Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Stella Shon
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Hilton has a strong presence in Reykjavik, the relatively small capital city of Iceland, and I’ve had the pleasure of staying at 2 of the 4 Hilton properties there. My favorite time to visit Iceland is the first part of June as flights from the U.S. become more available and the heavy crowds have yet to descend on the city.
I was particularly excited about this trip as I would review Hilton’s newest property in Reykjavik, the Iceland Parliament Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, and also an established property, the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica.
The Iceland Parliament Hotel opened in December 2022 in a complex of buildings formally housing Iceland Telecom, Independence Hall, and the Lady’s School. As with many hotels in the city center, great attention was given to preserving the historical features of some of the city’s oldest buildings while transforming the space and adding new space for modern use.
The result is a stunning 163-room hotel situated in a prime location near Iceland’s Parliament building and surrounded by some of the city’s public squares. I couldn’t wait to experience the property and share a review of my stay with you.
Booking a summer flight from my hometown in northern Michigan can be expensive. It’s a tourist area and flights can be full due to high demand. A round-trip flight to Reykjavik can easily exceed $1,500, even in economy class.
Booking a few months in advance, I was able to find a fare under $1,000 then used a few Delta gift cards to reduce the expense even further. I bought the gift cards and received bonus earnings using my Chase business credit cards at office supply stores and the American Express® Gold Card to earn 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to the first $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; then 1x points).
If I had not had Delta gift cards to use up, I could have used 80,000 United miles for a round-trip award ticket.
Delta launched seasonal direct flights between Detroit (DTW) and Reykjavik (KEF) this year, so I was anxious to try the new route versus flying via Minneapolis (MSP) or on United via Chicago (ORD), as I have previously.
Another viable, and very popular, option would be to fly nonstop on Icelandair. The airline offers flights throughout the year from several North American cities. However, fares weren’t much less and I would have needed to secure a positioning flight from northern Michigan to the city of departure.
I always try to use Hilton Honors points or free night certificates when staying at a Hilton property, especially for an expensive stay. The cash rate for the nights I wanted at the Iceland Parliament Hotel was pricey at over $700 per night (including taxes and fees) but a standard room was available for 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
While not inexpensive, we value Hilton Honors points at 0.5 per point, so 80,000 points at the equivalent of ~$400 is still better value than paying cash. This is the standard points price for the 3 Hilton properties within the city. The Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, located about a mile out of town, can normally be booked for 60,000 Hilton Honors points.
I used my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to secure my reservation. The card comes with complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond elite status and earns 14x points per dollar spent on eligible Hilton purchases.
Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.
Paying hundreds of dollars for an annual fee on a co-branded hotel card might seem ridiculous, but you should know that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is much more than your run-of-the-mill hotel credit card.
The Hilton Aspire card is not only a phenomenal card for Hilton Honors loyalists, but even those who visit Hilton hotels just a few times a year can still get excellent value out of all the benefits that are packed into this card.
So let’s have a look at what makes the card so valuable to travelers.
On departure day, with everything in place, I boarded each of my 2 Delta flights and arrived at Keflavik Airport (KEF) early the next morning.
I then needed to find transportation to the city, about an hour away, where the Iceland Parliament Hotel was located. Fortunately, it’s easy to secure transport from the airport to Reykjavik as there are several options.
The Flybus is the most popular, but Airport Direct, Strætó (the public bus system), or a taxi (the most expensive) are additional choices. I could have also rented a car, although I didn’t need a vehicle once in the city, and it would have been an expensive option.
The Flybus does not have a fixed schedule so there is always a line of buses ready and waiting at the airport when you arrive.
I purchased a Flybus ticket at the desk in the arrivals area for ~$36 for one-way transport to the main bus terminal where I would then transfer to a shuttle that would take me to the stop near my hotel.
Reykjavik has an efficient bus stop system with convenient stops located near major attractions and accommodations throughout Reykjavik. Transportation and tour services utilize this system, separate from the public bus system, to pick up and drop off passengers.
When the Flybus shuttle dropped me off at Bus Stop #1, it was a very short walk to the hotel. Although Google Maps routed me around the block, I walked straight ahead, cutting through the block, directly to the hotel.
I noticed the Parliament building as I approached the hotel. The Icelandic parliament is known to be the oldest parliament in the world, established originally in the year 950 at what is now Thingvellir National Park.
The Iceland Parliament Hotel is in the heart of the city of Reykjavik and within walking distance of all the key attractions and the waterfront.
The entrance to the hotel was easy to spot. Just as I walked in, there was a nice display with historical information about the hotel.
My Hilton Honors Diamond elite status has served me well during my previous visits to the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre and the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. I was hoping for a similar experience at the Iceland Parliament Hotel.
Check-in was pleasant and efficient. My Hilton Honors Diamond status was acknowledged and I received an upgraded room to a king junior suite. Along with the included breakfast, a complimentary drink at the bar was offered.
And, best of all, although it was barely noon, my room was ready.
The lobby area offered more than a dozen separate seating areas. I would have been very comfortable if I’d had to wait for my room to be ready.
Modern and spacious, the hotel lobby was a surprise — in a good way.
As the Iceland Parliament Hotel recently opened in late 2022, everything throughout the hotel is stunningly new. I had fun exploring the property and taking in the beauty of this series of renovated historic buildings.
First up was the fitness center and spa. A nice descent down the unconventional staircase was my choice over the available elevator.
The Iceland Parliament Hotel offers a stellar fitness center. Don’t take my word for it as I am not a fitness expert, just an occasional treadmill user. But I do know that a fitness room with large open spaces, numerous flat-screen TVs, and interactive equipment is probably desirable.
The fitness center was open 24/7 and available complimentary to all guests.
The fitness room had plenty of open floor space and was stocked with a variety of new Technogym equipment.
In addition to a variety of machines, the free-weight area offered weight benches and a wide selection of dumbbells, balance and exercise balls, and kettle balls.
Plenty of fresh towels and water were available in the room, plus a faucet for filling your water bottle.
Carry your water bottle with you at all times in Iceland as water faucets are found everywhere. The tap water in Iceland is some of the best water in the world.
The hotel houses a beautiful spa with complimentary access for all guests. The Iceland Parliament Hotel spa was open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Additional treatments and services such as facials, hot stone, deep muscle, and couples massages can also be booked. Treatment availability times will vary.
My first stop was to check out the pool and it was amazing. Robes and towels were available.
There were several lounging rooms, all with different styles. You could also order drinks to savor while you relax.
With so many choices, the perfect relaxation space would be easy to find. Some walls were covered in beautiful wood, others with marble or granite.
Fresh towels and plenty of water were available at the refreshment station.
The spa had a dry sauna, a steam room, and a cool mist room to utilize in the order I would prefer.
With so many options, one could spend an entire day in this delightful spa. I did not, but I could have.
The Iceland Parliament Hotel is fully equipped to handle weddings, conferences, meetings, or social gatherings. The conference and meeting center is connected to the hotel and contains 8,500 square feet of available space.
The magnificent banquet room, the gem of the conference center, can hold up to 200 guests.
In addition to meeting rooms and the banquet room, the conference center has several, so-called “function rooms,” each accommodating up to 100 people. The rooms are part of the renovated Lady’s School section of the building.
The conference center also has a full business support center for meeting services, including audio-visual equipment and support.
Pets are not allowed at the hotel.
The hotel does not have onsite parking. There is, however, public parking nearby. Parking in Reykjavik is mostly free outside the hours of Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of parking in the zone where the hotel is located is approximately $2.60 per hour (kr. 370).
Wi-Fi is complimentary for guests throughout the hotel. The speed of Wi-Fi in my room was adequate but was better in other parts of the building.
The approach to my room #413 was impressive with a nice bright hallway, granite threshold, and a fresh, clean fragrance throughout. I was anxious to view my junior suite.
The room was lovely and had the layout of a studio apartment. It was certainly spacious and had modern furnishings.
At the entrance was an ample closet with all the amenities one would expect at an upscale hotel. In addition to a shelf, a mirror, and drawers for storage, there was a luggage stand, an ironing board, and an iron.
The closet also held 2 bathrobes, 2 pairs of slippers, an umbrella, a laundry bag, a shoe-shine cloth, and a mending kit. A hairdryer and safe were also stored there.
The desk area included a coffee station, ice bucket, and drinking glasses. There was plenty of space to set up my laptop, convenient electrical outlets, and a comfortable chair.
The coffee station included an electric kettle, a LOR-branded coffee machine, assorted coffee pods, instant coffee, teas, associated condiments, ceramic cups, and a bottle opener.
The desk area also contained the minifridge which held complimentary still and sparkling waters.
The living area included 2 chairs, 2 side tables, a modern lamp, and a 55-inch flat-screen TV.
The bedroom area was regal with rich woods, a modern sitting bench, and a tasteful area rug. There was also plenty of lighting and a mirror with a handy shelf. I really liked this space.
The king bed was as comfortable as I would expect at a Hilton property. And, it’s always nice to have 4 pillows of varying softness.
The left nightstand held the phone, master lighting controls, 2 USB ports, and an electrical outlet. There was also a personal lighting fixture located above the headboard.
The right nightstand, identical to the left, also had lighting controls, USB ports, an electrical outlet, and personal lighting above the headboard.
There were 2 55-inch flat screen TVs in the room, 1 in the living area and 1 in the bedroom area. There were 35 stations of which 30 were TV channels and 5 were music channels. Many of the TV channels were English-language channels. Additionally, I could stream YouTube but no other personal media apps could be accessed.
The tiled bathroom was truly a nice space complete with a double vanity and shower. I especially liked that it had plenty of bright lighting.
The open double vanity had plenty of space for my personal items and electrical outlets convenient for drying and styling my hair in front of a mirror. I know that not all hotels can do this due to local regulations, so when it’s available, I appreciate it.
Zero% branded amenities are made with “elements that emphasize purification and hydration.” Their fragrance was nice, too — light and floral. There was a bottle each of hand wash and lotion mounted at both ends of the vanity.
Additional vanity amenities included a loofah sponge, cotton buds, a shower cap, and a small vanity kit that included cotton makeup wipes, more cotton buds, and an emery board.
In addition to the smoked glass entrance pictured above, the shower featured a rainfall shower head, a nice hand wand, and a grab bar. The shower was delightful.
Full-size containers of Zero% branded shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner were mounted on the shower wall.
There was really no view from my room but it was fine as there was plenty of light coming into the room. If there had been a view, it would have been of other city buildings including the bars. One positive of an inside-facing room is that it was extremely quiet.
From the hallway outside my room, there was a courtyard view. My room windows are the upper left ones, therefore the building-wall view.
The hotel has 1 restaurant and a bar, both of which are located on the main level of the hotel. Room service was also available as well as packed lunches to go.
The hotel restaurant was open for breakfast each day from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. It’s also available for lunch/dinner with dining from an à la carte menu from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
The dining room was at street level and overlooked Austurvöllur Square. It’s a lovely view, especially in late spring.
The daily breakfast buffet costs ~$30 but is complimentary with most room rates. On select days, you can also order à la carte off a menu. This option was not available for the days I stayed.
The first stop on the buffet was the coffee station. In addition to fresh coffee made from the machine, assorted teas were provided.
I also had the choice to forego the machine and pour the ready-made brew. Occasionally, not having to wait for that first sip of coffee is important. Regular and decaf were available. There were 2 juice choices: orange and apple.
No proper Scandinavian breakfast starts without a shot of cod liver oil.
Next up, I grabbed a glass of Champagne as every day is Champagne brunch day at the Iceland Parliament Hotel. I was lucky to have all the Delta flight attendants who worked on my flight from DTW to KEF invite me to join them for breakfast when we arrived and again each day of my stay.
They all agreed this hotel was the nicest crew hotel Delta has ever provided.
There is nothing better than a Champagne brunch and travel talk to start the morning.
Once beverages were secured, I could move on to the assortment of cereals, yogurts, Icelandic skyr (a smoother, thicker yogurt), and toppings.
There was a nice selection of sweet pastries available. I like to try the local sweets but don’t always want a whole serving. How thoughtful it was to cut smaller pieces making it easier to try just a taste.
Local breads are also a treat and these were especially fresh. I particularly liked the dark bread — I assumed it was pumpernickel. It paired nicely with some smoked salmon.
There was a typical spread of sliced meats and cheeses but the dill smoked salmon stole the show.
Freshly-sliced cucumbers and tomatoes along with artisan cheeses also accompanied the deli choices. In addition, there were sliced fresh fruits, bananas, and hard-boiled eggs.
The standard buffet hot items included beans, sausage, bacon, and fried eggs. Omelets and made-to-order eggs were easily available. I had an omelet each day.
There is 1 menu available for lunch and dinner with items available throughout the afternoon and evening. Starter selections range from a beetroot salad for ~$22 to a Canadian lobster appetizer for ~$35. Main course choices included a hamburger for ~$30 and beef with Bordelaise sauce for ~$50.
There were 3 dessert choices from which to select. The skyr with berries, the glazed pineapple, or a white chocolate brownie with praline, fudge, and vanilla ice cream were each ~$21.
The modernistic Telebar is named for its place in the former Iceland Telecom Building. As a Hilton Honors Diamond elite, I was able to enjoy a complimentary beer or glass of wine between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day.
There was a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily when house wines and beer (excluding IPA) cost ~$7 and premium wines cost ~$10. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., select cocktails were discounted.
On the fifth floor of the hotel, there is space reserved for a future lounge. It has not yet been determined exactly how the lounge will be set up, whether by paid access or otherwise.
Everyone in the hotel was friendly and helpful. Anna, in particular, went above and beyond. She was conversing with guests in the dining room when I asked about the hotel’s meeting rooms. She immediately offered to give me a tour of the conference center as breakfast service was ending.
One small issue was that I was unable to obtain a late checkout due to the hotel being fully booked. Checkout time is 11 a.m. and I asked for noon, but even as a Hilton Honors Diamond member, my request was not able to be granted.
I had no other issues during my stay and the service I received from everyone in the hotel was excellent.
Reykjavik Harbor is just a few blocks from the hotel. You can book all types of water-based tours that depart from there such as whale-watching, puffin tours, and ferries to the surrounding islands. The harbor is also a good place to grab a fish lunch or dinner.
The free City Walking Tour begins directly outside the entrance of the hotel. This particular walking tour is conducted by volunteers, lasts about 2 hours, and is a comfortable total distance of 1.3 miles. Make a donation at the end of the tour based on what you feel the tour was worth. Departures are scheduled twice daily and you can book up to 5 days in advance.
The hotel is an excellent base for tours across Iceland as Bus Stop #1 is just a block away and that’s where tour operators pick up! Book via Viator, Reykjavik Excursions, or Bus Travel Iceland, just to mention a few I’ve used with tours that pick up in the city.
There is a Corner Market (that’s the name) across the street with all the basics needed. I walk about 5 minutes more to reach my favorite neighborhood market Pétursbúð. The market is a treasure with gourmet and everyday staples. There are also 2 full-service Bonus supermarkets, each located within a 14-minute walk (in opposite directions) from the hotel.
For alcohol, Vínbúðin is the place to go and it’s just a block or so away. For the past few years, you had to leave the city center to buy alcohol as supermarkets do not sell it. Fortunately, Vínbúðin is open again.
There are dozens of restaurants, light food options, and bars within a block of the hotel, and an endless selection in the surrounding area. I have not tried many so I have no personal recommendations.Hot Tip:
While not fine dining, don’t miss the world’s most famous hot dog stand about 2 blocks away. You won’t forgive yourself if you don’t have a dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
A better location in the city of Reykjavik would be difficult to find — I was right in the middle of everything. Staying at a newly renovated/rebuilt hotel is also a special experience as everything was sparkling clean, appointed with the newest technology, and well-decorated.
I’ve stayed at several hotels in Reykjavik and the Iceland Parliament Hotel is at the top of the list as one of the best.
Here are some additional reviews I’ve written for hotels in Reykjavik and near Keflavik Airport:
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
Yes, the Iceland Parliament Hotel is a very nice hotel. It is also one of the newest hotels in the city of Reykjavik.
The location is perfect, the service is excellent, and the decor is posh. The hotel also has an incredible spa and fitness center.
No, like most hotels in Reykjavik, the Iceland Parliament Hotel does not allow pets.
No, the Iceland Parliament Hotel does not have a shuttle service from Keflavik Airport. There are several convenient options for reaching the hotel including the Flybus, Airport Direct, the public bus system, or a taxi.
The hotel can also help you arrange transportation and assistance with parking if you have a rental car.
Many of the room rates include complimentary breakfast. It was also included as a Hilton Honors Diamond elite booking a standard room with Hilton Honors points.
There is no onsite parking at the Iceland Parliament Hotel but there is public parking available nearby. Parking in Reykjavik, in general, is very limited, especially in the Old Town area where the hotel is located.
The city center of Reykjavik is compact and very walkable. Any hotel in the city center will give you access to all of the key sights and things to do in Reykjavik.
The Old Town area of the city is more historic and upscale while the upper town has a funkier vibe with more nightlife.
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