Hotel Husafell

Husafell, Reykjavik & West, Iceland
Book from Book from £172 per night

A contemporary hideaway with alfresco geothermal pools, nestled between atmospheric lava fields, tumbling waterfalls and breathtaking glaciers

The drive from the airport should have taken us 2 hours, but it took us 4. Iceland's ever-changing landscape had us pulling over every few minutes to admire yet another view: snow-topped mountains glowing in the sunlight, glistening waterfalls carving through moss-covered rock, dark clouds rolling overhead in a theatrical dance. Eventually we reached the ridge of a crater, and before us lay the striking structure of Hotel Húsafell - the perfect complement to the dramatic scenery.

Located in the unspoilt west, between the Hraunfossar waterfalls and the Langjökull glacier, it’s clear why the tiny village of Húsafell (permanent population 10) has long been an Icelandic favourite. Until recently, though, camping or summer villas were the only option for visitors looking to spend more than a day soaking up its natural beauty. That all changed in 2015, when the hotel opened its doors. Made from glass and stone, its 48 sleek rooms fan out from a central bar and restaurant, whose floor-to-ceiling windows show off the midnight sun in summer and the Northern Lights in winter. We’d intended to rush straight back out to explore, but we were soon lured by the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen, and the naturally heated water in the geothermal pools outside. There's no doubt about it: Hotel Húsafell has truly bottled Iceland’s magic.

Highs

  • Ideally situated for exploring Iceland’s west - ice caves, glacier tours and waterfalls are all nearby, and spectacular hikes start on the doorstep
  • One of the best spots in the world to view the Northern Lights, with an average of 3 sightings a week in winter
  • Two geothermal pools and 2 hot tubs, where you can laze while gazing up at towering mountains
  • Bright, modern rooms, many with private terraces and inspiring paintings by local artist Páll Guðmundsson
  • Sophisticated food which blends Icelandic ingredients with international influences (and a good kids menu for those travelling with children)

Lows

  • As often in Iceland, food is expensive and vegetarian choices are limited, but there's a bistro next to the hotel (open periodically)
  • Double beds are actually 2 singles pushed together, and some rooms look out onto shrubbery rather than the landscape
  • You'll need a car to get here and get around
  • It’s quite popular with tour groups, but they tend to dine in a separate area so you won’t feel out of place
  • We found the WiFi a little patchy, but with views like these, we didn't mind!

Best time to go

Iceland is magical year-round. We visited during the height of summer and were welcomed by bright sunshine and endless daylight - perfect for exploring the great outdoors. To be in with a chance of seeing the Northern Lights, go between October and April. In winter, be prepared for snow and ice-covered roads (snow tires are a must).

Our top tips

We'd recommend hiring a 4x4 so you can head to off-the-beaten-track spots - minor roads in the region are narrow, steep and gravel-covered. Also, make time to drive out to the Western Fjords - it's a long day trip, but you'll be rewarded with quiet waterfalls, golden beaches and puffin colonies.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Romantic
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 48 rooms and 1 cabin
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Standard

Rooms

The 48 Icelandic-chic rooms are bright and modern, with simple but elegant furniture, floor-to-ceiling windows and atmospheric artwork by world-renowned Húsafell resident Páll Guðmundsson.

We stayed in one of the Deluxe Rooms, and loved our huge stone-lined rainfall shower and separate bathtub. The bed, complete with Icelandic woollen blankets, was sumptuously soft and hard to leave, despite the promise of adventure outside. We also liked the look of the Superior Deluxes, which boast terraces where you can curl up for a private viewing of the midnight sun in summer or the Northern Lights in winter. Both Deluxes and Superior Deluxes have sofas that can be made up as extra beds if needed.

There's also a sole Suite, which has a separate living area, and smaller but well-equipped Standard Rooms (shower only). Views aren’t dependent on room type, so we’d suggest requesting one which overlooks the geothermal pools and ravine.

If you're after yet more seclusion, there's a Holiday Cabin set 2km from the hotel. It has 2 double bedrooms, a living room, a fully-equipped kitchen and a private terrace with a hot tub. Note, however, that breakfast isn't included, and the design scheme is different to that of the hotel.

Features include:

  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The restaurant's setting is spectacular. Walls of glass provide panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, ravines and distant waterfalls, and a contemporary copper firepit glows in the centre of the space.

The seasonal, Nordic-inspired lunch and dinner menus are short but delicious, with lots of local ingredients (Icelandic lamb, blue mussels, berries). We loved our baked carrot with white beans, grilled lemon and a nut vinaigrette, and the tonka brûlée with a pistachio sponge and passion-fruit sorbet was light yet full of flavour. A word of warning though:vegetarians may feel short-changed.

Breakfast is a spread of all the usual suspects (cheeses, cold cuts, croissants, cereals, fruit, yoghurt), as well as a few hot dishes - the perfect set-up for a day of exploring.

There's also a lounge-like bar with a wide choice of wines, beers, gins and cocktails. And if you fancy a change of scene, the Húsafell Bistro (next door to the hotel) offers simple dishes such as burgers and pizza.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a dip in the geothermal pools. They're open year-round, and there's something special about being immersed in wonderfully warm water while snow falls around you. Flotation gear can even be provided to help you bob around at leisure
  • A number of hikes leave from the hotel - just ask at reception for maps. We particularly enjoyed the trail leading into the nearby ravine
  • Head to the Langjökull glacier, the second largest ice field in the country. The 'Into the Glacier' experience takes you 40m below its surface, through a 550m-long tunnel which glows blue - we’ve never seen anything like it
  • Visit the Hallmundarhraun lava field to explore Víðgelmir, one of the largest and best-preserved lava caves in the world
  • Marvel at the spectacular Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls, a short drive away
  • Staff can also arrange horse riding, helicopter rides, ice climbing, snowmobiling and canoeing, and Húsafell has its own golf course should you fancy a putt

Kids

Children are welcome, and there were a number of families staying at the hotel during our visit. Iceland is a fantastic destination for older kids who can make the most of the many outdoor activities.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can fit a baby cot. Alternatively, Deluxe and Superior Deluxe Rooms have sofabeds for 1-2 people. There are a number of interconnecting rooms, including a combination of the Suite and a Standard Room. The self-catered Holiday Cabin has 2 double bedrooms and is ideal for families after some extra privacy.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Geothermal pools (complete with water slide!)
  • Card and board games

Distances:

  • International airport: 2 hours' drive (Keflavik)
  • Shop: 5 minutes' drive
  • Hospital: 1 hour's drive
Kid Friendly:

Location

Hotel Húsafell is located in the tiny village of Húsafell, in Iceland’s western region. It's a 1.5-hour drive from Reykjavik, and 2 hours from the international airport at Keflavik.

By Air:
Iceland's only international airport is Keflavik (170km away, to the south of Reykjavik). It has a wide range of flights from Europe and North America - click on the links below for a list of airlines. There's also a small airport in Reykjavik itself, served by domestic flights only.

From the Airport
The remote location means you'll need a car to get here and to explore - see our car-rental recommendations. We'd suggest hiring a 4x4 so you can venture onto the region's smaller gravel roads, and snow tires are essential in the winter months.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Iceland and getting around

Airports:

  • Keflavik (international) 170.0 km KEF
  • Reykjavik (domestic only) 132.0 km RKV

Other:

  • Beach 80.0 km
  • Shops 1.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 3 independent reviews from i-escape guests

6/10
Room
5/10
Food
8/10
Service
7/10
Value
7/10
Overall

Service at Husafell (like everywhere we’ve been in Iceland) is outstanding, although reception at Husafell seems to double as an office and staff are often endlessly tied up on the phone and so not attentive to guests waiting at the desk.
The rooms are spacious but lack homeliness, they’re spartan, angle poise lamps for example. They lack comfort.
The bed was very hard, I could feel the wires running across it- it needs a mattress topper at the very least.
The towels are too small and rather thin. The room was spotlessly clean but the cleaning process involved packing away all our toiletries into our bags which I found intrusive.
The hotel’s restaurant is high end. Breakfast was good. But the dinner menu is very limited which makes it repetitive if you’re staying a few nights. The vegetarian option was actually vegan and not thought through. This kind of dish involved removing all protein from the plate. It amounted to just vegetables, in this case a leek. It was not a balanced meal by any stretch and certainly not enough following a day out in the mountains. To their credit, staff tried to help us, they offered us a cheese board which was excellent. But ultimately they lacked understanding of the issue. On the second evening we were offered an eggplant.
There is nowhere else to eat for miles around. We actually checked out early and moved to a lovely hotel in a different area because we needed a decent meal! Of course, we were not refunded the last night, but that was as expected.
Ultimately this hotel did not live up to expectations given the price tag.

5/10,

Fantastic hotel with great panoramic views from the dining room. We had dinner at the hotel on both nights and the food was fantastic - just make sure you book a table as we assumed a table would automatically be designated to us as a guest and while sitting having a pre-dinner drink we learnt that we had to have a booking and would have to wait another 2 hours (luckily we managed to get in a bit quicker than that)! There is also a bistro next door to the hotel where we had lunch one day.
The staff are very welcoming and friendly - in particular, the staff in the dining room.
There is a lot to see and do nearby. We went to waterfalls and hiked up the canyon opposite the hotel. We stayed here 2 nights and then at Hotel Umi for 2 nights. The perfect holiday and a good contrast between the two.

10/10,

{{ review.rating }}/10, {{ review.firstName }}Anonymous{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},

Rates for Hotel Husafell

Arriving on: