The buzz of the city is a shock to the system after driving through the untouched beauty of Iceland’s south coast for three days. I nervously clutch the wheel as I find myself in a roundabout next to another vehicle, laughing at how ridiculous this is given my usual daily morning battle against Toronto traffic.
The city’s pulse follows us straight into the lobby of our first overnight accommodation, the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina. It’s 6:00 on a Friday and the lobby is overflowing with Reykjavik’s hip happy hour crowd. The International Food & Fun Festival is in town, and guest mixologists from Copenhagen have already gotten the party started at a pop-up bar in the corner, an offshoot of the hotel’s upbeat restaurant and bar, the Slippbarinn.
Feeling decidedly under dressed and road-weary after a day on the touring the Golden Circle, we check into our room.
And. There. Are. Bunk beds.
Not the type of bunk beds you used to share with your little sister (sorry Jill). I’m talking sweet king-size- adult-tree-house-bunk-beds, complete with a stylish sitting area.
The hotel’s boutique charm is all in the details, from the fishermen and rope-knot prints that pay homage to Iceland’s maritime history, to the cozy nooks decorated with antique odds and ends, and the quirky quotes situated around the property inviting you to make it your own.
If our stomachs hadn’t been screaming at us, I think we might have stayed put in our newfound tree-fort for the rest of the night. Instead, we put on our party pants and headed out to mingle Reykjavik-style.
By the time we managed to tear ourselves away from our room, the Slippbarrin was in full swing. It was our first taste of Reykjavik’s legendary nightlife and culinary scene, and I was finally starting to understand what all the hype is about.
We splashed out on what ended up being one of the best meals of the trip, with myself devouring the fish of the day (cod) and a Pippi Gonzales – the most strangely delicious tequila concoction ever created.
Retiring to our tree house with full bellies, it was time to mentally and physically prepare to join the rúntur, Reykjavik’s weekend pub-crawl where revelers float from pub to club between midnight until the sun comes up, and the party is found as much on the city’s cobblestone streets as anywhere else.
The next morning, we sopped up the previous night’s activities at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Brunch — add it to the list of things Icelanders do incredibly well.
Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina embodied everything that I loved about Reykjavik — forward-thinking and modern with proud historical roots, oozing artistic and cultural cool, and radiating a warm and welcoming small-town vibe all with the pulse of a city three times its size. Our stay here proved to be the perfect orientation to a city that got under my skin and stole a piece of my heart.
Many thanks to Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina for their generous hospitality! We were guests here in order to help promote these seriously cool accommodations on Wannabe Wanderer.