This buzzy hybrid offers both hostel dorms and hotel rooms in a five-story building on Reykjavik’s main drag, Laugavegur. The lower floors, originally built in 1919, contain the hostel, while the top floor has hotel-style rooms, all of which were designed by hotelier-owner Klaus Ortlieb (of NYC’s Gotham Hotel and London’s Claridges), who personally selected the furniture, colors, and lighting. The hostel rooms are simple but smart, featuring metal-frame bunk beds, designer armchairs and sofas, and wooden tables. The 18 hotel rooms are much more impressive, featuring elegant coffee-and-cream color schemes, king-sized beds draped in Lissadell linens, and en suite bathrooms with C.O. Bigelow bath products. Most also come with private balconies that look out over the city’s colorful rooftops and the mountain landscape beyond. The hotel’s spacious, old-fashioned lobby/bar area—dotted with antique furnishings, exotic wall hangings, and leather sofas and armchairs—is a popular hangout in its own right. There is also an on-site movie theater with a carefully chosen collection of Icelandic films.
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Hlemmur is right on Laugavegur, downtown Reykjavik’s main street, which means the city is on the doorstep. A great local haunt is the two-floor bistro Vegamot, serving a good range of international cuisine and turning into a party hot spot with DJs after midnight. Culture aficionados may be delighted to learn that the world’s only penis museum—whose exhibit members range from human to whale to elf—stands right across the road.
Need to Know
Rooms: 180 hostel beds, from $20; 18 hotel rooms, from $165. Check-in: 24-hours; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: The hotel has no restaurant, but many exist in the surrounding area. The bar has a menu of 100 craft beers. Spa and gym details: The hotel has no spa but does offer a massage service.
Who's it for: Anyone from international backpackers to business travelers looking for a touch of the stylish unusual. Our favorite rooms: The rooms on the fifth floor have great views across the city's rooftops. Happy hour: The bar has a daily happy hour from 5 to 8 p.m. in which wines and draft beers are half-price.