Exploring Iceland and a Stay at its Most Chic Boutique Retreat, The Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel

Images credit Konsultant, Reykjavik Excursions, and Special Travel Iceland

Iceland is one of the most fascinating places on earth. There are volcanoes, glaciers, black sand beaches, and waterfalls that look like they fell off the pages of a fairytale book. It is also a country filled with endless adventures from mountain biking, white water rafting, horseback riding, and countless hiking trails in pristine nature. Reykjavik is Iceland’s capital and the major city and makes the perfect base to explore all that this incredible destination has to offer. An ideal place to stay is its most chic boutique hotel, the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton.

The Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel is located in the heart of Reykjavik and within walking distance of most of the city’s landmarks. Nearby you’ll find Laugavegur, the main shopping street filled with restaurants bars, and shops to its most famous landmark the Leif Erikson monument in front of the Reykjavik church.  

There are endless options for what to do and see in Iceland however there are a few “must-see” experiences not to be missed. In order to see the major sites, a stay of a week or more will allow you to sample most of Iceland’s “greatest hits”.  The two routes share many major attractions that you can see in a day.  The most popular route is the aptly named Golden Circle which takes visitors through some of Iceland’s most amazing landscapes. There you’ll see geysers that shoot boiling water 100 feet into the air, the bewildering Gullfoss Waterfall that thunders nature’s force, and the Thingvellir National Park a stunning geographical area where the tectonic plates of America and Europe meet and where visitors can hike through the chasm of walls volcanic stone en route another stunning waterfall.

The second and equally as impressive tour is the South Coast Tour.  This tour takes guests to see Skógafoss, and Seljalandsfoss, two of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls that you’ve probably seen in your Instagram feed. You can actually walk behind the Seljalandsfoss in a cave and see outward. It’s quite fascinating.  The tours also take guests to visit Iceland’s famous black sand beaches as well. The last major destination for the South Coast tour is a stop at the Sólheimajökull glacier to explore and take in the beauty of the lake formed from the receding glacier. These tours go beyond the sights and give insightful commentary by expert guides who host you throughout the journey. Reykjavik Excursions is the leading tour company in Iceland and offers many itineraries to take in both the Golden Circle and South Coast Tours.

There are countless adventures to experience in Iceland from white water rafting to mountain biking, horseback riding on Icelandic ponies, and more. Two popular tours leave from the marina and are within walking distance from downtown Iceland.  There is so much stunning wildlife in and around Iceland that it boggles the mind. The artic waters are where you can find humpback whales in abundance. An ideal way to get close to these magnificent beasts is on a fast-moving rib boat. Guests are provided with protective clothing and goggles and explore the bays around the coast in search of whales and other sea animals.  

In addition to whales, puffins are fascinating birds with nesting areas offshore in the surrounding islands.  The tours get close up to these birds which you’ll see skimming through the waters in search of small fish as they come close to the boat before gathering on the jagged rocks by the sea.

Special Tours Iceland is a recommended service to take in this wonderful wildlife at sea and offers many thrilling adventures run by a top-notch professional team.

After thrilling days of exploring Iceland, visitors will want to come back to rest up in a hotel offering the creature comforts of a luxury hotel and yet close to all that Reykjavik has to offer. In the oldest part of Reykjavik sits a 19th-century building repurposed into one of the city’s most stylish boutique hotels.   

The Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel is inspired by Consul Ditlev Thomsen,  a turn-of-the-century entrepreneur from Iceland who traveled extensively across the European continent, Britain, and Scandinavia. This five-star luxury resort pays homage to Thomsen and is now a blend of tradition and opulence. The hotel is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection brand and features 50 suites, a bathhouse, a 24-hour fitness center, and a wine room. In true Icelandic fashion, the interior is simplistic yet exudes elegance with its leather and gold-plated details The European neoclassical style of the suites will make you feel as in you are traveling in time when Reykjavik was entering a period of industrialization.

Stepping into the hotel rooms, one can instantly sense the noble old-fashioned taste inspired by the Consul’s spirit. Black and white images and artwork are hung above the upholstered king-sized bed frame. Wooden desks and cabinets remind of a diplomatic office interior. A Chesterfield-style sofa compliments the vintage yet modern rest of the décor in the suites. Some of the modern amenities feature HD televisions, espresso machines, and a safe. The sizeable windows bring light into the room and overlook the Nordic city of Reykjavik. Some of the bathrooms in the suites expose the original wall of the building and feature golden elements, a walk-in shower, and mosaic wall art.

To cater to even the most insistent taste, the GOTT restaurant within the hotel serves its guests with a healthy, consciously designed menu. The head chef and owner Sigurdur Gislason, a former member of the Icelandic culinary team, runs the restaurant along with his wife Berglind Sigmarsdóttir. The menu at GOTT changes depending on the fresh produce as well as the fresh fish available that day.  If guests prefer vegan or vegetarian options, they can count on the many options available such as a vegan burger, various salads, and desserts. The concept of the restaurant is to use the entire ingredient so as to not waste food which is why most of the dishes are made from scratch. The atmosphere at GOTT is homely and relaxing, however, the presentation of the food is upscale and masterly. Breakfast is also served at the restaurant and spans cold fish cuts, fresh fruit and bread, eggs and bacon, cheeses, and more.

Icelanders are well-known lovers of hot tubs and natural bathing which they do in the mineral-enriched waters of the Blue Lagoon. The Bathhouse in The Konsulat is a space where guests can get the true Icelandic experience of bathing in the hot pool, relaxing in the sauna, or resting on the lounge chairs. The pool is separated by the 19th-century stone wall with monochrome mosaic glass. Candles are placed around the edges of the pool to transform the atmosphere into a fully sedate space. Beside the bathhouse sits the 24-hour fitness center of the hotel with machines and free weights. Its unusual interior is made up of wooden flooring and some warm-toned leather accents, typical for the hotel’s concept. These elements convey a strong style of a naturally rustic appearance which the guests of the hotel enjoy.

If you have ever thought about visiting the magnificent land where Vikings once roamed or witnessing the glorious natural phenomenon from waterfalls to humpback whales, Reykjavik is sure to fulfill your desires. Savvy visitors will enjoy experiencing the beauty of Iceland while staying in a historical and stylish hotel within Reykjavik’s vibrant city life.  The Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel will make your stay an unforgettable part of your trip to reminisce, long after you leave the alluring capital city.   

 Article by Glenn Harris and Kalina Magureva

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)

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