Iceland has made its way to the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. With erupting volcanoes, endless waterfalls, black sand beaches, and tectonic plates that separate continents, it’s no wonder we flock there to experience its unique landscape.
With so many surrounding sights to see, however, exploring the capital city of Reykjavik may inherit a slot close to the bottom of your Icelandic to-do list. If so, you’ll want to pick your lodging wisely so you can take in as much of the city as you can in a short period of time.
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time in Reykjavik and have stayed at several different properties. The Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton is a hotel I have been wanting to experience for quite a while now, so for this trip, I booked a 2-night stay to have a good time, check out the area around the hotel, and share my experience with all of you.
The Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, located in the oldest part of Reykjavik and was previously a department store that operated since the turn of the century. In 2018, it was modernly renovated as an elegant hotel property.
The hotel’s name was derived from Consul Ditlev Thomsen whose family ran the department store. Consul Thomsen was a prominent entrepreneur and traveler who contributed significantly to the city’s development.
This historic property, now a popular boutique hotel with just 50 rooms, is central to all things Reykjavik has to offer.
If you’re not familiar with Iceland, you may be unaware that the city of Reykjavik is about an hour’s drive from Keflavik International Airport (KEF) where most flights arrive on the island. I’ll talk about transportation options shortly, but just know to allow time to get to and from the hotel when arriving/departing.
Flying to Iceland
My normal go-to airline is Delta Air Lines, but I was in the middle of a status challenge with United, so decided to utilize some Ultimate Rewards points to book my round-trip flight from Northern Michigan to Iceland via Chicago. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to book the $838 flight for about 55,900 Ultimate Rewards points, as cardholders get 1.5 cents per point in value when using points to pay in the Chase travel portal.
With my flight booked, it was now time to select a hotel where I could stay, preferably using hotel loyalty points.
Selecting a Hotel
There are 3 Hilton hotel properties in Reykjavik: Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre, Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, and Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton. I have stayed at the Canopy on prior trips and initially had planned on staying at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica for this September 2022 trip.
However, I had a free weekend hotel night certificate to use up and the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel had a qualifying standard room reward available, so I chose this property for my stay.
Since I wanted to stay 2 nights at the property, I chose to use my free night for the first night and secure the second night with Hilton Honors points. I could have used my certificate for the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica (60,000 points) but received a much better value by booking the more centrally-located Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel (80,000 points).
Translated into dollars, at a value of 0.5 cents per point, I would be using $400 worth of points to secure the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel for the additional night.
The cash price for a night would have been just kr. 40,875 (~$292) but I chose to use Hilton Honors points versus the cash outlay.
Room rates for the hotel will vary by season with the summer high season being the most expensive. Hilton offers this guide to relative seasonal pricing for the hotel, but the visual illustrates hotel pricing for Iceland in general.
I used my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to secure the room and pay for any incidentals so I could earn additional Hilton Honors points during my stay (14x points per dollar spent on Hilton purchases). The card also comes with top Hilton Honors Diamond elite status which should elevate my stay experience.
While the city of Reykjavik is nearly an hour from the main airport, transportation options are plentiful and easy to secure.
When you arrive at KEF airport you’ll have several options for reaching the Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, including a taxi (most expensive), tourist buses, mini-van transport, and city buses.
A taxi will set you back at least $160 (kr. 22,000), so if you’re traveling alone, or with just 1 or 2 additional people, you may want to consider the other options available.
One of the most popular means of transportation to the city is the bus. Flybus and Airport Direct are the 2 main companies providing bus and shuttle services to the city.
Reykjavik has numbered bus stops throughout the city that are located near hotels and major attractions. The stops are designed for tour, bus, and other transport pickup and drop-off and are separate from the city bus system. The Flybus, Airport Direct bus, and shuttles drop off at these stops.
You can book transportation online, at the kiosks in baggage claim, or at the sales desks and additional kiosks located in the arrivals area.
Plan to spend approximately $28 to $33 for one-way transport to a stop near your hotel (via the central bus terminal) with either of the bus companies. You can also book a direct mini-van transport with no stop at the central station for closer to $50 per person, one-way.
Finally, the public bus, Strætó, costs about $14 for a one-way fare from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik. Take the Line 55 bus which goes to the central bus terminal where you can walk, use a local bus, or take a taxi from there. When you exit the airport terminal, the arrival area where buses and taxis are parked will be to your right. The departure driveway will be to your left. Walk left to Kjóavellir street and you will find the bus stop on your right.
I chose to take the Flybus with the shuttle extension and was dropped off at Bus Stop #3. From there it was just a few blocks to the hotel. When exiting the bus, I walked just 2 blocks toward the water, then about 1 block left to find the hotel.
If you’re arriving by car, you’ll find a parking garage and street parking near the hotel (read more about parking near the hotel and in the city in general).
As you approach the hotel, it will look different, depending on the direction of your approach.
If you approach the hotel from a different side, it will look totally different.
As you walk up to the doors of the hotel, they will open automatically.
It might not be apparent where to proceed next, but just follow through the open door to the reception area.
Flights from North America tend to arrive in Iceland early in the morning and check-in time for all the hotels I’ve stayed at in Reykjavik has been 3 p.m. As a result, I didn’t expect my room to be ready when I arrived at the hotel at 10 a.m.
However, I was welcomed and assured my room would be ready shortly, and as a Hilton Honors Diamond member, I could enjoy a complimentary breakfast while I waited. I was also offered access to the Bath House where I could take a shower and relax if I chose to do so.
After breakfast, my room was ready. I was upgraded from a standard king to a deluxe king room. Breakfast was included and I was given a welcome gift of chocolates and a pack of vintage postcards. I was also told I could have a complimentary drink at the bar each night and that the contents of the minibar in my room were complimentary.
With an upgraded room available much earlier than I expected and the added benefits, my first impression of the hotel was very positive.
In the lower level of the hotel, you’ll find the Fitness Room, Bath House, and several restrooms. The fitness center is open 24 hours and the spa is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
I must say, when I checked out the Bath House, I was disappointed I had not packed a swimsuit. Soaking in the hot Icelandic waters would have been so soothing after the too short, and nearly sleepless, plane ride here. Note to self: always bring a swimsuit when visiting Iceland!
The Bath House consists of a dry sauna, a soaking pool, a lounge area, and a shower/dressing area.
The lovely lounge area is part of the spa space and is perfect for relaxing after a sauna, a soak in the spa pool, or a shower.
Although I didn’t partake this time, the sauna was lovely.
There were plenty of separate-gender changing rooms, showers, and restrooms.
The fitness room is compact, but I visited 3 times to take pics and no one was ever in there, so it appears to be more than adequate for the level of use it gets. In the winter I’m sure it gets used more frequently.
Additionally, in the same room, you’ll find a bench, punching bag, and an area for freshening up.
There was also a fitness room extension with open floor space, a mirrored wall, exercise balls, and mats.
The rooftop terrace is surrounded by 5-foot walls that keep out any high winds. On a sunny day, it’s a lovely place to sit outside.
Cushions are added to the furniture in the summer. When this photo was taken, it was just 39 degrees.
The high walls around the terrace mostly obstruct the view, but if you’re taller than 5 feet (I’m not) you could get a glimpse of the surrounding area.
The hotel does not have a designated business center, but the front desk is more than happy to help you print a document if you need to.
The hotel offers dry cleaning, laundry, and ironing services for a charge.
Accessible rooms are available when booking or on request.
I was anxious to see my upgraded room. My first impression, as I walked down the hallway leading up to room 406, was positive. The space around me was clean, nicely lit, and decorated with interesting historic images of the area.
Bedroom and Living Area
Like most of the hotels I’ve stayed at in Reykjavik, my room was smaller in size, yet still attractive, welcoming, and quite elegant.
As I’ve experienced in the past at nicer Hilton properties, the king bed was extremely comfortable.
The left nightstand was well equipped with 2 USB ports, 2 electrical outlets, sufficient lighting, and a phone.
The right nightstand was equally equipped with USB ports, outlets, and an alarm clock.
The sitting area near the TV functioned well. When the table was pulled out and situated between the sofa and chair, it created a small, but cozy, conversation area. I enjoyed sitting on the sofa in the late evening versus the bed.
Speaking of the TV, the nice 49-inch smart TV, with device syncing capability, live TV, radio, weather, and info channels, offered many entertainment and informational options.
The work area was more than functional with a comfortable chair, desk area, and lighting.
Internet speeds were sufficient for work or play throughout the hotel.
The multi-functional closet area held the safe, minibar/refrigerator, storage, coffee station, and slippers/robes.
The coffee station included a Nespresso machine, an electric hot water kettle, assorted coffee pods, teas, and standard condiments.
I was anxious to check out my complimentary minibar, and although there were no alcoholic options, I was pleased with several sodas, 4 bottles of water, orange juices, and snacks.
While compact, the bathroom was spotlessly clean, nicely tiled, very well-lit, and had good water pressure.
An open vanity held extra towels and a hair dryer underneath. There was also a handy touch-lighted makeup mirror.
In addition to a container of cotton balls and swabs, there was a shower cap and full-size L’Occitane lotion and hand soap.
The shower was exceptionally tall and had a nice rain shower head with a shower wand.
There were also full-size L’Occitane shampoo, conditioner, and bath gel amenities in the shower area, as well.
My room on the fourth floor had a small balcony you could step unto. It allowed me to get a breath of fresh cool air and take in the street view.
The hotel is situated adjacent to Laugavegur street, the main shopping street of Reykjavik. If you walk toward the green space you see in the picture, you’ll find restaurants, bars, and some of the finest shopping in the city.
If you turn left out of the hotel, you’re conveniently just a block from the waterfront and all the activities that the area has to offer.
Food and Beverage
While the hotel doesn’t have a full-service restaurant open at this time, you won’t go hungry here. Breakfast is served each morning in the Konsulat Dining Room and you can enjoy cocktails and evening bites in the Konsulat Wine Room and Bar.
Konsulat Dining Room
Complimentary breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the dining room overlooking the outdoor sidewalk.
I don’t know about you, but I always begin my breakfast with the standard bitter ginger beetroot shot, a glass of Prosecco, and some cod liver oil. Fortunately, I didn’t have to vary my usual routine as all were offered when I entered the breakfast room.
I thought it was a nice local touch that had to be Icelandic.
More suitable for my breakfast taste was a nice hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. The machine ground the beans first and then dispensed a nice brew.
This is the entire breakfast spread, and while it may not be expansive, the offerings were tasty and there was plenty of variety.
You’ll find a few cereal selections, as well as jarred fruits and yogurts. Also offered were smoked salmon and fresh tuna salad, both of which were excellent.
Hot items included were scrambled eggs and bacon. There were 2 types of homemade bread, cheese, vegetables, and smashed avocado.
Additionally, make-your-own instant oatmeal in pre-filled cartons was available, plus toppings of cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins.
All in all, I had more than enough options to fuel my day and the quality of the food was impressive.
Breakfast is available via room service and you have the option to pick up a grab-and-go breakfast between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. should you be heading out to explore for the day or have an early flight. Be sure to arrange it in advance.
Konsulat Wine Room and Bar
While still keeping with the overall décor of the hotel, the Konsulat Wine Room and Bar had a much funkier vibe with colorful modern elements added to the traditional. It was also a brighter spot in the building due to the space having 2 sides facing the outside sidewalks.
The Konsulat Wine Room and Bar is open from 2 p.m. daily to 11 p.m, and Friday and Saturday until midnight. The bar menu of bites and small plates is available from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can access more information and the menu here.
Happy Hour is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when beer and wine are discounted. A beer will cost you kr. 900 (~$6.50) and a glass of wine kr. 1,000 (~$7.20).
Hotel guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary drink during the social hour daily from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is a great time to exchange conversations with fellow travelers. In fact, on the first evening, I met a fun traveler from San Francisco and we ended up having dinner together. The second evening I sat with a couple from Portland.
After a cocktail in the bar, you can select from endless dining options surrounding the hotel.
Hot Tip: Alcohol in Iceland is expensive and it cannot be purchased at a grocery store. However, there are ways to beat the high cost. When you arrive, pick up a few bottles of your favorite beverages at Duty-Free. Once in the city, you can download the Appyhour app for the low down on happy hours going on throughout the city.
The Surrounding Area
Because the hotel is in the heart of everything, you’ll easily be able to explore the city on foot. Here is just a snapshot of what there is to do nearby.
Enjoy the old harbor views, snap a photo of the Sun Voyager sculpture, grab a lunch of local fish and chips, or book a boat tour to see the whales and puffins. The old harbor where tour boats depart and the surrounding waterfront is a short walk from the hotel.
Culture at Your Doorstep
The Reykjavik Art Museum is just a few minutes’ walk, or take in a performance at the Harpa Concert and Conference Center, 5 minutes away (also on foot). Here’s an additional list of some of the top museums to visit in Reykjavik.
Just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, you can visit Iceland’s largest church and most identifiable structure, Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. The interior of the church is a modern spectacle (free to visit) and the city views from the top are worth the climb (~$8).
You can reach the church by walking up Skólavörðustígur Street, also known as Rainbow street for its permanent display of support for LGBTQ+ rights.
Shopping and Dining
While some of the city’s best shopping is right outside your door, if you’re here on a weekend you won’t want to miss the indoor flea market just a block away. The Kolaportid Flea Market has everything from vintage clothing, local souvenirs, antique treasures, a fish market, and even a bar.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, one of the world’s most famous hot dog stands, is next door to the hotel. Make it a point to try this unique lamb-based hot dog with all the fixings just to say you’ve tried it. It’s also delicious and a bargain at less than $4.50.
You’ll find a broad selection of places to dine within walking distance of the hotel. Tripadvisor lists dozens of options.
Tour pickup stops are just a few blocks away, making it easy to do the Golden Circle, South Shore, and other day trips without renting a car. I’ve used Viator (they use local providers), and Reykjavik Excursions with good results but check with the hotel for even more options.
There isn’t a full-service grocery store nearby, but you won’t have to walk far for provisions.
One of the best options is Pétursbúð, a neighborhood store packed with everything you need and just a 7-minute walk from the hotel. Take the inland route walking one-way and enjoy the waterfront route on the reverse. The inland route offers the chance to check out the energy of all the outdoor dining venues you may want to visit for a meal later on.
A larger, full-service grocery store, Bonus, is located about a 12-minute walk away at Laugavegur 59. There is also a 10-11 convenience store, open 24 hours, just a block away.
The initial service you receive at check-in can occasionally set the tone for a hotel visit. My front desk experience was excellent as well as the service I received throughout my stay.
I was especially pleased with the effort made to accommodate an extremely early check-in and the granting of my request for a late checkout at 1 p.m. versus 11 a.m., even though the hotel was sold out.
I was also pleased with the recognition of my Hilton Diamond elite status as evidenced by the upgraded room and complimentary breakfast on arrival.
I was very happy to finally stay at the second hotel in the trifecta of Hilton properties in Reykjavik. The Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton turned out to be a fine property that was both elegant and comfortable. Plus, you cannot beat the hotel’s convenient location.
If I had one negative, and it’s not a big one, it would be that the place is a little on the dark side. Fortunately, this is not true in every area of the hotel, and it doesn’t distract from the hotel’s overall charm, elegance, and high level of service.
I think most travelers will love the hotel, as I did. And, in a city with expensive lodging choices overall, I think the hotel offers comparatively good value.
I also just discovered that another Hilton property is opening soon in Reykjavik. Iceland Parliament Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, will soon be completed. I’ll need to plan my return to review the new hotel, plus try, once again, to stay at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica.
I’ll be sure to pass along my experiences when I do return.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.