In the Heart of Reykjavik: Hotel Borg

In Room For Two by Matthew Brace

The Hotel Borg, in the dead centre of Reykjavik, is possibly the cleanest and most immaculately presented hotel I have ever stayed in. It’s not just the inside that is pristine; somehow the hotel’s maintenance crews have managed to get the façade spotless too, even after a long, icy winter and slushy wet spring. On the day I arrived an early summer sun was warming the walls and making the place shimmer.

Related article: 48 Hours in Reykjavik

The semi-circular glass doors opened automatically and I walked into an Art Deco wonderland, the result of a recent overhaul. Furniture, fittings, statues, masonry, metalwork and interior decoration have all been faultlessly tailor-made.

Hotel Borg

The Rooms

Each is a mini deco temple with period headboards, bedside lamps, door handles, taps and furniture – plus heated flooring in the bathroom to warm frozen feet.

The rooms also have good black-out curtains which are essential (yet oddly not common) to allow guests to sleep through the light summer nights when the midnight sun banishes darkness.

For the best views, try to get a high-floor room looking out over the square in front of the hotel. In-room internet access is free of charge.

Related article: Iceland: Where the Wild Things Are

Couples will Love

The genuine, luxurious and romantic art deco feel to the hotel. Forget the half- baked renovations and refurbishments you may have seen in other hotels – the Hotel Borg’s makeover is the real deal, executed with intelligence and passion. The lift is also in-character but take the stairs to marvel at the elegant deco lamps by the banister. 

Taste Temptations

Reykjavik is blessed with a small batch of excellent restaurants. One of them – Silfur – is conveniently located on the ground floor of the Hotel Borg. Silfur parts company with the hotel’s deco theme and favours a faux-gothic feel but whatever your design tastes, the food will knock your socks off.

Prepare yourself for succulent scallops, delicious cod and halibut or the local delicacy – smoked lamb. Wash it down with a crisp local Viking beer.

Related article: Arctic Escape

Venturing Out

Reykjavik is small and easily walkable, even though you might have to walk at a steep angle if an Arctic wind is barrelling through the streets. Across the square from the Hotel Borg is the small neat cathedral and up one block is the fascinating Settlement Exhibition, located on the site of one of the first houses in Iceland.

A five-minute walk north will bring you to the port where you can grab fresh lobster or sushi and wander along the quay and watch the trawler fleet preparing for another perilous mission.

For more information, take a look at Visit Iceland and Iceland Tourism Board