Set in a fairly austere five-story concrete building on Hverfisgata (which once housed the former headquarters of the Icelandic Democratic Party), it would be easy to dismiss the 101 Hotel as merely a functional hotel option. Stepping inside, however, guests discover an ultra-modern boutique hotel whose minimal black-and-white décor—created by the hotel’s owner-designer, Ingibjörg S. Pálmadottir—lends the hotel a contemporary gallery feel. This is accentuated by the modern artworks and sculptures dotted around the hotel, all by local artists, which complement the oak floors and wood-heavy Nordic furniture found throughout the 38 rooms. The king-size beds (there are no twin rooms) come with fine Italian linen, and the rooms' entertainment systems are state of the art. The open-plan bathrooms make extensive use of glass, and Aveda bath products are on offer; the deluxe rooms and suites come with claw-foot tubs. The hotel also has a classy restaurant and bar, a gym and spa, and a comfortable lounge area.
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As the name suggests, 101 Hotel is right in the middle of Reykjavik's 101 (downtown) district. Organic delis and boutique bars abound—Bakari Sandholt, around the corner on Laugavegur, is perfect for grabbing a coffee and watching the world go by—and the Icelandic Opera House is right next door. Guests can easily stroll to the Hallgrimskirche church, and then climb to the top (or take the lift) for breathtaking views across the city and Mount Esja.
Need to Know
Rooms: 38 rooms; from $330. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The hotel’s slightly sci-fi 101 Restaurant serves up Euro-Asian food such as spicy yam salad with arctic char, as well as fresh fish dishes like Icelandic cod and extravagant creations such as champagne lobster soup. Guests can pull up a white leather stool and order a cocktail at the hotel’s handsome bar—the glass ceiling is impressive—or relax on one of the leather sofas in the lounge, which also has an open fire and a library of art books and style magazines. Spa and gym details: The hotel’s gym and spa is tucked away in the basement and has a Jacuzzi and Turkish steam bath as well as a small plunge pool.
Who's it for: Design aficionados and the artistically minded; anyone who will fully appreciate the hotel’s interiors. Our favorite rooms: The rooms on the 5th floor have the best views across Reykjavik harbor; Junior Suite (501) is the best. Apartment Suite 101 has good views onto the main square, plus a chic lounge area. Art hit: Guests should make time to check out the hotel’s art collection, which includes a fantastically quirky collection of sculptures, reliefs, and striking paintings.