Saturday, October 2, 2021

Most luxurious stay in town at Reykjavik

There really isn't many luxurious options in Reykjavik and honestly it's not surprising since Iceland is known for its natural beauty out in the countryside than city life.  With that said, 2/3 of the population in Iceland lives in Reykjavik so there must be something to the city that Icelanders appreciate.  Indeed there are plenty of cultural things to do in the biggest city on this island.  Tower Suite is a perfect respite in Reykjavik while you enjoy the city.  Because it's on 20th floor, every room has fantastic view whether it be looking at the city or ocean.  

For my three day stay at Reykjavik, I decided to stay at the Esja Corner Suite which I feel is the best suite in the hotel as it has ocean and city view.  To start, the check in process was rather simple.  Once you arrive at the hotel (it's actually an office building with hotel on its top floor), you are greeted by a front desk person.  This person will check you in at your room and walk you around the facility available at the hotel.  In all honesty, there isn't any facility really.  Essentially next to the elevator lobby area on the 20th floor, there is a rather spacious living room where you can get coffee and snacks.  Breakfast are served in the room or you can take it in at this living room.  Personally I prefer in room breakfast.  There is no gym or spa facility so don't even bother to look for one. The front desk person act as concierge for the hotel so any restaurant bookings or other activities can be booked through him/her.  

Now onto the suite.  I actually toured all the suites while I was there and concluded the best ones are Akrafjall Corner Suite and Esja Corner Suite as both have water view.  While Akrafjall Suite also has a view of the top Reykjavik iconic sites: Hallgrimskirkja church and Harpan Concert Hall, but the layout feels a bit more choppy as the bathroom divided living room and bedroom spaces which made each individual area feel small.  Esja suite, on the other hand, feel more airy and bigger because there is no walls between living room and bedroom.  

In terms of finishes.  I thought most of the finishes was quite nice with few odd choices thrown in.  The best part to me was the light in the ceiling.  It made the space feel very designed.  The view of the suite was also quite nice.  While I was there, Reykjavik was overcast day and night (possibly due to a recent volcano eruption) so I imagine the view would be spectacular during a sunny day.  When one sees Northern light in Reykjavik, view out of this suite would be incredible!!  (Although later I learned that Reykjavik rarely experience Northern light).  

To me the downside of the suite was the bathroom enclosure.  It is basically a sliding glass panel.  However, the panel doesn't go all the way to meet the wall so you have a half inch gap whenever you "fully enclose" the bathroom.  For complete privacy, there is a curtain you can pull over the glass panel so that helps a bit.  In addition, the bathroom only has one sink which I feel at this price point, it really should have two sinks.  Toilet room inside the bathroom has another glass door which is helpful.  

While the location of the hotel is a bit further out from major tourist area, I feel it's a good thing as you are away from it all and downtown area is only a good 20-25 minute stroll which isn't bad.  Reykjavik is quite safe so a perfect way to see the city is to eat in downtown core and then walk back to the hotel.  Next to the Tower Suite is Höfði House.  This is where Reagan and Gorbachev met for 1986 Reykjavik Summit during Cold War years.  Although prior to this pivotal summit, the house was initially built for a French consul in early 1900s and was home to British Embassy in 1950s.

Overall I thought the service was good and suites were nicely designed.  Without a doubt next time when I return to Reykjavik, this will be the place I will stay again.  If you are a design snob, I think Tower Suite will scratch that itch.