One of the things I’ve taken for granted in the United States is that traveling is made easy. Unless you’re in particularly remote areas of the country, gas stations are abundant, and hotels or motels are conveniently found in just about every town. As impersonal as chain establishments might seem, they’re steadfast, and you know that Holiday Inn or Best Western is pretty much going to be the same regardless of which one you check into.
In planning our trip to Iceland, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the vast majority of accommodations are small, family-run operations with (generally) no more than a dozen rooms or so. This also has a downside, though, especially since the country has become increasingly popular with tourists. Finding hotels in Iceland can be a chore, and most transactions take place through email, so you can’t tell right away if there is even availability at the places you are considering.
The one hotel chain we found in Iceland, Fosshotels, has ten properties throughout the country, so it is possible to do some one-stop shopping if these accommodations are on your trip route. We stayed in Fosshotel Vatnajokull, just outside of the national park with the same name in the southern part of Iceland. It was very much like a standard hotel, with a lobby and front desk, comfortable rooms with thick curtains and clean bathrooms, and friendly staff.
Fosshotel Vatnajokull has 20 twin rooms and six rooms that offer views of the glaciers, so even though it’s a chain, it’s not a sprawling mess. The rooms are spread across two buildings, and we stayed in a room on the second floor of the main building. On this floor, there was a large sitting room with plenty of couch seating and massive windows that let in sunlight. I spent an evening here catching up on work and the wifi was was some of the best I was able to get throughout our entire trip.
The hotel has a bar and a dining area. At night, you can buy drinks and enjoy them downstairs or upstairs in the sitting area. Drinks in Iceland are expensive, though, and this was the most expensive place we encountered during our two weeks at nearly US$10 a bottle. The continental breakfast that is included in the price of the stay was exceptionally comprehensive. We ate our way through a huge meal that consisted of a variety of fruit, hot dishes, sweet bread, cereals and yogurts because we had a full day of hiking in front of us.
I know that one of the things that can make people nervous when they travel is fear of the unknown, and staying in people’s homes, at converted bunkhouses and in other obscure types of accommodations can be an unnerving experience if you’re not used to it. Fosshotels provides that sense of comfort and consistency that comes with a standard hotel, and since it’s one of the few options providing such consistency throughout Iceland, it’s an especially good choice for those who know they need something they can count on.
That said, keep in mind that Iceland is still a popular country to visit and accommodations are at a premium, so once you begin planning your trip, book your hotels right away.
Fosshotels website | I stayed at Fosshotel Vatnajokull on a media rate but all opinions are my own.
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- A Night at Vogahraun Guesthouse
- Akurinn: Lodging in Iceland’s Second Largest City
- Once a School, Now a Hotel: Hotel Nupur, Iceland
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