In mid-November, my wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Iceland for a 5 day getaway before the holidays. During the planning process it was important for me to experience the two premier hotels in Reykjavik, Radisson Blu 1919 and Hotel Borg.
Upon landing at Reykjavik International Airport at 5:30am after a red-eye flight from Baltimore-Washington Airport, we took a taxi to our first hotel on the trip, Radisson Blu 1919. As I’m sure most of us have experienced during previous trips, when you arrive at 5:30am and try to check into a hotel at 7:30am (8 hours before check-in time), there are certainly no guarantees that our room would be available and for us to check-in.
As the taxi pulls up to the hotel’s front entrance, our courtesy driver assists us with our luggage and through the front doors we walk as we approach the front desk. The front desk clerk was gracious and very pleasant, welcoming us to the hotel and quickly proceeding with our check-in. To our surprise and delight, he was able to accommodate us with a beautiful corner guest room that was available for check-in. The beginning of our journey was off to a great start!
As you read this article, I must advise that you discard of any preconceived notions of Radisson Hotels that you’ve seen or stayed at in the U.S. “Blu” is Radisson’s up-market, contemporary, and chic brand almost exclusively located in Europe. Radisson Blu 1919 in Reykjavik proved to be much more than I expected especially when considering Radisson’s budget hotel reputation in North America.
The property is well-appointed with a modern look and feel and the room that we stayed in was very spacious particularly for a European hotel. Our room was approximately 500 square feet with views overlooking the Reykjavik Harbor and beautiful snow-capped mountains in the distance. The property is situated in the heart of downtown Reykjavik. An ideal location for walking and exploring the city, plenty of great restaurants and only a 3 minute walk to the main shopping district. If you are traveling to Reykjavik, you need to stay in this area to truly get a feel for the town!
Final Verdict: During our 5 night trip, we stayed 3 nights at Radisson Blu 1919. I would categorize the hotel as a low 4-star property with a modern design, spacious rooms, friendly staff, and in a great location of the city. The rooms are not going to “Wow” you but they are very large and have all of the essentials including a large soaking tub in the bathroom which does come in handy after walking around the city in 20 degree weather all day. After our trip, I also came to appreciate the quietness of the hotel. There was no ambient noise (i.e. night club or bar across the street, street noise, or guests in other rooms). This is something I expect and take for granted when staying at a hotel but in my review of the next hotel I stayed at in Reykjavik (spoiler alert), I look back with great fondness of Radisson Blu 1919 and would absolutely recommend it. I give the property a score of 8 out of 10.