If there’s one piece of advice I can give to someone visiting Iceland for the first time and staying for more than two days, it’s to rent a car and get out of town. Sure, Reykjavik is nice and has plenty of places to stay with fancy restaurants and museums but that’s not why you visit Iceland.
You want to get out of the city and into nature and that doesn’t take much more than an hour drive and a rental car.
However, once you’re out of town and into Iceland, finding places to stay gets more difficult. Sure, you can endlessly search Tripadvisor reviews but to save time we booked a package tour.
Our first stop outside the capital and our last stop before returning, was Hotel Laekur in Hella.
The hotel was located several kilometers from a turn off the Ring Road. This was the first time we were thankful we purchased the windshield and flat tire damage during the trip, although it wouldn’t be the last.
As we approached the hotel from the gravel road, we only started to appreciate how quaint this hotel, which was converted from old farm buildings, was.
When we got to the main parking lot, I pulled up and walked to the check-in desk.
The host walked us to our room, which was at the backside of the building.
It’s wasn’t luxury but we had our own bathroom and that’s all that we requested from the tour company. We had a large bed with separate comforters (Note from Sharon: No Joe stealing all the covers!), as was the norm in Iceland. Our bath towels were laid out on the bed, another (to us) strange quirk of Icelandic housekeeping.
The room had a table with two chairs. There was also a tea kettle, which is a necessity for those visiting from the UK.
The bathroom wasn’t large but did have a shower with a rain shower head and a handheld attachment. This was an arrangement we found in most of our stays around Iceland.
During the night, which was more like an eternal dusk, the blackout shades did a pretty good job of keeping out the sun. While I can sleep during total sunshine, Sharon used her eye shades and we had no trouble sleeping the entire night.
During our stay at the end of the trip, we were assigned a different room in the building across from the dining room and office
Apparently, this room was built at a different time as the layout and even a lot of the furnishing was totally different.
We didn’t have a table with chairs, but we did have a large bench. This was where we did our COVID tests to be let back into the US. The hotel Wi-Fi was great in each of our rooms.
The bathroom during our second stay of the trip also had a more modern layout.
In all, the second room felt totally different than our first one. That’s not a value judgment as we enjoyed each of our nights at Hotel Laekur.
This was partly because we ate dinner at the hotel for both of the nights we stayed there.
The menu wasn’t large but the food was tasty.
On our first stay, I had the lamb and Sharon tried the chicken.
On our next stay, we both tried the onion ooup. I had the chicken and Sharon tried the salmon. This time we sampled the Icelandic beers.
The dining room was the same place where they served the breakfast buffet, which was included in our room rate. There weren’t many warm dishes as the best you could find were fried eggs and sausages. It was still filling if you’re able to carb load for the day.
One of the selling points of the hotel is its idyllic setting. You can walk out of your room and look at snow-covered mountains. That is if Mother Nature is cooperative and doesn’t cover the view in a shield of fog and clouds during your stay.
Hotel Laekur also offers a hot tub and sauna for guests looking to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
On our second stay, we arrived early enough to jump in the hot tub after dinner. I stayed in the water while Sharon spent time in the sauna. Another couple arrived and spent much of their time in the sauna, with intermittent times of sitting outside and drinking beer. They also used the dunking pool full of outside temp water (50 degrees F) after leaving the sauna. Sharon struck up a conversation in the sauna and found out they were from Switzerland and had put off their trip from 2020. After getting vaccinated, they were happy to be able to travel to Iceland.
While the Hotel Laekur might not seem to be a luxury accommodation and there are no upgrades if you have diamond status, we totally enjoyed our two nights there. The dinners were tasty and a better option than traveling back into town over a gravel road. Breakfast was filling, if not full of options like our hotel in Reykjavik.
It did meet all of the requirements we set for our tour company. We wanted a private room with a bathroom. That’s what we got and even some more.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary