It’s safe to say that many of our travel bucket lists include a trip to Iceland. The island is a natural wonder with a wide range of activities and sights to experience.
Thanks to the accumulation of sufficient points and miles to make it happen, I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Iceland on several occasions and stayed at several different hotel properties.
I’ve previously stayed at the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre and loved its location in the heart of funky shops, bars, and restaurants with easy access to the waterfront and other city sights. So here I have returned to take a closer look at the property and share my findings with our readers.
Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is located directly in the city center of Reykjavik, but there are 3 Hilton-branded hotels in the city of Reykjavik. The Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is the first 80,000 marker on the map below, at the far left. The markers indicate how many Hilton Honors points are needed for a free standard room night.
Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is represented by the middle marker, and the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica is located to the far right.
Flying to Reykjavik
Each year in late May/early June, Delta Air Lines begins service direct from Minneapolis (MSP) to Reykjavik (KEF). In late May 2022, I secured a flight from my hometown in northern Michigan, then connecting via MSP, for around $900. Using Delta SkyMiles Pay With Miles to cover a portion of the flight, I applied 50,000 SkyMiles equating to $500 off the flight and I will still earn miles on the paid portion when flying (approximately 4,500 SkyMiles).
I put the remaining cost of my flight on my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points. I could have also used The Platinum Card® from American Express to earn 5x Membership Rewards points for flights purchased directly from the airline, but I had a small credit balance to use up on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Selecting a Hotel Property
Having booked my flight, it was time to select a hotel where I could use hotel loyalty program points to secure an award night.
While I wanted to stay at the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, as I have not stayed at this Hilton property, it was not available for the night I needed. I selected the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre as my second choice.
One standard room night at Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre can be booked for 80,000 Hilton Honors points. We value these points at about 0.5 cents each, so I was essentially using $400 worth of points to book the room. A flexible rate with taxes and fees topped $500 per night, so I was content to hand over the points versus paying cash.
Hilton Honors points have been easy to earn on my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card with 3x earnings on every purchase, 7x earnings on flights/car rentals/dining, and 14x earnings at Hilton properties. Plus, the card comes with top Hilton Honors Diamond elite status which should make a positive difference in my stay. Even if I had not used points for my stay, I would have used this card to pay cash due to the 14x earnings.
When arriving via an international flight, you’ll land at Keflavik (KEF) airport, the largest airport on the island. The airport is approximately 45 minutes from Reykjavik’s city center.
You’ll have several options for reaching the city center, including the convenient Flybus. For about $35 (4,599 ISK), you can secure one-way transportation to the central bus station, then transfer to a minibus that will drop you off at a stop near your hotel.
Reykjavik has a convenient bus stop route, different from the city bus route, that has designated numbered stops strategically located near major hotels and city landmarks. Buses will drop you off and pick you up from these numbered spots. The Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is located near stop #6.
Another option for transit to the city is the Airport Direct bus for about $31 (3,999 ISK). Its economy option delivers you to a bus stop near your hotel after the central station connection. Airport Direct also offers a premium door-to-door direct service via an 8-person (maximum) minibus for approximately $51 (6,590 ISK).
You can also secure a taxi which can cost upwards of $167 (21,500 ISK).
Tickets for the Flybus or Airport Direct can be purchased at the kiosks in baggage claim or once you exit customs and reach the arrivals area. If it’s your first time using either of these services, I would suggest securing a ticket from the booths located after customs where you can ask questions of the staff if you need to. This will also ensure you purchase the correct ticket, which I neglected to do once.
I have used the Flybus + hotel shuttle option, Airport Direct Economy, and Airport Direct Premium. All were efficient and offered free Wi-Fi onboard during the journey.
Uber does not operate in Iceland.
Housed in a former furniture factory, Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre spans several connected buildings with 112 guest rooms.
The façade of the hotel blends with the utilitarian architecture of the buildings surrounding the hotel. The interior of the hotel, however, is fun, funky, and modern.
Although the hotel does not have parking, there is a parking garage located across the street and more in the surrounding area. Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is located in the pink zone parking area which has parking rates of approximately $2 (250 ISK) per hour. You’ll only need to pay during certain hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Other than those hours, parking is free (learn more about Reykjavik parking).
International flights can arrive early in the day, so the chances of you arriving at your hotel prior to the official check-in time are likely. Indeed, I arrived at Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre at 9:30 a.m.
While my room was not yet ready, I was told that as a Diamond elite with Hilton Honors, I could enjoy a complimentary breakfast while I waited. After breakfast, I was able to check-in and received a bottle of water, a local chocolate bar, 1,000 Hilton Honors welcome points, and an upgraded room.
I couldn’t have been happier with the process.
Should you arrive in the early morning too tired to explore, but your room is not yet ready, you’ll have several comfortable seating areas in which to wait. The hotel will also hold your luggage if you decide to venture out and explore the surrounding city center.
You’ll be right in the heart of Reykjavik, so the choices are many for checking out the city while taking advantage of hotel amenities.
Borrow a Bike
A bike is the perfect vehicle for exploring the area around the hotel, and you can borrow one for free if you’re a guest of the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre. A collection of orange bikes is located in the bike stand right outside the hotel entrance.
Play With Vinyl
The hotel has an immense collection of vinyl records. If your excursion should be canceled due to inclement weather (it happens), borrow one of the record players, a few LPs to listen to for a spell, and travel back in musical time.
Those who want to stay in shape will find a small fitness center located on the lower level of the hotel. There were 5 machines and free weights available for use.
After your workout, you’ll be able to freshen up in the area next to the fitness room.
Hotel business centers are becoming less and less like “business” centers. At the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, there was 1 desktop allocated for public use, but that may be enough as I never saw it being used. Iceland is a very digital society where a paper copy of anything is rarely needed.
Danish Living Room
The hotel has just 1 lovely meeting space that can hold up to 30 participants, depending on the room set up.
Just a few notes for those that might need this information. The hotel entrance, elevators, rooms, public areas, and dining spaces are all wheelchair accessible. Showers also have grab bars.
The elevator is equipped with braille and visual alarms. You can even ask to receive a vibrating fire alarm.
Pool and Spa
The hotel does not have a swimming pool or spa. There are, however, several steaming geothermal swimming pools to experience nearby.
Since the hotel is right in the heart of the city center, you’ll have access to all the city sights within walking distance. It’s also easy to book tours that begin in Reykjavik, as the hotel is located just a couple of blocks from bus stop #6.
Don’t miss Hallgrímskirkja, one of Iceland’s most famous churches, just a few blocks away.
You’ll definitely want to explore the neighborhood surrounding the hotel with its bars, shops, colorful street art, and restaurants right outside your door.
Head down to the harbor, less than a 10-minute walk, to enjoy fresh fish and chips or the world-famous hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Don’t expect the line to be this short, however. The harbor is also the departure point for the puffin, whale watching, dolphin, and other scenic tours.
While there are way too many options to cover in this article, you can check out more on what to do in Reykjavik.
I found 2 corner neighborhood markets near the hotel, but for a much greater selection, you’ll want to visit the Bónus supermarket, about a 7-minute walk from the hotel.
The hallways leading to my guest room on the third floor (room 301) were spotless and fresh. The elevators were always prompt despite the hotel being sold out.
Before I talk about my specific room experience, know that you can count on room amenities such as complimentary breakfast with most room rates (including award nights), high-count thread sheets, an alarm clock/radio, a workstation, hairdryer, high-speed internet, an in-room espresso machine, a minifridge, an iron/ironing board, and more. All rooms are non-smoking.
The room was certainly spacious with more room than many of the city hotels in which I’ve stayed. It was superbly decorated, modern, comfortable, and also very functional.
I’ve found the beds at most Hilton properties to be extremely comfortable and this bed was no exception. I slept well on my comfortable king-sized bed with pillows ranging from soft to very firm.
Next to one side of the bed was a small table, European-style electrical outlets, USB ports, and lighting controls.
The other side of the bed had a standard nightstand with a digital alarm clock, electrical outlets, 2 USB ports, and lighting controls for the entire room.
There was also a comfortable chaise lounge next to the window.
The room was equipped with a flat-screen LCD smart TV complete with Bose speakers, the ability to connect your own devices, and plenty of English-speaking channels (if that is important to you).
The coffee station had an espresso machine with several coffee pods, tea bags, condiments, and a hot water kettle.
The room safe and a minifridge were stored in a cabinet right beneath the coffee station.
The closet area had an extra blanket, robe, an iron and ironing board, several hangers, and drawers for belongings.
The desk space, work chair, fan, electrical outlets, lamp, and USB ports made for a comfortable working space — more than adequate for what I needed.
Internet speeds fluctuated, but I always had sufficient strength to work online without problems.
The bathroom was open-spaced and easy to move around. My favorite part of the bathroom was the heated floors! So nice to walk in and have your feet comfy and warm, whether in the middle of the night or after a shower.
The open vanity had storage drawers, with one containing a hair dryer.
The rain shower offered plenty of water pressure and a hand-held shower wand.
Apivita branded individual body lotion, shampoo, shower gel, and conditioner were provided as well as a shower cap, Gilchrist & Soames soap, and make-up remover pads.
Since the hotel is located in the city amidst several surrounding buildings, the views from many rooms are limited to city structure views. However, my room on the third floor gave me peeks of the mountains, water, and clear blue skies. Greater views were available via the small rooftop access deck on the fifth floor.
Food and Beverage
With 1 main restaurant serving breakfast and dinner, 2 bars, and a coffee/snack bar, the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre had several options for a hungry traveler.
Geiri Smart Restaurant
The Geiri Smart Restaurant located on the lower level of the hotel is the hub for dining. The restaurant is at sidewalk level, perfect for watching the outside activity while you dine. The back of the restaurant also has more casual seating if you just want to grab a coffee and a quick bite.
In the evening, the restaurant transforms into the central bar and dinner venue, but first, let’s look at the restaurant’s breakfast offerings.
A plentiful breakfast buffet is served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. each day and is included in most room options. You’ll find a wide selection of beverages, cereals, hot dishes, meats, cheeses, fish, eggs, and fresh fruit.
For an extra fee, you could also order a specialty coffee or espresso.
You’ll find a large selection of breads and pastries, butters, cream cheese, jams, eggs, salmon, meats, salad fixings, guacamole, fresh fruits, and more in this section of the buffet.
Hot items included roasted potatoes, quiche, pancakes, fried eggs, and bacon.
Dinner is served at the restaurant from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and drinks until 11 p.m. The current menu is available online, but with an endless selection of restaurants nearby, there is no reason to eat at the hotel repeatedly. I did not personally eat dinner at the hotel, but I met travelers who did and said it was very good, especially the arctic char.
Complimentary Tasting Pairing
Geiri Smart’s Bar also offers a special complimentary tasting pairing for hotel guests from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. My tasting included a special Negroni made with barrel-aged gin, vermouth, Campari, and orange liqueur plus an appetizer of dilled lamb carpaccio.
Although there is no room service menu, the hotel is happy to prepare you a breakfast bag to go. If you have an early departure for the airport or tour, just ask for a breakfast bag to be delivered to your room or request to pick one up at the restaurant during open hours.
Located on the second floor of the hotel, the Canopy Lounge is open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. for drinks, bar bites from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The multiple seating areas located in the bar areas and throughout the hotel make it easy to relax and have a conversation while enjoying a cocktail.
There are plenty of comfortable areas to sit and enjoy a drink or bite.
There’s also a seasonal outdoor courtyard space that’s perfect for basking in the evening rays of sunshine.
You’ll find ready-to-eat items such as sandwiches, yogurt, Danish, fruit, and more at Canopy Central, open 24 hours. Grab what you like and pay at the reception desk.
With the season freshly beginning, the staff was eager to greet visitors, ask about their country of origin, and inquire about their plans while in the country.
While the mood was friendly, I also experienced excellent service during my visit. Being offered breakfast while waiting for my room to be ready was a nice gesture that I appreciated, especially when others who were checking in were asked to come back at 3 p.m.
The hotel was sold out, yet every staff member took time to answer my questions, ask how my stay was going, and offer assistance.
Although there was no designated concierge desk, the front desk staff was knowledgeable and eager to help.
I found the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre delightful. Everything from the location to décor, service, and comfort was spot on for what I would expect from a hotel.
Hotel rooms in Reykjavik are expensive, so finding a property where I can use points and receive excellent value is always a plus. Additionally, having complimentary breakfast included in most rates is a real money-saver as breakfast can cost upwards of $25.
I’d return to the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre again in a heartbeat. I would also recommend it to any traveler staying in Reykjavik.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.