Don’t let the name fool you, the Icelandair Hotel Akureyri has plenty of character. Views of the surrounding fjord and mountains abound, while back inside Nordic-chic timber panelling is picked out against bright, colourful splashes. In turn, the hotel is perfectly poised to take in both artsy Akureyri town and its surrounding delights. That means days filled with snowmobiling, waterfalls or country hikes, and nights spent looking out for the Northern Lights.
Informed by fresh, sustainable ingredients, Icelandic dining is currently enjoying something of a resurgence. And, the hotel’s Aurora Restaurant is no different, with dinner dishes ranging from baked goat cheese to grilled salmon served with creamy barley. Then, alongside fantastic breakfasts and lunches, there’s the chance to spoil yourself with high tea. Beautifully presented, it features the likes of champagne, petit fours and open-faced sandwiches. You’ll also have the opportunity to refresh yourself at the bar, perhaps taking your drink by the fire in either the lounge or garden.
Taking style notes from the restaurant, rooms are delightfully bright and airy, with blonde-wood accents married against crisp-white linens. While all feature the usual WiFi and flat-screen mod-cons, many also offer pretty views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks. They’re best enjoyed from the plush, studio couches. In turn, upgrades add in larger beds, extra space and elevated positions. The fifth-floor King Deluxe rooms are special highlights for their overlooks of Mt. Sulur and Hlidarfjall ski slope. Lastly, for something extra special, book into the Suite for views east over what is Iceland’s longest fjord.
Although Akureyri is billed as Iceland’s “second city”, its population of just 18,000 ensures that a relaxed, café culture reigns supreme. You’ll have all of its main attractions within walking distance, including art galleries and the ultra-modernist Lutheran church that has become something of a town talisman. There’s even a geothermal pool, just across the road. However, it’s the surrounding beauty that might impress most, with lava fields, ice-sculpture caves, great waterfalls and Lake Myvatn’s bright-blue waters all within easy reach. Then, back at base, make use of the outdoor garden and its accompanying open fireplace to bask in the Midnight Sun or Northern Lights. The blankets and available snacks are a nice touch.