The team behind Reykjavik's Sandhotel pretty much perfected the cinnamon bun, so they whipped up the city’s cosiest stay. The understated rooms and sweets – sorry, suites – echo Iceland’s natural palette, with hot-spring blues and Atlantic grays, the breakfasts are pastry-laden and staff can arrange private helicopter rides to volcano peaks, ice-cave expeditions, and even a spot of Pokémon-hunting. The stay sits on Laugavegur, a strip of rock-and-roll bars, and shops plying eccentric wares, in a house that once belonged to a Nobel laureate. Yes, this stay doesn’t go up to 10, it goes up to a baker’s dozen…
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 $144.49 (€130), excluding 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.
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.
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 cosy city hotel in central Reykjavik and unpacked their liquorice and matching yoke sweaters, a full account of their town and country break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Sandhotel in Iceland…
Have you heard the one about the tailor, baker and hotel-maker? Two wanted to loaf-er-round, but the third had reservations. Ba-dum-tish… Ok. What we lack in comedic genius, we make up for in taste. We appreciate the snug-fit of the dress jackets from Iceland’s oldest tailor Guðsteinn Eyjólfsson, the moreish tahini-swirl pastries from revered Reykjavik bakery Sandholt, and the subtle elegance of city-centre boutique stay Sandhotel. The trio sit shoulder to shoulder along Laugavegur, the main artery of Iceland’s compact capital, which is shot through with edgy bars and Scandi-cool shops.
Like a tray of the bakery’s signature cinnamon buns popped into a piping-hot oven, Sandhotel is rising in popularity for adventurers who want to punctuate the stay’s lavish choice of tours – ice-caving, helicopter rides to volcano peaks, Pokémon-hunting (yes, really) – with a soft, snuggly bed and sugary bunfight of a breakfast. One of the unassuming white houses the hotel occupies was also once home to Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, but we don’t have an-author joke for him. Sorry.
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.
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
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.
Lots of space in your room.
Stayed on 18 May 2018
The hotel and rooms are beautiful and the staff are excellent at leaving you to do your own thing, but being very helpful whenever you do need them. I was here for my (very low key) hen do and they helped my friends and family with a surprise 'hen party' in our suite for 13 people on the last night, sorting crockery and wine glasses for us to have a few drinks and a takeaway in the room. The beds were also absolutely amazing; I consider myself an expert on comfy beds but these ones were something else! Bathrooms are excellent with a powerful walk in shower and heated floors. The hotel were also exceptionally helpful prior to my trip in answering my many questions and sorting trips, transfers and recommending restaurants. Rok Restaurant a 5 minute walk away was a cozy, reasonably priced tapas style restaurant with a terrace overlooking the cathedral. Food was absolutely excellent and service very good. Sandholt bakery right next door to the hotel is also excellent for breakfast and lunch.
Huge rooms with lots of storage if you are staying in a standard room (superior rooms and suites have more space). Be careful booking rooms in the north block as they overlook the Main Street and it can be a little noisy at night, but nothing major.
Stayed on 28 Mar 2018
The staff were so helpful and friendly from check-in to check-out did the upmost to ensure our stay was perfect. The beds are so comfortable you will struggle to get out of it! Loved the Soley products in the bathroom.
Late nights at the bar, but they do have an honesty bar!
Stayed on 25 Mar 2018
The location was perfect. Comfortable bed, clean and tidy. Liked the Nespresso machine, and the Continental breakfast was tasty and filling. Bravo bar just down the street was cosy and a welcome pit stop after our journey!
Stayed on 18 Mar 2018
We absolutely loved our stay at the Sandhotel. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, the rooms comfortable and well appointed and the breakfast was perfect – especially the produce from next door's bakery (which is also excellent). We came across the Sandhotel by chance but we were so glad we did. Highly recommended! The Blue Lagoon has to be experienced at least once although the locals prefer to use the thermal pools in Reykjavic itself so if the Blue Lagoon is too busy or expensive you can still get the geothermal experience. The walking tour is a good way to familiarise yourself with Reykjavik's town centre and find out about the history of the country.
Huge rooms. This is a beautiful boutique hotel, the rooms are adequately sized but no more than that.
Stayed on 12 Feb 2018
The location – right in the city center on a popular street ideal for getting to tourist attractions, restaurants, supermarket, bus stops, tour pick up points. Felt sorry for so many people on tour pick up points that were stuck in out of the way hotels that needed taxis to get them into town. They maybe had some spa facilities that we did not but our location won out every time. We also had the local pool less than 10 minutes away and an Icelandic pool is so much more than a pool, it's a whole experience so worth having. Was very pleased with the fridge in the room, and a mobile phone was provided as were charging points. The cafe attached is lovely but so expensive. We were lucky to stumble on Braud Co bakery just two streets away that did amazing vanilla swirls at well under half the price of the bakery next door and we visited many times, great for an on the go snack. The swimming pool Sundholl Reykjavik was a short walk away and a great experience – not just a pool but spa baths, hot tubs and steam room for under 7 – well worth a visit.
Spa facilities, in the smaller rooms much clothes storage.
Stayed on 9 Feb 2018
The easy and fast check in, little box of chocolates in our beautiful room (a Junior Suite), fabulous shower – one of the best we've had in a hotel room, extremely comfortable bed, warm underfloor heating (but windows that actually open a decent amount for air!). One of our highlights was getting back to the bar both nights we stayed and having a wonderful gin and tonic prepared by a very knowledgeable barman (for example, he scorched rosemary with a blow torch before adding to one type of gin!). Like the rest of Iceland, the people are just so friendly and helpful. Thanks so much – we hope to return! Food: Rok Bar/Bistro by the church. Amazing tapas and cosy atmosphere. Gastro pub (can't remember the name) very near to the hotel when you turn left. Lovely snacks / drinks and burgers etc. Activities: Golden circle is great but also to the south east you can drive along a coastal road to Grindavik (few places to eat there, we had amazing fish and chips) then further along from the little town is an amazing place to stop and walk along a thermal area and also to a lighthouse. Blue Lagoon is always lovely, especially in the late afternoon after a long day exploring! Treat yourself to the luxury package – it's worth it. Lava Tube was really interesting – the hour tour was just right.
Cheap drinks, but everyone knows that the nice thing about eating out is the very fresh food which makes up for it! Lots of bars have a happy hour 4-6 I think.
Stayed on 27 Jan 2018
First time in Iceland, and this was my favorite of the three hotels I visited. My Mr & Mrs Smith membership not only got me the promised chocolates but a room upgrade, a free breakfast and a 30 discount. The hotel is quiet and set back from the most active shopping street in Reykjavik – couldn't ask for a better location. The desk offered me a free cell phone which I declined since I had already purchased a data package for my phone. The breakfast was excellent, not a buffet like some hotels but a plate of fruit, bread with spreads with a pitcher of coffee. (The bread was great throughout Iceland.) Definitely go to the bakery adjacent to the hotel which has excellent pastries, yogurt and coffee.
Don't expect parking on site. The very reasonably priced parking lot is a good five minute walk down the street.