After enjoying our first 3 nights in Reykjavik at Radisson Blu 1919, we walk less than 2 blocks to our next hotel, Hotel Borg, for the remaining 2 nights of our stay in Iceland. We walk over to Hotel Borg early Friday morning before our full-day tour begins with Super Jeep at 8:30am.
Before my trip to Iceland, I know that I wanted to stay at Radisson Blu 1919 and Hotel Borg because after thorough research coupled with client feedback, it was clear that both properties were the premier and most luxurious hotels in the city. With that said, it was also quite obvious that Hotel Borg was the higher end hotel and right behind it was the Radisson Blue 1919. Needless to say, Hotel Borg’s customer service and beautiful, newly renovated guest rooms and public spaces did not disappoint.
From the moment we entered the hotel, there is an immediate luxurious feel to every aspect of the public spaces. Hotel Borg was originally built in the 1920s and has a rich history in Reykjavik as an iconic hotel in the city. However, the hotel’s rich history does not get in the way of it’s beautiful modern renovation which honors it’s history but brings the hotel into the 21st century with stunning décor, well-lit and contemporary designed lobby and restaurant, and guest rooms with all of the modern conveniences and amenities you come to expect from a 5-star luxury hotel.
We were checked into a beautiful, newly renovated guest room which was very well appointed with new furniture, a completely renovated bathroom with a walk-in shower, new hardwood floors and a large flat screen TV hanging on the wall above a reasonably sized desk. The accommodations were smaller than the Radisson and a more typical size that you would come to expect from a European hotel. Our guest room was approximately 325 square feet.
Hotel Borg completed a renovation in 2015 to all of their public spaces and to 50% of their guest rooms. It’s important to remember this especially if you are traveling to Reykjavik in 2016 because they still have half of their guest rooms which have not been renovated yet and the rooms are very different (I was able to see both during my stay).
The biggest differentiators elevating Hotel Borg and separating it from competitor hotels in Reykjavik (i.e. Radisson Blu 1919) is their customer service, immaculate and newly renovated guest rooms and public spaces and their acclaimed restaurant. The employees at the hotel, particularly the front desk / concierge staff were fantastic and always willing and able to assist us with questions, contacting our tour company to reconfirm pick-up times, providing restaurant recommendations and arranging transportation back to the airport for us.
Now the bad news...
I foreshadowed the bad news during my review of Radisson Blu 1919, so you may remember how much I appreciated the quiet and serene location and guest room? Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for my accommodations at Hotel Borg. Our guest room was located on the second floor looking into the interior square that the hotel shares with other buildings on the same block (bookstore, gift shop and restaurant/night club which are separate from the hotel).
Although our room was very nice and well-appointed, the hardwood floors make it very easy to hear everything happening in the room above. If someone drops something, you’ll hear it. If they talk even a little louder than normal, you’ll hear them. We also had a very “spirited” group of young professionals that could be heard very well from down the hall.
We are not typically bothered by sounds from other guests or any sort of ambient noise so that is what struck me most. However, that was not a big deal as it was primarily during the day and early evening. The bigger problem occurred when we returned to our room and went to sleep but were woken up at midnight (and I’m a pretty heavy sleeper) by loud music from the restaurant/night club that is located on the same block (across the interior square). We eventually fell back asleep 30 minutes later because we were too tired to let it keep us up but that was certainly the low moment of our stay.
Final Verdict: Understanding the premise that I am quite forgiving of issues at a hotel that are outside of their control (in this case, ambient noise)… I still found my stay at Hotel Borg to be very pleasant. The renovations set it apart and above the competition as the iconic, historical luxury hotel in Reykjavik. Overall, I would give my stay a 7.5 out of 10. Hotel Borg is more expensive than Radisson Blu 1919 and given the noise issues I experienced, I can’t give my stay higher than a 7.5. Now…with that said, I would still recommend this property to clients ahead of Radisson Blu 1919 but only after I contact the hotel and they guarantee the room is located on a high floor and facing the front of the building, so you wouldn’t hear the noise from the night club. If the hotel is unable to guarantee this request…then I would not be able to recommend it.