BACKGROUND This hotel has a great backstory. It was opened in 1930 by an Icelandic champion wrestler and strongman named Johannes Josefsson. He competed in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 1908 London Olympics, and even performed at Barnum and Baileys’ “Greatest Show on Earth” in the US, fighting bare-fisted in the circus against opponents armed with knives. Achieving fame and fortune, he returned to Iceland to fulfill his ambition to open a luxury hotel. The Borg was revamped last year with the addition of 43 rooms (from 56 to 99) in a new wing, a refreshed restaurant and bar, and a new spa and gym. WHAT’S IT LIKE? The five-floor Hotel Borg occupies an elegant white art deco building with tall, curved windows on the lobby level. Unlike more modern properties in the city that exhibit minimalist Scandi interiors (read our review of the 101 Hotel), this has warmth and character, and is distinctly stylish. Rooms throughout feature dark leather, marble, parquet and mirrors, plush banquettes and polished globe lamps, and a palette of chocolate, cream and white. The property has a boutique feel to it, not being part of a chain, and staff are polite. WHERE IS IT? On Austurvollur Square in the centre of Reykjavik. The city is small so everything is within walking distance, although it is about 40 minutes’ drive to Keflavik airport. ROOM FACILITIES Ranging from 18 sqm to 125 sqm, vintage-inspired rooms come with custom-made furniture, Bang and Olufsen TVs with satellite channels, free wifi, minibars, tea- and coffee-making stations, safes, workdesks, trouser press/ironing boards, robes, slippers and en suite bathrooms with heated floors as standard. Deluxe rooms upwards also have Hastens beds and better views (mine looked on to the square, which was lovely), while suites have both showers and tubs in the bathrooms. Room service is from 7am to 10pm. Laundry and same-day dry cleaning is available Monday to Friday. RESTAURANTS AND BARS The hotel’s Borg restaurant and bar reopened after a renovation last year. I didn’t eat here but did stop by for coffee on a previous trip to the city. It was a good place to conduct meetings. A buffet breakfast is available in the mornings but is not available in the standard room rate. Cocktails are served daily until 1am. BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a business centre and grand banqueting space, the Golden Room, for up to 200 delegates theatre-style. The Karoline room can seat up to 20 people, while the Karoline suite can host 40. LEISURE FACILITIES In the basement there is a modest gym (open 6am to 8pm) and spa (open 10am to 8pm) with steam rooms and saunas, and massages available in one treatment room. Access costs €15 unless you are staying in a suite, in which case it is free. The facilities are shiny and new, having opened last year. VERDICT Hotel Borg is one of the best hotels in Reykjavik and has benefited greatly from a thorough renovation last year with new facilities added. A good choice for business travellers looking for something more historic. FACT FILE
- HOW MANY ROOMS? 99 rooms and suites (seven Singles, 67 Doubles, ten Double Superior, seven Double Deluxe, seven Suites and one Tower Suite).
- HIGHLIGHTS The renovated, elegant interiors, the city centre location and free wifi.
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in a Double room in July started from €316.
- CONTACT Hotel Borg, Posthusstraeti 11; tel +354 551 1440; hotelborg.is