A few years ago when filming Match Point in London, Woody Allen talked about the capitals unique colour palette, and how it gave the movie a different feel from his New York work. When we first arrived in Iceland I wondered what Woody would think of the atmospheric silvery twilight that doubles for night at this time of year, as to me it seemed a perfect cinematic backdrop.
International flights land at Keflavík Airport, it’s about forty minutes from Reykjavík and for the first twenty of these much of the visible landscape is moss covered volcanic rock. There are no trees or grass and sporadic houses are seemingly dropped from the sky like Monopoly pieces on to the unearthly landscape. It’s an interesting introduction to a country, especially at 1.00am, but as the capital approaches and the coastline snakes into view, things start to look (a bit) more like the rest of planet earth.
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina.
Our first two nights were spent at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina (actually on old paint factory) it’s just along the harbour from the whale-watching boats and has become the centre of the new Bo-Ho scene in Reykjavik. From the outside it resembles a grey post-modern, Eastern European 1960’s council block (that is good by the way) and on a Friday and Saturday night the Hotel bar is THE place for local hipsters to meet up for drinks.
Originally they had planned to redevelop the whole area around the Marina, but for now it’s still a working dockyard. About 50ft away from our Hotel room window there is a gigantic fishing boat being repaired. It’s a slightly bizarre sight when you open the curtains in the morning, but it all adds to the character of the place, quirky with a capital ‘Q’.
Our room is über chic and very modern, space is at a premium but the basics, comfy bed (we had double bunk beds), powerful shower and lightning quick internet are all covered. In the bathroom there is sliding frosted glass instead of a door, so if you are still getting to know your travelling companion, this could speed up that process fairly dramatically. There are no tea and coffee making facilities, but there is a machine in the lobby and you can fill up from there.
The lobby itself is inhabited by strange wooden ‘human’ sculptures. One is sat next to a fire pit in a pose reminiscent of Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’, another is leant over a pretend urinal in a post-modern tribute to Marcel Duchamp. The decor is vibrant and funkier than funk, but its not pretentious or high-brow and there is a welcoming cosiness to it.
The Hotel restaurant is good (try the cod flat breads with Basil) and if you want to eat out there are a number of decent places really close by. The small burger bar on the corner (Hamborgara Bullan) is quick and tasty, and there’s a really nice fish and chip restaurant on the other side of the road, conveniently call Icelandic Fish and Chips. Try the fresh Ling and some of their sauces to go with it. Weirdly though, you have to pay extra for the vinegar. Prices for food are comparable with the decent places London. With no proper darkness during the summer months time can take on new meanings in Iceland. If you do stay up late, make sure you get up (or stay up) for the buffet breakfast. Start your day off the right way with Salmon Gravlax and some Lysi fish oil drink to keep you perky.
Two nights at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina costs from £144 per person based on three people sharing a studio room, including breakfast (based on travel this September) For further information or to book visit www.icelandairhotels.com or call+354 444 4000.