CANOPY BY HILTON REYKJAVIK CITY CENTRE

100   Recommended

Room 338
September 4, 2016 by
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Room 338

Liked:
Location
Service
Food
Amenities
Room

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I recently stayed at the newly-opened, first-ever Canopy hotel in Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik. The property had only been open a month and a half, and was still under some construction when I visited, so I accounted most any snags to what one might expect due to normal startup, and botton line up front - This was a very enjoyable stay and fun concept hotel.

Iceland has become (and is still becoming) a recently-popular destination for adventure travel sightseeing, and the whole area seems to be refreshing itself and under some level of growth. The capital still has a small town, safe, unpolluted and clean, easy to navigate feel, but is Iceland's cultural, dining, governmental, and tourist epicenter. Hilton's young, local-hotspot-vibe Canopy brand fits in really well with the city.

We rented a car at the KEF airport and easily navigated up the coast north 45 minutes to the city and the hotel. Various buses and shuttles for hire are available as well from the airport to downtown.

Check In

The hotel entrance doors open to a small cafe on one side of the lobby, and a simple, small check in desk on the other. It is an Ikea-Starbucks mashup feel: European and compact, but warm and pleasant. Earth tones and wood, retro art, and a fireplace with comfortable chairs in the lobby.

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A simple wood table is staffed with a couple of check-in front desk agents to assist with check in.

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As a Diamond guest we were welcomed with a dinner certificate (more on that under "dining"), and certainly no lack of service was shown: Due to the construction and a tangle of initially-confusing one-way streets, I wound up temporarily parking a block over, unable to find the front door from the road my Google/GPS directions took me to. I ran in to ask where to park, and a staffer happily offered to pop out to ride with us, showing us exactly what streets to go down to public parking. He gave a mini-local-tour on the way there, extremely friendly and helpful! There is a public parking garage just across the street from the hotel's main doors, reasonably priced. We left our car there, the staffer helped us with tugging bags across the street, and got us to the front desk. We recieved keycards and a little "Passport To Iceland" brochure with our "Icelandic" names for cutesyness. Everyone ready to help, great attitudes, but probably still need a little more HHonors-brand familiarization. I don't believe an upgrade was mentioned at the front desk - I was initially mistaken in thinking we weren't upgraded, but we were actually given the larger King room instead of the Queen I'd booked. I apologize to the hotel for originally saying we were not upgraded!  No waters were offered at check-in, nor were in the room. The brochure said you must ask for them - which I did, and the staff seemed a little unsure of how to do that. They walked me over to the cafe across the lobby and pulled some bottles out of the bar fridge there, but it seemed somewhat ad hoc.

The lobby has an elevator (key required to operate) as well as stairs. As some have reported, the property is a little strangely laid out, and I wound up circling a bit, going through firewall doors and down little hallways to find the room. The property is laid out through a few little separate houses, so room numbers might go from, say, 300-325... and 326 is somewhere else down another hall. By the second night, I had it down how to get everywhere, but it was initially a bit of a maze to get from lobby/room/elevator/restaurant/etc.

Room

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The room we were given (338), was a standard King room, upgraded from the Queen bedroom we booked. Entry has a short foyer with an open clothing rack/hanger and some shelves, with luggage storage. I found this useful. Chronic overpackers may need some more space.

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A spotless, well-lit bathroom with white subway tile and volcanic colortones of grey and blue hues had a shower, toilet, and single sink with a very good brand hairdryer.

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A good selection of soaps and amenities were represented. The welcome brochure hinted that Iceland's geothermal hot water could potentially smell, but I noticed none of that, and more importantly, my wife, who has the world's most sensitive nose, was not bothered either. They lightheartedly brag that since the hot water is geothermal - you'll never run out, shower as long as you like. And the shower (both handheld and overhead rain-type heads) was as hot as I'd like and lovely after a long flight in. Large spa type towels, which we utilized for a later trip to Blue Lagoon the next day, were of good quality.

The bed was very nice, with a grey duvet and an Icelandic wool throw to curl up in on the chaise seat next to the window. Mattress was on the firm side, but very much to my liking, as well as the wife's who generally likes them on the soft side. Go figure.

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View of nothing in particular: a quiet street with a restaurant across the way. A small refrigerator, coffee service, safe, and some more storage shelves are across from the bed.

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If you're just tablet or phone connected, you can come from the States, as we did, with no electrical problems - while I brought an outlet adapter, I ended up not needing it and just using the in-wall USB to charge my iPhone and such. USB is by the bedside as well as above the small desk/tv stand on the opposite wall. The TV channels were minimal, but BBC and US news in English as well as a couple local channels. Everyone speaks very fluent English here, btw.

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Dining

The restaurant downstairs, Geri Smart, was a highlight of the stay. All Canopy guests have access to the hip and warm facility's breakfast buffet. High quality hot dishes (fried potatoes, bacon, eggs scrambled and fried), some of the best cold salmon I've ever had, various vegetarian options, a trout rollup, various hearty European breads and croissants with nice jams and nutella/butter/peanut butter/honey, museli, skyr (icelandic yogurt), fresh fruits, small pre-poured smoothies and ginger health shots (even cod liver oil if a shot of that gets you moving), a few juices, and a coffee bar with tea and pots. Iceland is pricey for food, so this breakfast area is a huge benefit - a reason to come stay here, frankly, and I hope it does not change.

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Breakfast to go option is available in-room - a small paper bag can be hung on the doorknob, you write what time you'd like a small grab-and-go bag filled and delivered (banana, skyr, orange juice). Nice touch.

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I did not get back to the hotel in time during my stay to try their evening tasting in the Bistro. The Bistro had a very warm, urban feel to it, looked like a great place to have some drinks, or perhaps take them up to the rooftop view area during the warmer months. I understand they have some cocktails and small plates complimentary during this time. Would have liked to make it, but we were out most days sightseeing and missed this feature.

(Photos of rooftop -where we even caught some Northern Lights!- not the Bistro).

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Dinner: As Diamond guests, we were given a voucher for a three-course "chef's suprise" menu - I gathered that this was only during the opening months, but if it remains, it would be fantastic. We ended up arriving late after a long drive touring - right at closing time. We asked the greeter/maître d' if we were too late - it was apparent that they had started to close the kitchen down, but Joel simply smiled and said "This hotel will not turn away a guest hungry - by all means, let's get you a booth and some dinner." and proceeded to get us served like VIP guests. Fantastic bread with icelandic butter and a spot of sweet dipping vinegar, a starter dish of cauliflower and hay cheese with an edible, bubbled floral oil... monkfish main course with grilled bok choy and carrots and a cream sauce, and a creative dessert bite of marscapone ice cream on butternut squash cake with a sprinkling of liquored pumpkin crumbles. Superb service and creative food - that night made this place for us.

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Location

The downtown is small enough to walk from one end to the other rather quickly, with the famous Hallgrimskirkja church anchoring the far end uphill, the harbor to the side, and the main shopping and strolling street of Laugavegur beside the hotel. Location is perfect for being able to walk around the quaint city area. The hotel has some complimentary bikes to borrow if you prefer that. Nice touch. 

IMG_0216.JPGThere are some late night bars and restaurants nearby, so street noise can be heard from some rooms, but this didn't bother me. I assume you could ask for a more interior room if noise concerns you. There is a pedestrian-only road to one side of the property, making parking and finding the hotel a bit confusing, but once you know to come around from the harbor-side of town with the Harpa concert hall, you're easily parked at the public garage. (a note: we went out at 1130pm to see Northern Lights, and came back around 1am to find the garage locked for the night. Ooops. Plan ahead. Thankfully, street parking is free overnight until 9am, so I left my car a block away and made sure to go fetch and repark before breakfast.)

Overall

This property has a lot of cute charm, is clean as can be, and in the perfect center of the town. Everything is of high quality. Comfortable beds and steamy hot showers, superb breakfast and dining, a little built in coffee house and bistro bar, great staff that helped with any request. Good communications from Hrvoje Kralj, Margrét Silja, Benjamín Almar, and Gunni, as well as the aforementioned impeccable service from Joel at Geri Smart. I have stayed at the Nordica Hilton as well, which is much more of a bland business hotel (albiet with a very nice spa and gym) well away outside of the cute downtown. The Canopy has just enough hipster vibe to give some excitement, but ultimately is a cozy and squared away place to base out of for some Iceland touring. It's expensive, but most things in Iceland are - I used a 70k per night point redemption, as the dollar amount was a little more than I'd like to spend (Nordica was 40k points the same time), but I'd definitely stay here at Canopy Reykjavik again.

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