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Hotels in Iceland

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Oct 1st, 1999, 12:03 PM
  #1
bp
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Hotels in Iceland

Looking for advice on hotels you have stayed at in Iceland. Going for a long weekend over Thanksgiving. Thanks
 
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Oct 1st, 1999, 05:32 PM
  #2
Geoff
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I went in May when quite a few were not quite open yet. (the roads on the countryside just opened the second day I was there.) Presumably you're flying in Iceland Air, in which case call the airline and see what rates you get. They're probably good enough not to stray from there. The Saga is great, I stayed there, but it's the high end hotel, don't go for it if the price differential is real high. They have a hotel right by the government building too, looked dingy. The Flugleidir (sp?) is the other one that will always be open. Saw that as we picked up people on one of the day tours. Clean, nothing fancy, didn't seem quite as convenient as the Saga, but that depends on what you want to see. I'd have stayed there if the airline didn't make the Saga price so attractive. Now if they could have only made the meals at the Saga reasonably priced.

If you do care to go off the beaten track - I remember some people getting dropped off by the airport bus at a very small place that looked like it was some left over apartments that weren't rented. Spotlessly clean and I said that looked interesting. Unfortunately don't have the name, but I might be able to track it down because I do remember the area.

 
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Oct 1st, 1999, 07:39 PM
  #3
maribel
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We had a fabulous 5 day, mini-vacation in underrated Iceland last March, an inexpensive package from Icelandic. We chose the Hotel Esja over the Loftleider (both owned and operated by Icelandic) and were very happy with our choice-comfortable room with beautiful view, surprisingly good food, CNN, a spa (but no indoor pool), store selling handmade Icelandic sweaters (very much needed in late March!) and plenty of choices at the tour desk for optional excurions. We chose horseback riding (the Icelandic horse is a gentle creature with an remarkably smooth fifth gait called the "tolt"-a running walk that provides you with an amazing, almost motionless ride!), snowmobiling on a glacier, a swim in the therapeutic waters of the milky, muddy Blue Lagoon, and although quite pricey, we splurged and hired a private guide for the day who took on the "Golden Circle" to the geyser and spectacular Gullfoss Waterfall and to remote areas in his techno-toy filled super Jeep through the lava rock filled lunar landscape where tourist busses don't dare tread in winter. An incredible, memorable experience!
The Hotel Saga on the university grounds is also quite comfortable (friends stayed there) although not really worth the higher tariff, but in our wanderings we discovered a delightful, cute, sparkling clean and friendly family inn, the Hotel Odinsve, in downtown Reiykjavik where we had two very enjoyable meals. Prices are moderate- Iceland standards.
For a spartan, budget choice, several backpackers on our flight from Boston stayed at the downtown Salvation Army.
I think you'll really enjoy your visit to this fascinating destination, even in the winter. In late March we did have light from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., and the average temp was 32 F, although the wind was a constant, brutal companion. In the Icelandic language, I believe there are eight different words for wind, depending on its ferocity!
Dress warmly, in layers.
 
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Oct 1st, 1999, 08:01 PM
  #4
Bill
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I'll put in another vote of approval for the Hotel Esja. Out in the suburbs, but convenient by bus to downtown Reykjavik.
We rented a car on our one full day there in early May and drove the same Golden Circle that the buses do, but at our own pace. The high country around Thingvalir (sp!) is peaceful and very scenic. We very much appreciated not having a gang of bus folks with us.
 
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Oct 2nd, 1999, 07:21 AM
  #5
ilisa
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For those of you that stayed at the Hotel Esja, did you use the spa at all? We are taking Icelandair's spa package in February. Maribel, I am also interested in hearing about hiring a private guide? Did you do it through the hotel, or Icelandair, and did you make the arrangements in advance?
 
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Oct 2nd, 1999, 07:56 AM
  #6
Maribel
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Ilisa,
Unfortunately we weren't able to use the Esja's spa during our visit because we just couldn't fit it in, but it did look inviting. The spa treatments weren't included in our package. When we return some day in July (will look and feel like an entirely different country in the summer), we'd like to try it out.
You don't need to book a private guide in advance, although several Icelandic small tour outfits do have web pages. We simply booked the day before at the Esja tour desk, and they highly recommended our particular guide (whose name escapes me-when I find his card I will e-mail you the info) and tiny company (something with the word "Aventures" in it). He was a charming young man who spoke excellent English (but then again it seems that every Icelander does) and had been a high school exchange student in Colorado. He gave us a choice of ways to spend our day, lunch was included and also the snowsuits which kept us toasty warm during our snowmobiling adventure. I would certainly use his services again, as it was a luxury to go at our own pace, off-piste, and we learned a great deal from him about life in his fascinating country. A real treat!
 
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Oct 4th, 1999, 02:59 PM
  #7
Bill
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Didn't use the spa either. On the other hand, you GOTTA go to the Blue Lagoon on your way back to the airport. Great fun no matter what the weather, and the "mud" is alleged to have curative powers.
 
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