Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and really the only area of mass you could possibly call a city with a total country population of just 300,000. Famed many years ago for being one of the coolest places in the world to party, that reputation may well be long gone but it’s still a very quirky city to explore. We check out one of its newest and trendiest places to lay your head, The Marina Hotel in Reykjavik.
From the outside, Hotel Marina is unassuming, even run down. Looking more like an old office block than a top hotel. Originally a factory space for the refurbishment of boats, right on the harbour and just 10 steps to the water. Now housing 108 rooms, x of them more like a suite, sleeping up to 6 people, 2 on a sofa bed and 4 in a double bunk bed, it’s perfect for families or larger groups on more of a budget.
The decorative aspiration of course is based round the harbour, but with a slightly American feel. Old signs, mis-matching quirky furniture but a more upper class finish to the bar area tops everything off well. A private cinema is available to hire, just bring in your laptop, plug in to the projector and away you go, they even stick cartoons to get the kids out of the way! There is also the boiler room, a small yet pretty functional gym with running machines, some weights and even a 8 foot tall climbing ‘wall’ for a bit of practice. Be aware though, it’s in a glass box and right next to reception, so if you don’t like people seeing you sweat, it may not be for you.
Downstairs the reception and bar is always on the go, lively, as you would expect. Every Wednesday they have live music playing, just for an hour from 9 till 10 so don’t worry about it keeping you up all night with no sleep. It leaves the place buzzing, a really great vibe that is becoming a very popular night, people taking seats from before 8 to get the best spot. Alas the bar closes very prematurely at midnight, even for guests which seems a huge waste given the people and atmosphere created and stopped us from having our last nightcap in Iceland.
The room décor is very much nautical with old fishing nets, ropes and other sea going paraphernalia, though of course not wet and smelly! They are small but incredibly functional, as much of Iceland is. The emphasis being don’t sit in your room, there is a whole world out there to explore, and you are right in the thick of it. Aim for the fourth floor, harbour facing with your own balcony for some of the most incredible views from any hotel room, there aren’t many places in the world you can have huge boats being worked on with a mountain range backdrop, not even Tyneside.
However, the Hotel Marina isn’t without fault, rooms and choice are everything. 1st or 2nd floor and on the road means you will struggle to sleep, a fate that fell to a few of our travelling companions with constant road and traffic noise so be careful. Owned and operated by IcelandAir, some deals are sure to be had with flights and stays for one of the coolest and quirky hotels you will ever go to. Just make sure you choose the right room.