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.
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 Nordica
Queen Guest Room 16,000 points + $66
Lowest room rates at time I booked my stay in mid-February were $224/night for a flexible cancellation rate.
Room windows opened at a tilt for fresh air.
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.
Sleet changed to gently falling snow as I walked through a park near the city zoo.
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.
Google Maps – Gray Line Bus Terminal to Hilton Reykjavik Nordica walking route. 2.4 km in 30 minutes walk.
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.
The constant noise of heavy traffic in Reykjavik was one of the most disconcerting aspects of the city I had not anticipated.
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica Lobby
The lobby had several separate spaces with seating, along with the open floor plan 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)
- 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
- 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 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.
View from elevator foyer on each floor with geographic place names diagram on window.
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica spiral stairway
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica Spa and Fitness Center
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).