Apr132017

Hotel Review Hilton Reykjavik Nordica

Reykjavik, Iceland is an expensive destination for hotels, in addition to the high costs for a tourist with most other aspects of a trip to Iceland.

Landing a Hilton Honors Points & Money reservation for 16,000 points + $66 at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica seemed like the best deal I could find for my early April overnight stay. I had about 30 hours in Reykjavik between arriving in Iceland on WOW Air from San Francisco to Keflavik KEF and departing on Wizz Airlines for Vilnius, Lithuania the following evening.

Reykjavik Hilton Nordica

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, Iceland

Unfortunately for me, my Honors Diamond elite status expired three days before my stay. Therefore, I did not receive hotel lounge access or complimentary breakfast. The 8th floor lounge windows are seen in the photo above protruding from the side of the building. At least I received an upgrade to the side of the hotel with the preferred city view as Hilton Honors Silver elite.

Hilton Reykjavik view

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica

Queen Guest Room 16,000 points + $66

Hilton Nordica room1

Lowest room rates at time I booked my stay in mid-February were $224/night for a flexible cancellation rate. 

Hilton Nordica room2

Room windows opened at a tilt for fresh air.

Hilton Nordica room3

The bathroom was fairly standard.

The interesting thing about Reykjavik, Iceland during the two days I was there is I experienced the quickly changing weather of the city. I exited the Gray Line airport bus (2,400 ISK/$21.50 USD) from Keflavik and walked out into the blowing sleet of Iceland. I was dressed and ready for a 35 to 40 minute walk to the hotel after the long haul flight from San Francisco.

Reykjavik zoo

Sleet changed to gently falling snow as I walked through a park near the city zoo.

Reykjavik park (2)

Somehow I managed to find my way across Reykjavik through park lands to emerge onto a road about 300 meters from the hotel. The amazing part is I was walking based on a mental map I had of how to get to Hilton Reykjavik Nordica from the Reykjavik BSI bus terminal. What I did not know at the time is Gray Line bus from Keflavik goes to the Gray Line bus terminal in a completely different part of the Reykjavik than the more popular FlyBus Reykjavik Excursions bus service I had researched.

There was a long line at Keflavik for FlyBus tickets (2,500 ISK/ $22.50) and no line for GrayLine bus tickets (2,400 ISK/$21.50). The price was 100 ISK (0.90 cents less). Both bus coaches were similar in appearance with the GrayLine bus I took to the city a little nicer than the FlyBus I took back to the airport the following day. Both bus services charged an additional 500 ISK ($4.50) for hotel transfer service in Reykjavik. I was the only person on the bus who did not buy a hotel transfer. At the GrayLine bus station, the 12 or so other passengers boarded one of two mini-bus shuttles for hotel transfer. I took off by foot to walk across the city.

Reykjavik GrayLine to Hilton

Google Maps – Gray Line Bus Terminal to Hilton Reykjavik Nordica walking route. 2.4 km in 30 minutes walk.

Reykjavik BSI to Hilton

Google Maps – Gray Line Bus Terminal to Hilton Reykjavik Nordica walking route. 2.7 km in 35 minutes walk.

While paying 500 ISK more for a hotel transfer would have saved me a long walk to the hotel, the quiet walk through the city park was one of the most enjoyable aspects of my time in Reykjavik.

Reykjavik park

The constant noise of heavy traffic in Reykjavik was one of the most disconcerting aspects of the city I had not anticipated.

Reykjavik traffic

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica Lobby

Reykjavik Hilton lobby1

Reykjavik Hilton lobby 2

The lobby had several separate spaces with seating, along with the open floor plan bar.

Reykjavik Hilton lobby 3

Reykjavik Hilton bar

VOX is the hotel restaurant.

Iceland is extraordinarily expensive for food and Hilton Nordica was more expensive than most restaurants where I checked out menu prices.

All Day Menu 11:30-22:30 (sample item selections from menu)

  • Cheeseburger 2,300 ISK / $20.60
  • Vegetarian Burger 2,500 ISK / $22.40
  • Chicken and rice 3,950 ISK / $35.39
  • Lamb tenderloin 5,200 ISK / $46.58
  • Caesar Salad 2,200 ISK / $19.71
  • Caesar salad with chicken or bacon 2,650 ISK / $23.74
  • Roast beef and mushrooms 2,650 / $23.74
  • Eggplant and zucchini lasagna 3,500 ISK / $31.35
  • Fish and Chips 3,690 ISK / $33.06

Dinner Menu 18:00-22:30 (full menu)

Seafood starters

  • King Crab and Shrimp 3,490 ISK/$31.26
  • Scallops 3,250 ISK/$29.11
  • Trout 3,290 ISK/$29.47
  • Cod 3,190 ISK/$28.58

Main Dishes

  • Plaice (fish) 5,790 ISK/$51.87
  • Ocean Perch 5,790 ISK/$51.87
  • Black Bean and Mushroom Burger 4,200 ISK/$37.62
  • Lamb 6,590 ISK/$59.03
  • Horse 6,690 ISK/$59.93

I was disappointed that my Honors Diamond elite status had just expired before my stay, preventing me from accessing lounge food. I did not eat or drink anything from the hotel.

Hilton Executive Lounge

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica 8th floor Executive Lounge

Good news is there are several restaurants within 100-200 meters of hotel with Italian, Mexican, Pizza and Vietnamese food. The Mexican restaurant offered a daily special menu item for about $15 and other restaurants had main dishes for $20 to $30.

Guest floor window

View from elevator foyer on each floor with geographic place names diagram on window.

Hilton Nordica stairs

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica spiral stairway

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica Spa and Fitness Center

Hilton spa

On the second floor is Hilton Reykjavik Nordica spa and fitness center. This is one of the hotel highlights with several workout rooms, sauna, jacuzzi tub outdoors and several treatment areas.

Hilton gym1

Hilton gym 2

Hilton spa 3

Hilton gym 3

Hilton gym 4

All in all, Hilton Reykjavik Nordica is a fine hotel for the city. The primary drawback is its location about 1.5 miles from the main city center with most of the tourist attractions, shopping, bars and restaurants.

Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre

The first hotel opened in Hilton’s new lifestyle brand Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre is in downtown Reykjavik and a far more convenient location for a pedestrian tourist. I meant to visit the hotel, but never made it there.

Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik

In fact, based on my many hours of walking miles across Reykjavik, the best advice I have for a first time visitor is locate yourself in a city center downtown hotel in a location like Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik or Radisson Blu 1919 Saga Hotel. Hotel prices are likely $100 more per night, but there was very little happening anywhere else in the city in April. With unpredictable and quickly changing weather conditions, you don’t want to have to commute to get near the city center entertainment district.

Reykjavik Downtown

Bjarni Fel on Austurstræti seemed to be the street with highest concentration of pubs in Reykjavik city center. Many places offer Happy Hour between 4-7pm.

Hard Rock Cafe Reykjavik

Hard Rock Cafe Reykjavik

Hilton Reykjavik Nordica to Canopy by Hilton is 2.2 km or about 30 minute walk. The Canopy hotel location is within a couple of blocks from Bjarni Fel and Hard Rock Cafe.

Hilton Reykjavik walk route to Canopy

Related Loyalty Traveler articles:

Iceland has tourism problems due to cheap flights (April 8, 2017).

I won’t be fooled again by hotel gift cards (April 6, 2017) mentions how my $25 Hilton Honors gift card was rejected by Hilton Reykjavik Nordica.

Budgeting 2 days in Reykjavik, (pr)Iceland (April 6, 2017).

WOW Air $70 SFO-KEF flight review, YMMV.(April 4, 2017).

Pale Blue Eyes Trip Overview: $327 SFO to Iceland, Lithuania, Latvia, Stockholm (April 13, 2017).

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Did not see a mention of the free bus pass provided by Hilton Reykjavik which allows travel all over the city and makes everything within easy access.

    Executive lounge is fantastic and worth paying for if not Diamond as drinks, food and breakfast are all great and would be expensive if paying per drink or food item.

    Room service was standard Hilton fare but tasty and a good option to Vox for a lazy evening watching TV.

  2. Thanks Ric
    We are stopping over for 3 nights in July (because we have our vacation time then…..I know it will be crowded) and have the same type room booked for 40,000 points per night. I have Hilton Gold so am hoping they will at least provide breakfast for us. We are also considering renting a car to use for day trips and I noticed that parking is free at this hotel.
    I enjoy your blog and have found useful info for other trips (like Krakow last year) that we have been able to use. Keep up the good work.

  3. There was no free business passes when I stayed there in February. Also one had to pay $40 extra dollars to use the workout room or tiny hot tub barely large enough for 2 people. While the drinks and food were expensive, I found them no more costly than the rest of Reykjavich. The hotel did offer a happy hour daily with half price drinks and bar food. The breakfast was 37 kronor but was a great way to fill up and keep full with a small snack until dinner. There were great restraunts beside the hotel, too. With better prices than in town. The staff at the hotel were very friendly, helpful and accommodating. I did my homework beforehand and knew of the expense. I brought snacks and wibe and liquor. I had a wonderful time.

  4. @Kitty – They did not mention any fitness room fee to me.

    Do you have Hilton Honors elite membership of any level?

    Happy Hour seemed to be at any bar in Reykjavik I saw, at least for two hours 5-7pm, if not more. The Drunken Rabbit in Reykjavik started happy hour at noon.

    The restaurants beside the Hilton hotel had lower prices than the hotel, and I saw even better prices when I wandered farther away from the city center. I saw hamburger and fries special for 1,250 ISK ($11) at a burger place about one mile east of the hotel.

    Kronan supermarket was about a 10 minute walk from Hilton in the direction of downtown, where I purchased a hot half chicken for $7.50.
    https://kronan.is/english/

    There might have been closer markets to hotel. I did not ask.

    I enjoyed being in Iceland to experience the vibe, but the aspect of being a traveler in Reykjavik, Iceland is I felt I was in a tourist trap environment. I don’t like Caribbean Islands or Maine in July for similar reasons that the business economy is based around getting as much money out of tourists as possible during the ‘season’.

    There is amazing scenery, but I don’t want to spend $2,000 to spend a week somewhere like Iceland when I can go to places like Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Croatia, Portugal and stay one week for $700 and not worry about how much money I am blowing for a meal or drink or hotel night.

    After Iceland, I had a fantastic time spending 7 days in Lithuania and Latvia on $30 to $50 a day, whereas, Iceland is more like a $150 to $250 per day tourist destination for a comparable level of travel.

    Norway is a country of phenomenal beauty too. At least there are Nordic Choice Hotels there in many places around the country, where I can book Clarion Collection hotels for 16,000 points and get free breakfast and dinner. There are Clarion Collection hotels spread out across Norway and Sweden.

    The cost of a 16,000 points hotel reward night is only $64 when buying Choice Privileges points in Daily Getaways annual sales. This year, Choice Privileges points go on sale Friday, April 28.

    The price of travel matters to me. With more places than I can ever see, I plan my travels so costs are low and I can spend more time traveling in places.

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