Reykjavik Boutique Apartments

Reykjavik & West, Iceland Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
A trio of beautiful apartments for 2-4 close to shopping and sights; expect Nordic cool and a warm welcome
Husband-and-wife team Gunnar and Halla Bara, photographer and interior designer respectively, have long showcased other people's dwellings in beautiful photo books. In 2014 they seized the opportunity to renovate a century-old property in downtown Reykjavik, creating stunning living quarters for themselves and their family. In addition, through a side gate into a small courtyard and garden, they crafted a pair of immaculate apartments - one set up for couples, the other with two bedrooms - plus a pristine two-bedroom house with lofty ceilings.

Their trademark Nordic-noir palette perfectly sets off a harmonious and spare mix of designer and vintage collectables; every angle reveals another magazine-worthy tableau. Walls feature Gunnar's framed photographs, occasional wallpaper, painted panelling, and open shelves with ceramics and glass bottles. Details include touches of copper, angle-poise lamps, and a pleasingly restrained deployment of scatter cushions. Yet there's no need to tiptoe around the coffee table: each apartment is delightfully liveable, with well-equipped snazzy kitchens, comfy beds with good bedding, power showers and underfloor heating. A superb find.


  • An impeccable aesthetic throughout
  • Accommodation to suit couples, friends and families
  • In a quiet residential neighbourhood, an easy stroll from all sights (harbour, museums, lake, Hallgrímskirkja cathedral) and shopping, eateries and groceries
  • Generous, thoughtful and switched-on hosts
  • High-quality refurbishment: toasty-warm interiors; well-made fixtures and fittings


  • Some may prefer a brighter colour scheme
  • No credit cards accepted
  • Rates are commensurate with Reykjavik, and the smart interiors, ie not cheap

Best time to go

Most cities are year-round destinations and Reykjavik can claim to be, too. The windy winter weather really is dark and dreary, but come then for the chance to see the Northern Lights, to partake of winter sports, or enjoy the New Year festivities. Spring, summer and autumn are brighter; we visited in May and it was light until 11pm.

Our top tips

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous of Iceland's attractions and, although touristy, it's worth visiting to loll in the perfectly heated opaque blue water. It's best sampled on your way back to the airport as an idyllic end to your time in this amazing country.

Great for...

City Style
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Apartments
  • 2 apartments + 1 house, each for 2-4
  • Self-catering; restaurants nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
Room: House


The 2 apartments and House share a cool colour palette which spans slate, moss and misty blue, reflecting the elemental nature of Iceland outside the door. Yet with so many creature comforts inside - geothermal-powered underfloor heating, blissful bedding, comfy sofas and armchairs - it could be hard to venture out to explore.

We stayed in the largest option, the House, which has 2 bedrooms (the second can be configured as a double or twin) and an additional laundry room - ideal for families. In the main building are the other 2 units. Ground-floor Apartment 1 has smart painted wood panelling in its 2 bedrooms, which can also be set up as a double and twin. Bijou one-bedroom Apartment 2, accessed via external stairs, is perfect for a couple.

Bathrooms have snazzy Italian tiles (Gunnar and Halla Bara used to live in Milan), underfloor heating and walk-in power showers. Apartment 1 also has a bath.

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Kitchenette
  • Oven
  • Satellite tv
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Both larger units have sleek new kitchens. That for Apartment 1 comes in smoky cornflower and sits in its own room (dine in the living room at the table for 4), whereas the House's L-shaped charcoal version is found within its open-plan living/dining space, alongside a table and chairs for 6. Apartment 2 has a kitchenette in pale Nordic blue in the living room, with a table for 2 along the feature wall.

All have light grey marble worktops, with open shelves above and cupboards below. Expect proper coffee makers, all required appliances, utensils, crockery and saucepans. Fridges will contain Icelandic skyr, milk and jam on arrival; salt, pepper, oil, coffee and tea are also supplied.

There's a supermarket and bakery close by for supplies, and cafés and restaurants mere minutes away if you prefer to eat out after a hard day's sightseeing - Gunnar and Halla Bara recommend Snaps and Fridrik V.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Fridge
  • Hob stove
  • Kitchenette
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster


  • The harbour is one of Reykjavik's great assets: stroll alongside it, then head forth on a boat trip for whale-watching or puffin-spotting
  • Striking landmark Hallgrímskirkja is literally up the road. Ascend for 360-degree views across the city, and an interesting history lesson (did you know Iceland can claim to be the only Christian nation in Europe?)
  • Pick up Icelandic crafts, delicacies and clothing in the main shopping street, Laugavegur, and side streets
  • A day tour of the Golden Circle (geysers, mud pools, impressive waterfalls, the rift valley and the birthplace of Iceland's democracy) is touristy but recommended
  • Give outdoorsy activities a go, whether riding unique Icelandic horses or hiking on glaciers

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife


Iceland is an excitingly surreal playground for adults and children alike. Reykjavik is an easy city for families to navigate as it is small, the main shopping streets are pedestrianised, and there are playgrounds at every turn.

Families will be comfortably housed at these apartments. Gunnar and Halla Bara have 2 daughters and are very welcoming to children.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

All apartments can take a baby cot. Both Apartment 1 and the House have second bedrooms which can be set up as twin rooms, and are on the ground floor which is handy for the small garden area. Apartment 1 has a tub as well as a shower in its bathroom. The House has a useful laundry room but only a shower in its bathroom.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cot
  • High chair
  • Plastic cutlery and crockery on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

There are cafés and restaurants nearby. Gunnar and Halla Bara suggest Hornid and Italia for families.

Kids Activities on site:

Toys, books and games can be provided on request.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Small playground opposite; bigger one down by the harbour constructed from flotsam and jetsam
  • Whale-watching and puffin-spotting boat trips from the harbour
  • Viking and Maritime Museums
  • Head out of town for horse-riding, geysers, glaciers, thermal pools, waterfalls and volcanoes

Families Should Know:

You're in a city, and even in cute Reykjavik there is some traffic to look out for!


  • Airport: 45 minutes
  • Hospital: 5 minutes
  • Shops: 1 minute
Kid Friendly:

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