the weekend hit downtown thrift market Kolaportið where you can buy a vintage sweater, handcrafted dreamcatcher, retro dinnerware and fermented shark meat in one fell swoop. Along Laugavegur, take pit stops at clothing store Kiosk (for troll-claw earrings, caped swimsuits and one-off wares by indie designers), Spúútnik (for Seventies leisurewear and sequinned things), and Myconceptstore (for tin toy robots, scented candles and turntables). Fatigued but in need of formal wear? Gentleman’s gear from Guðsteinn Eyjólfsson can be delivered to your room.
Lined in colour-coded books and working its kitsch-Americana interiors with style, the Laundromat Café is a hip hangout that also happens to be one of Reykjavik’s more reasonable dining spots; the duck-confit burger and blueberry pancakes are stand-out menu items. Book in advance for fine pescetarian fare at Fiskfélagið whose two tasting-menu choices include a seasonal culinary tour of Iceland (caraway-cured salmon and tender local lamb) or ‘a’ trip round the world’: a pan-global feast for the whole table. At Rokyou'll find a buzzy atmosphere and eclectic sharing dishes with an Icelandic accent – ask for a table downstairs, but away from the door as it can get chilly.Achingly hip and fun-loving Sushi Social fuses Japanese and South American influences (we know – sounds like it wouldn't work, but it really, really does).
Sandholt, Iceland’s most beloved bakery, is part of the hotel’s community; and it’s just next door, so you needn’t wander far for lunch. Order sandwiches of paprika-flecked chicken salad and brie with serrano ham encased in warm, freshly baked sourdough, followed by stylish sweet treats. Alternatively, the spiced rolls at Brauð & Co elicit more gasps of delight than the friskiest of auroras do – seek out the bakery’s graffitied façade on Frakkastígur.
Along Laugavegur, Dillon is a lively rock bar with an international whisky menu – including one distilled in Iceland. Live music is often hosted in the gastropub within super-cool hostel – and former biscuit factory – Kex, and Kaffibarinn (look for its idiosyncratic London Underground-roundel-style sign) is one of Iceland’s cosiest gathering spots.
If you’ve just arrived in Iceland, then Sandhotel is, for me, the place to stay. This fine hideaway stands at the heart of Reykjavik's main shopping street, Laugavegur, bordering Iceland's oldest gentleman's tailor, Verslun Guðsteins Eyjólfssonar, and best all-day bakery, Sandholt.
It’s welcoming to a tee and staff are a shining example of the hotel’s inner warmth compared to other more stark, corporate hotels looming close by. We’re offered gingerbread cookies on arrival and the Christmas tree in the lobby is aglow as we check in on a mid-week in December. And the owners have peppered the property with thoughtful touches throughout: a mobile phone for your room, USB sockets, locally sourced organic toiletries, and a chic, warmly lit and stylish room are all approvingly in place here. Not bad for a converted stable.
Housed within some of Reykjavik’s most historic buildings, and right by the birthplace of Iceland’s most famous author Halldór Laxness, the hotel makes for a relaxing spot, a punt or two from the best Reykjavik has to offer. There are vibrant restaurants, cafés and bars, shops, boutiques, and attractions such as the Art Museum, Photography Museum, Hallgrimskirkja Church, the Saga Museum, the Phallological Museum (for the more adventurous), and many many more within walking distance.
Still, there’s plenty to keep your attention at the hotel. A relaxed lounge has a block of Icelandic art books (think Sigurður Guðmundsson and Olafur Eliasson) on the coffee table, and the art on the walls – commissioned by the hotel from a local artist – depicts sweeping constellation-strewn night skies. Dinner and room service aren’t available at Sandhotel, but with Sandholt bakery next door, we were never far from treats. Be sure to try the croque madame for brunch, which is big enough to share between two. We snaffled away a box of delectable truffles for later, too. Yum.
Our room was a wonderful sanctuary, decked out in contemporary Swedish and Art Deco furnishings. We revelled in the views, below to the street and above to a sky that held the promise of a glimpse of the Northern Lights – all watched in comfort as we got cosy in our bathrobes. Our king-size bed knocked us out for a full nine hours of sleep. It made getting up for breakfast nigh-on impossible, the thought of leaving that pillowy embrace in the morning bordered on heartbreaking. Once we were out of the bed, we discovered that the bathroom’s stone heated floors paved the way to a rainforest shower with such bracing pressure that it made waking up a more invigorating process.
Sandhotel has clearly learned a thing or two from its neighbours – the venerable tailor and cinnamon-bun-proffering bakery – because, what we liked most about it is its style and dedication to comfort.
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 Sandhotel’s Guestbook below.
The location, the breakfast, the bedding! Fantastic stay!
Parking on the doorstep. It is in the town centre, but we parked cheaply about a 10-minute walk away down by the water.
Stayed on 25 Oct 2019
A stylish hotel in the heart of Reykjavik right on the main shopping street. The bar is very buzzy and the breakfast is great, there's also an amazing bakery attached next door. The beds were so comfortable I didnt want to get out!
Stayed on 20 Sep 2019
Our room was delightful, beautifully decorated in Scandi neutrals, with the most comfortable hotel bed we've ever slept in. Breakfast is a highlight - lots of high quality food to choose from. The Icelandic yoghurt was excellent, as was the Icelandic salmon. The hotel is incredibly well situated right in the beating heart of Reykjavic, but not noisy at all.
To tip porters - you take your own suitcase to your room!
Stayed on 14 Jun 2019
Insanely comfortable beds and pillows. Amazing breakfast. Great quality room.
Stayed on 2 May 2019
Our ten-day trip around Iceland culminated with a stay at the Sandhotel and we were not disappointed. The hotel is situated in the heart of Reykjavik within walking distance of all the sights. We had a car and had no problem finding parking a few streets over (it is worth asking staff where to go as the price of parking varies dramatically!). After a week of being outdoors, hiking, chasing hot pots and feeling very much weather worn it was something of a challenge to muster the courage to leave the hotel once we arrived. The bedrooms are the epitome of comfort with duvets and pillows from heaven, a rainfall shower with water pressure capable of delivering everything from drizzle to hailstones, a speaker to keep the tunes coming, and a welcome selection of chocolates (the Mr and Mrs Smith extra). Alas, we were meeting our friends for drinks and so move from our room we did. Waiting in the lobby, our friends admired the art adorning the walls. We all stood there staring into the painting of a dark sky close to hypnotised before wandering to the hotel bar which fronts on to the main street. A happy hour runs in the evening and we did not look that gifthorse in the mouth (a week in Iceland and I'll never complain about the cost of a wine in London again) and were almost late for our dinner reservation by the time we made it out into the cold. In the morning, the hotel put on a delicious breakfast. It may not be a cooked breakfast but being part of a bakery certainly has its perks. A few days later, when it was finally time to leave, we had to check out at an ungodly hour (hello 4am) but down in reception staff had set up a mini-breakfast selection to tide us over.
A big hotel experience - it doesn't have a restaurant but honestly when it's as comfortable as it is, you'll be happy for some motivation to leave the building and see the city.
Stayed on 20 Apr 2019
With so many hotels to choose from in Reykjavik, we could not have been happier with our selection. The location is perfect- everything easily walkable. The staff is friendly, accommodating, helpful. There's a great little breakfast bar which is open only to hotel guests, so you never wait in line and can enjoy a leisurely start to your day with a healthy bite to eat. There's a big, cozy lobby lounge where you can enjoy a drink or catch up with life at home. The rooms are pretty standard in terms of European basic rooms-- quite small-- but very clean and amazingly quiet for being right on the main drag. We wouldn't consider staying anywhere else next time we visit!
A great big room or a party atmosphere in the bar. The vibe is casual sophisticate throughout the property. There is also no restaurant on site (other than the breakfast bar) but there are loads of restaurants within walking distance.
Stayed on 23 Mar 2019
We loved the crazy comfortable beds and luxe linens. The Sandbar had a great happy hour and a cool place to relax. The breakfast was one of the best hotel breakfasts we've ever had. The hotel is very walkable to everything you'll want to do in Reykjavik.
Don't expect a ton of noise. This place gets quiet at later hours.
Stayed on 15 Feb 2019
The room! It was a fantastic size and beautifully decorated – an old feel with a modern touch. The location was amazing; although it was right on the high street, it was so quiet that you would never know. The breakfast was so superb that we didn't eat lunch for the entire trip. The restaurant scene in Reykjavik is fantastic.
Water was located down stairs, free of charge however we didnt know that!
Stayed on 5 Feb 2019
The location and the bakery next door.
Shelves in the shower – be prepared to squat to get your shampoo and shower gel. Lighting – the room is dark.
Stayed on 16 Dec 2018
The suite was awesome! Large, spacious, luxurious, well-decorated and appointed. Loved the floor to ceiling marble bathrooms, large soaking tub, huge walk-in shower, and mid-century art deco decor, original artwork and color scheme. View of the famous church tower from some of the windows. Breakfast was great too. The best bread and lox we had during our trip. Front desk was very helpful. Location was perfect. In the heart of Reykavik but also quiet and peaceful. Wasn't expecting much based on our stays at other 4 star-rated hotels during our trip but our room at this hotel was way beyond expectations and blew us away.
Stayed on 17 Nov 2018
The bed! Sooo comfy. The room was super cozy and the breakfast pastries were delicious!
A stocked mini bar or the Smith Extra chocolates.
Sent to Smith24
Stayed on 4 Oct 2018
A very nice room, beautifully designed with luxurious bedding and a very nice bathroom. The breakfast was very nice, but on the smaller side.
In a room facing the street, it was a bit noisy.
Stayed on 30 Jun 2018
Beautiful, delightful and helpful staff, chic Scandi breakfast, great location, lovely sheets. Great cafe/bakery in the restaurant. The bread and butter at breakfast is divine.
Stayed on 8 Jun 2018
Being right in the middle of all the action. The mobile phone linked to your room that you can use for local calls while you're out and about. The range of gin tonics in the bar and restaurant. Rok restaurant up near the big church was super delicious.