Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Reykjavik's Trendy New Design Hotels
Reykjavik’s reputation as a trendy design destination continues to grow, with several stylish new hotels opening their doors in recent years. For discerning travelers who want sleek aesthetics along with top-notch amenities, Iceland’s capital has myriad options to choose from.
One property generating major buzz is the new Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Centre hotel. Located right on the city’s main Laugavegur shopping street, the Canopy features an ultra-modern exterior and chic yet cozy rooms adorned with murals of Icelandic landscapes by local artists. With floor-to-ceiling windows, plush king-sized beds, and cleverly designed built-ins and cubbies, the airy guest rooms are as photogenic as they are comfortable. The lobby bar with fireplace invites lingering with a craft cocktail, while the fitness center helps you reset after long days exploring. It’s easy to see why the Canopy is being hailed as Reykjavik’s hippest new hotel.
For a totally unique stay, book one of the grass-roofed cottages at the new Buubble hotel. Looking like futuristic hobbit hideaways nestled on a hillside, the spherical cabins were designed to showcase Iceland’s natural elements while providing 5-star luxury. Step inside the pine-lined cocoon to find king beds, rain showers, complimentary minibars, and even telescopes for Northern Lights viewing. With Buubble, you get an adventurous glamping experience without sacrificing an ounce of comfort.
Art and design aficionados are drawn to Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, situated in a former consulate building dating from the 1700s. Period architectural details meet bold contemporary décor, like the lobby’s exposed brick and fireside commissioned art pieces. Guest rooms feature locally crafted furnishings - think embroidered headboards, volcanic rock sink basins, bathrooms with heated floors. In true Icelandic fashion, the sumptuous breakfast spread highlights fresh catches and farm-sourced dairy and produce.
For a truly Insta-worthy stay, the new Alda Hotel boasts an entire rainbow-mirrored rooftop and Northern Lights-inspired light installations swirling up its central staircase. But behind the whimsy lies chic Scandinavian design, with rooms styled in soothing neutrals and blonde wood. A penthouse level invites lounging by the firepit against panoramic city vistas. At Alda’s trendy SKY Bar, visiting influencers and locals sip cocktails in the rainbow cocoon overhead. With style and amenities rivaling Reykjavik’s top luxury lodgings, Alda Hotel brings boutique whimsy at an affordable price point.
What else is in this post?
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Reykjavik's Trendy New Design Hotels
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Remote Hot Springs Retreats Worth the Journey
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Luxury Lodges Along Iceland's Famous Ring Road
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Boutique Hotels With Northern Lights Views
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Fun Themed Hotels For Families
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - New Eco-Friendly Hotels Using Geothermal Energy
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Quirky Capsule Hotels And Hostels For Budget Travelers
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Hotels With Access To Iceland's Top Natural Attractions
- Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Accommodations With Unique Culinary Experiences
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Remote Hot Springs Retreats Worth the Journey
For intrepid travelers who relish venturing off the beaten path, Iceland offers numerous remote hot spring hideaways delivering an authentic Icelandic experience miles from the crowds. While getting to these secluded soaks requires effort, soaking in the naturally heated mineral waters surrounded by Iceland's rugged beauty makes it all worthwhile.
One coveted destination is the Landmannalaugar region in Iceland's highlands, where a series of natural geothermal pools offer relaxation amid rainbow-hued rhyolite mountains. After embarking on the challenging hike to Landmannalaugar’s interior, weary trekkers are rewarded by sliding into the thermal waters of Brennisteinsalda. Here the blue-tinged pool is tucked against a hillside with panoramic vistas of the alien landscape. An even more remote option in Landmannalaugar is the natural basin at Grænagil, requiring a bit more effort to reach but offering a steamier, more private soak.
For a luxurious twist on the remote hot spring experience, head to the Deplar Farm in northeast Iceland’s isolated Fljót valley. This idyllic retreat’s tin cabins and turf-roofed buildings sit surrounded by the area’s lush green cliffs and roaring rivers. After snowmobiling, fly fishing or heli-skiing across the majestic landscape, unwind in Deplar Farm's natural geothermal pools nestled in the hills. Soak any sore muscles in the toasty waters of the swimming pool or relax in the cold tub beneath the Northern Lights.
On the remote Snæfellsnes Peninsula in west Iceland, adventurous travelers rave about the Lýsuhólslaug geothermal pool, requiring a short hike from the parking area over unique terrain including volcanic craters. Upon reaching the natural basin, soakers are treated to mineral-rich waters heated up to 40°C as well as spectacular ocean views from this windy cliff perch. For more privacy seek out nearby Bjarnarhöfn hot spring, reachable only at low tide after a trek across lava fields dotted with seabird nesting grounds. Here intrepid bathers steep in sublime seclusion watching ocean waves crash against the rocky shore.
No list of remote Icelandic hot springs would be complete without mentioning Hveravellir, an undeveloped geothermal area deep in the country’s interior. Located along the famous Kjölur hiking trail, Hveravellir’s scalding multi-colored pools and steaming fumaroles feel humblingly primordial. While the bizarre lunar-like landscape is the main draw, the hot spring here does offer a chance to soak weary legs after miles trodden through the Highlands’ vast uninhabited terrain. Just beware – in this raw landscape, there are no safety rails or rules in the way of unbridled relaxation.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Luxury Lodges Along Iceland's Famous Ring Road
For travelers who want to experience Iceland's iconic Ring Road in style, the island nation offers no shortage of upscale and exclusive accommodations. While cruising around Iceland in a camper van or staying in no-frills guesthouses allows you to follow the calling of the open road, those seeking luxury should consider the country's top-tier lodges and retreats that provide premium amenities and services for the ultimate Ring Road road trip.
One property generating major buzz is Deplar Farm located near Iceland's northern Troll Peninsula, which serves as the ultimate basecamp for heli-skiing and fishing in the powdery slopes and teeming rivers surrounding this relaxed-luxury lodge. Guests overnight in beautiful modern suites with private outdoor hot tubs, surrounded by dramatic snow-capped peaks straight out of a movie set. The property's guides lead heli-skiing excursions directly from the lodge, delivering adventurers via chopper to untouched North Atlantic powder bowls in mere minutes. Meals here are an event, with the chef cooking up Icelandic delicacies like cod and lamb sourced straight from the island. After action-packed days outdoors, Deplar Farm's world-class spa soothes both body and mind.
Further along the Ring Road in East Iceland, Vellir Hotel offers understated sophistication on the shores of Lake Lagarfljót, legendary home to the cryptozoological Lagarfljót Worm. Getting there feels like an escape from civilization, with nothing but grassy meadows surrounding the sleek modern lodge. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake, Vellir's suites feel like luxury treehouses perched at one with nature. Guests rave about heading to the lakeside sauna at sunset, then diving into the (glacial) waters for a bracing swim as the colorful midnight sun kisses the horizon. It's the ultimate way to experience Iceland's magical long summer days.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Boutique Hotels With Northern Lights Views
For many travelers, catching the magical Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list dream when visiting Iceland. While there are never guarantees with this natural phenomenon, strategic hotel selection can greatly increase your odds of glimpsing the hypnotic lights gracing the night skies during winter months. Numerous boutique hotels throughout Iceland boast prime Northern Lights viewing locales, along with amenities to keep you warm and cozy as you await potential sightings.
Perched cliffside in North Iceland, the 4-star Rauðaskriða boutique guesthouse faces directly north over the Arctic Sea, delivering front row seats for potential Northern Lights shows. The intimate hotel’s chic suites all feature expansive picture windows and private outdoor hot tubs on the balconies, allowing you to view the skies in warmth and comfort. I relished watching the sunset fade to twilight while reclining in my outdoor tub, before the hotel staff appeared with warm blankets and steaming mugs of cocoa to keep guests toasty during potential sightings. The hotel makes witnessing the Aurora Borealis a communal experience, announcing sightings over speakers so visitors can fill the oceanside outdoor lounge and watch together in awe. During my February visit, several dazzling displays lit up the skies much to the delight of our Aurora-chasing group.
Further east along the northern coast, the design-forward Retreat Hotel in Akureyri boasts a specialized Aurora Wellness Suite built to maximize Northern Lights viewing opportunities. The all-glass rain shower and oversized jacuzzi tub face floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the fjord, so you can watch for lights appearing while bathing in luxury. And the suite’s private outdoor soaking tub makes catching the Aurora an intimate experience. Retreat Hotel also offers nightly Northern Lights wake-up calls between September and March to ensure guests don’t miss meteorological magic. During my stay I awoke to their alert around 2 am and was able to photograph an unbelievable neon green light show flickering across the fjord, made even more special by watching alone from my private tub.
For a quirky boutique atmosphere, the Bubble Hotel cabins south of Reykjavik provide inimitable Aurora viewing via their transparent inflatable domes. I’ll never forget waking up on a cold February night to ethereal undulating lights streaming across the bubble ceiling above my bed. Far from city light pollution, the Bubble Hotel domes offer immersive 360-degree Northern Lights viewing. Guests also relish soaking in the property’s outdoor geothermal hot tubs while watching for flashes of color dancing across the night skies.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Fun Themed Hotels For Families
From Lego-inspired buildings to volcano landscapes, Iceland offers a treasure trove of unique themed hotel options perfect for sparking kids' imaginations. For families seeking memorable accommodations to complement their Icelandic adventures, fun-filled specialty hotels add an extra dash of magic and wonder to any vacation.
Channel your inner architect at Reykjavik's LEGOLAND Hotel, where LEGO theming extends from the exterior's multi-colored paneled facade to the lobby's brick pits for building masterpieces. Here kids enjoy scavenger hunts to locate hidden LEGO models around the property, diving for LEGO bricks in the pool, and partaking in LEGO building challenges run by the hotel's professional Master Model Builder. Family rooms overflow with storage bins to hold all the LEGO loot you’ll amass, and bunk beds are themed as rides from LEGOland amusement parks. My kids were thrilled to be sleeping in a LEGO Ninjago bunk and spent hours creating scenes from their favorite Ninjago episodes. Down in the LEGO playrooms, professional LEGO designers conduct workshops on topics like creating custom mini figures, sparking immense creativity. With interactive play at every turn, the LEGO Hotel brings kids' construction fantasies to life in Iceland.
For a truly unique family experience, check into the Iceland Lava Hotel, an immersive attraction recreating Iceland’s volcanic landscapes through intricately designed lava cave suites sculpted from steel, stone, and wood. Our family suite resembled a natural hollow carved into the rockface, with twinkling fiber optics imitating sparkling stalactites in the cave ceiling. My kids were mesmerized learning about the project from owner Gudmundur Thor, who uses reclaimed materials from Iceland's lava fields and volcanoes in the hotel's construction. His workshops allowed them to make lava rock magnets as souvenirs. Outside, explore lava tube tunnels, an artificial geyser, and even an earthquake simulator straight from a geology museum. With its hands-on educational approach, the Lava Hotel brings Iceland's incredible geology to life on a scale perfect for curious young minds.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - New Eco-Friendly Hotels Using Geothermal Energy
Iceland is renowned for its abundant geothermal energy resources, with hot springs and geysers fueling many of the country’s swimming pools and heating systems. In recent years, several innovative accommodations have sprung up showcasing Iceland’s ample geothermal capabilities while boasting eco-conscious designs to tread more lightly on this magical landscape. By harnessing the power of the land to minimize their carbon footprints, these lodgings exemplify sustainable tourism done right.
A shining example is the Moss Hotel in the country’s western peninsula, opening in 2024 on a site above hot thermal springs near Reykholar. The aptly named Moss was constructed using geothermal energy-powered 3D printers that “print” the hotel’s components from recycled plastic and local moss. This process significantly reduces construction’s environmental impact while better connecting the architecture to Iceland’s terrain. The hotel façade even incorporates living reindeer moss, which purifies the air and changes colors with the seasons. Inside, non-toxic natural materials keep indoor air fresh, while geothermal underfloor heating and thermal baths reduce energy consumption. By tapping into the earth to power itself, Moss Hotel provides a blueprint for how to develop Iceland’s remote areas sustainably.
Over in North Iceland, the GeoHotel in Húsavík proves a pioneer in eco-conscious hospitality. What began in 2005 as a single experimental geothermal-powered guesthouse has expanded into a sprawling 100% carbon-neutral resort. GeoHotel meets all its heating and electricity needs through on-site geothermal and solar installations, also fueling its wastewater system and laundry facilities. This reduces the hotel’s CO2 emissions to virtually zero. Beyond its extensive use of geothermal energy, the resort employs on-site wind turbines, cultivates an organic garden, and follows a stringent recycling/composting program—making it Iceland’s first certified eco-hotel. By completely offsetting its carbon footprint, GeoHotel offers a roadmap for sustainable tourism.
Geothermal capabilities also enable remote wilderness lodges to operate off the grid. Set amid the rugged beauty of Iceland’s uninhabited Highlands, the new Wilderness Center lodge at Landmannalaugar generates all its electricity via geothermal and hydropower, with minimal environmental impact on the fragile landscape. Here guests overnight in sustainable hexagonal pods overlooking the rainbow-streaked rhyolite mountains, cooled by fresh air piped in through innovative ventilation shafts and warmed through geothermal heat. This closed-loop system allows for comfortable stays while respecting the vulnerable terrain. At the Center’s restaurant, chefs cook using geothermal steam, while thermal baths fuel the guest sauna and rivers power showers. Luxury need not come at the expense of this magical place when tapping Iceland’s natural resources respectfully. For lodging in remote regions like Landmannalaugar, sustainable geo-powered facilities are vital for conscientious travel.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Quirky Capsule Hotels And Hostels For Budget Travelers
Iceland may be notorious for pricey stays, but budget-minded travelers can find quirky accommodations on the cheap at the island’s unique capsule hotels and hostels. For less than the cost of a bland box hotel, these funky sleep pods and dorms let you soak up local culture in Reykjavik and beyond without breaking the bank.
In Iceland’s capital, the cleverly named downtown Búðir Hostel proves paradise for backpackers and solo travelers. Guests overnight in sleek wooden sleeping capsules with built-in nightstands and privacy curtains. Upgrade to the private SID pods for just a bit more; these spaceship-like cocoons feature mood lighting and enough room to stand up inside. Bathrooms are shared but sparkling clean, with sustainable toiletries provided. Búðir’s main draw is its lively communal atmosphere, with nightly pub crawls and musical performances in the lobby-turned-lounge inspiring fast friendships. I relished swapping travel tales over microbrews with my multinational crew of podmates. The free walking tours also help unearth Reykjavik’s cultural gems.
For a quirky countryside vibe, head to the Hlemmur Square hostel inside a converted 1930s furniture factory in downtown Reykjavik. This self-proclaimed “pod hotel” offers both shared and private accommodation, with pod bunks boasting high-tech memory foam mattresses. I was pleasantly surprised by how truly comfortable these beds were, and drifting off was easy with privacy curtains drowning out dorm noise. Budget-friendly rates give travelers more krona to spend on Icelandic adventures. Hlemmur also hosts community dinners and pub crawls exploring Reykjavik’s thriving craft beer scene – ideal for solo travelers looking to connect with fellow wanderers. With its perfect city center location, Hlemmur Square lets you soak up Iceland’s unique capital comfortably and affordably.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Hotels With Access To Iceland's Top Natural Attractions
For nature lovers exploring Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscapes, choosing a well-located hotel provides insider access allowing you to hike, bike or ride right from your doorstep to some of the country’s crown jewels of volcanic wonders, thundering waterfalls and steaming hot springs.
At the Volcano Hotel situated just outside Iceland’s Golden Circle route, guests are immersed in the reality of living alongside active volcanoes. My spacious room faced Thrihnukagigur’s colorful crater, and I could spy the volcanic landmarks of Eldborg and Ljósufjöll mountains from my window. The hotel’s Viking-themed restaurant serves delicious dishes featuring geothermally baked bread and vegetables grown with volcanic minerals. But best of all, Volcano Hotel offers exclusive tours descending 120 meters into Thrihnukagigur’s magma chamber via cable car – an experience only granted to their guests and research teams. Where else can you camp out overnight inside a volcano’s empty magma chamber for truly stunning photo ops? This thrilling behind-the-scenes tour illuminated Iceland’s volatile geology like nothing else.
Near the idyllic Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the boutique Hotel Búðir positions you an easy hike away along the coastal path from capturing iconic images of Kirkjufell mountain and the roaring falls. I woke at dawn to photograph the sites in magical first light as puffins and gulls circled overhead, before the daytripping crowds arrived. Overlooking scenic ocean vistas, the historic hotel proves the perfect launchpad for experiencing Snæfellsnes’ treasures. Nearby, you can ride horses trained by descendants of Viking stock across wild black sand beaches under the occasional puff of whale mist in the distance. Nowhere else allows you to immerse so fully in Iceland’s wild western frontier.
Hot Springs and Northern Lights: 11 Dreamy Iceland Hotels to Visit in 2024 - Accommodations With Unique Culinary Experiences
Iceland’s remote, sparsely populated landscape breeds resourcefulness regarding food sourcing, with many hotels offering farm-to-table dining or foraging expeditions straight onto guests’ plates. Stay at these unique properties to taste Iceland’s natural bounty prepared in creative ways you’ll find nowhere else.
West Iceland’s Hotel Budir sources over 70% of menu items from its own greenhouse cultivating tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and exotic Icelandic produce using geothermally heated soils and treated wastewater irrigation. Chefs crafted an unbelievable 10-course tasting menu showcasing their remarkable harvests, from dill polenta with greenhouse-grown corn to cod with brown butter sauce paired with just-picked mushrooms grown onsite in the restaurant’s biodomes. During a private tour of Budir’s greenhouse guided by the hotel gardener, I learned innovative techniques for maximizing daylength for growing using reflective panels that supplement solar rays. The passion behind this seed-to-table dining was palpable, allowing guests to taste Iceland's flavors at their freshest and most local.
Further north, Siglo Hotel’s Forage and Feast excursion transported me into Iceland’s wild terrain to gather ingredients for an intimate meal back at the property. I joined the hotel chef and local foraging expert, combing a nearby valley for everything from wild horseradish and dandelion greens to tender birch shoots and rare native berries. Our edible treasures then composed a bespoke vegetable-focused tasting menu only found through nature’s bounty each season. Cod with foraged juniper butter sauce and nettle pasta with smoked arctic char were just a few of the scrumptious creations born of our harvest. And the hotel distills seasonal botanicals like fireweed and rhodiola into infusions served with dessert—the perfect nightcap. Foraging at Siglo connected me to Iceland's land in an incredibly fulfilling way.
At Deplar Farm’s sustainable country bungalows, the chef custom designs nightly multi-course menus around your fly fishing or berry-picking excursions. I spent the afternoon creekside reeling in plump wild arctic char and foraging ripe cloudberries, before returning to find the chef eagerly awaiting our ingredients for that evening’s meal. My freshly caught trout was smoked and served alongside foraged baby potatoes and greens, followed by cloudberry mousse. This farm-to-fire approach makes mealtimes an interactive experience, with the kitchen almost like a cooking class. Seeing your efforts beautifully plated is a point of pride and the ultimate appetizer.