Words by Christopher Rosa
The latest addition to the Icelandic capital’s luxury hotel scene, The Reykjavík EDITION arrived with some fanfare and plenty of acclaim since opening in late 2021. The design hotel boasts a serious design pedigree courtesy of legendary American designer Ian Schrager, who is best known for creating Studio 54 in the 1970s.
Conceived by Schrager in a partnership with Marriott International, the EDITION brand has brought impeccable design, cool élan and a real buzz to the beating hearts of several major cities since opening their first property in Honolulu twelve years ago. No mean feat in places from New York and London to Shanghai that are home to a dazzling trove of some of the world’s finest hotels.
Despite a shared EDITION sensibility, the design of each hotel is unique to its location and the Reykjavík EDITION is no exception. As central a location as possible, the property straddles the harbourside with its stunning mountain views and the bustling downtown area of the city. Next door is Reykjavík’s landmark Harpa concert hall, whose stunning multicoloured glass façade was designed by celebrated Icelandic / Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.
Laugavegur, the city’s main shopping street is opposite and its atmospheric side streets with their quaint wooden and ironclad houses, cosy cafés, gourmet restaurants and trendy bars that the city is renowned for.
The unusual design of the hotel is a striking addition to the harbourside. The ebony façade of shou sugi ban timber has been charred using an ancient Japanese technique and the blackened steel frames evoke the drama of Iceland’s lava landscape.
The hotel has a double entrance lobby accessed either through the harbourside or Harpa Plaza. A centrepiece of the hotel, the Lobby Bar features an open-flame fireplace, serving locally produced craft beers and signature cocktails with a local twist. On the evening we visited, the bar was busy and overlooked by a video installation projecting the spectral Aurora onto the wall.
The Reykjavík EDITION’s 253 guest rooms and suites all boast floor-to-ceiling windows, and our room overlooked the harbour. In a similar vein to the London EDITION you reach your room through long passageways with muted lighting. On entering our room, the ash wood interior brought an immediate feeling of warmth.
Rooms are tastefully outfitted with custom-made Italian furniture, copper bed light sconces, fur rugs and artwork including paintings by Ragnar Axelsson showcasing Icelandic landscapes. The king size bed was very comfortable indeed. The large Italian tiled bathroom features a marble sink and a spacious Rainfall shower, and Le Labo toiletries are standard.
On the sixth floor, the one-bedroom penthouse suite comes with its own private terrace and even a central fireplace.
Food and drink
Tides is run by Iceland’s first Michelin-starred chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason, the man behind the city’s celebrated Dill restaurant. With a theatrical open kitchen and featuring floor-to-ceiling windows the restaurant has a central bar over which hangs a custom-made bronze chandelier by the renowned French artist Eric Schmitt.
Fully booked with mainly Icelanders the night we ate, the restaurant’s winter menu uses seasonal local products that are cooked over an open fire. We started with appetisers of San Marzano tomatoes, fresh skyr (Icelandic yoghurt) and lovage herbs, which we matched with a delicious plate of rock crab that came with a tangy wasabi sauce.
Our hearty mains of reindeer fillet with pickled blueberries and chanterelle mushrooms and corn-fed Black Angus beef with whipped mashed potatoes with grilled portobello and blackcurrants were outstanding. For dessert we shared a moreish vanilla ice cream with grilled strawberries and pine nuts. Tides is a superb restaurant and surely set to be a favourite of locals and visitors alike.
Rooftop, spa and nightclub
Opening in summer 2022, the lower ground floor will be home to an underground night spot Sunset with access from the hotel and Harpa square. Also, on the lower ground floor is a gym, which is kitted out with training, weight, and cardio equipment. The spa, opening in spring 2022, will feature three treatment rooms, a hammam, steam room, sauna and a plunge pool that offers hydrotherapy treatment.
The roof terrace is located on the hotel’s seventh floor and offers spectacular views of the ocean and the mountains. At night you can relax around a large fire pit and take in the awesome displays of Northern Lights.
In a nutshell
If you are looking for a luxury perch from which to explore Reykjavík and the wider country, the Reykjavík EDITION is hard to beat.
Rooms start from £300 pppn and are bookable via the hotel’s website.