Reykjavik’s Hotel Holt, Where Classic & Tradition Meets Heart & Soul

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Welcome to Hotel Holt, my home away from home while I was in Iceland during the month of June. Although I stayed at roughly a dozen places over the course of my trip, I made this small 4 star hotel in central Reykjavik a home base while I did day trips, before and after I ventured north and into the magical West Fjords. It did indeed, become a home away from home.

The hotel itself is situated on a central but quiet street in downtown Reykjavík. A mere five minute walk to the main drag and about 7-8 minutes to the main square, it’s an ideal location. The hotel boasts only 41 rooms, making it small and intimate enough for the staff to provide royal attention to each of their guests, something I felt in spades again and again during the course of my stay. Their new tagline is “Where the Heart is,” and it couldn’t be more aligned to my own personal experience with the hotel and their staff.

Hotel Holt has 18 single rooms, ten double rooms, eight junior suites (more spacious than the standard rooms — 40m with king beds and a sofa bed for an extra guest), and four suites, which are the largest rooms in the hotel. The suites are roughly 48m in size with a large bedroom, a king bed, and a large seating area.

All their Suites have bath tubs and a shower and each junior suite is equipped with a minibar, satellite television, hair dryer, bathrobes, coffee and tea making facilities, telephone, trouser press and safe. In addition, complimentary wireless internet is available in all suites and of course, you can access it in the lobby as well, directly through your own device or through one of the PCs you can use on the ground floor.

Old and established, this venue is not one of those stark and modern designed hotels without the bells, frills and whistles. Imagine old England but set in the middle of Iceland’s largest city, trimmed with Icelandic paintings and Nordic personality and charm. An integral part of Holt’s charm is precisely their old and established design, giving it a royal nostalgic feeling to it, from the lobby and offshoot lounges to the rooms themselves.  Above and below is a sample of some of the umpteen paintings you’ll find throughout the hotel’s lobbies, rooms and restaurant.  

They have breakfast every morning in an estately looking room at the far end of the hotel’s first floor. As you enter the breakfast area, there’s a piano on your right, a massive silver urn of hot water for tea on your left and a table loaded with coffee, an old fashioned toaster and bread.

Beyond the entrance lies a selection of freshly baked bread, croissants, biscuits, a variety of cold cuts, cheese, salami, pastries, a sample of  jams and jellies, yoghurt, fresh and prepared fruit and hard and soft boiled eggs. They also serve hot bacon and eggs in a nearby cooker and there’s a selection of cereals as well.

On each floor, at least the ones I went to, there was a shoe shine machine. How cool is this? You simply turn it on, insert your shoe under the bottom and shoe creme coats the top of your shoe. Then, you choose either brown or black (if you are wearing bright red shoes you might be out of luck :-) and the brush mechanism does its job. I loved this thing and used it daily. It is incredibly useful when you’re out hiking in often rainy or snowy mountains and your shoes are in serious need of love and attention at the end of the day.

An Art Gallery Within a Hotel

All rooms, lounges, conference facilities and hallways at Hotel Holt are adorned with original Icelandic art, representing the largest privately owned art collection in Iceland. There’s also a historical library, lounge, sitting room and bar which are elegantly designed and cozy, a great place to read a book or meet a group of friends for cocktails. OR, in my case, write.

The Gallery Restaurant 

The Gallery Restaurant is renowned for its art, outstanding cuisine and impeccable service for over forty five years. Like the hotel, it is old and established and is more formal in attire and style than other restaurants in its category. Think formal dining experience with white table cloths, comfy seats and decadent art on all the walls, with lush drapes surrounding its windows. And, the food is to die for.

Check out our Gallery Restaurant review, where we were somewhat paralyzed by the choices as there were so many delicious entrees and apps to choose from. As a teaser, I’ll share my favorite dish here. You’ll have to read the review to find out what it is and of course, get a glimpse of their other fabulous savory dishes and desserts. They offer a “cooking class” which starts in their wine cellar – a must do if you are in Reykjavik. Snorri, the hotel manager can set it up for you or anyone at the front desk.

Despite the hotel having all the comforts of home, the best thing about the hotel is the team behind it. From left to right: Snorri, the hotel manager, Sigrún and Sverrir. Their hospitality, generosity and warmth was incredible! To say that they treated me like family is an understatement.

Regardless of how cranky I was in the morning after staying up to process photos until some ungodly hour, they greeted me with warm smiles as if I too was a ray of sunshine. Thanks Hotel Holt team for your friendship and your gifts of kindness every day.

Below is Sigrún and although not pictured here, I must give a special call out to Hera who helped me with the most obscure requests, including proactively finding coconut oil for my hair which was unbrushable after a stint at the Blue Lagoon.

Note: I was hosted by Hotel Holt but all opinions expressed here are my own. I can honestly say that when I left, I felt like I was leaving family behind. Their level of and commitment to service is above and beyond. Impeccable!  

We give it a serious four thumbs up & strong recommendation! See our Iceland food and Iceland restaurants section, Iceland Hotels, and more in general on Traveling to Iceland. And of course, the Gallery Restaurant review write-up as noted above.


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