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Review: Hotel Kriunes, Near Reykjavik, Iceland

The family-run Hotel Kriunes is a unique luxury hotel that is often overlooked by visitors heading directly for Reykjavik, yet it offers a lovely alternative on the capital’s outskirts. Nestled on the shores of Lake Elliðavatn, popular with migratory birds as well as fishermen looking to catch char, trout and salmon, the hotel provides a more rural alternative to suburban Reykjavik.

The welcome

An unexpected hacienda-styled entrance greeted us on arrival – the owners, we later discovered, have a love of Mexico. Once inside, the Mexican décor continued and we were warmly welcomed by a gentleman on reception who hailed from Lithuania, and given the keys to our rooms which were downstairs.

The room

We stayed in Room 28 which is a Superior King suite on the corner of the building spanning 37 square metres and with a door leading out to a private patio beside the lake. Large, floor-to-ceiling windows afford guests exceptional panoramic views across the lake and to the mountains beyond.

The bedroom was ultra-comfortable with separate single duvets on the large double bed, something which seems quite commonplace in Iceland and surprisingly practical!

The suite has a separate seating area, some nested tables and a SmartTV with Netflix, Nespresso coffee machine and a tea maker.

There’s even an in-room bath (as well as a separate bathroom) with Ebony London toiletries – honey and mango shampoo, body wash and conditioner.

…and something I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered in a hotel room before, recycling facilities – a nod to Iceland’s eco-friendliness and respect for sustanability.

Our sons were in room 26, a similaly styled twin room, also with a view of the lake.

All rooms come with air conditioning, ample bedside sockets, SmartTV, free WiFi, mini bar, Nespresso machine, safe and suitcase rack.

The bathroom

Whilst we had a bath in our room, we also had a separate bathroom with shower, basin and WC. A feature wall depicted one of Iceland’s many iconic waterfalls – Svartifoss in Vatnajökull National Park, I think it was – cascading over basalt columns.

Gowns, slippers, fluffy towels, flannels and a hair dryer are all provided, as are Tranquillity™ hand soap and lotion, shampoo, shower gel and conditioner from The Comfort Zone, chosen because all their production is sustainable and in harmony with the environment.

Our sons’ bathroom was similar, depicting another of Iceland’s stunning waterfalls.

The facilities

Although we didn’t have time to use it during our brief stay, our accommodation came with free access to the hotel’s sauna and outdoor hot tub.

The hotel also has a restaurant on the ground floor which enjoys slightly elevated views of the lake.

The same room is used for a buffet-style breakfast each morning.


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Hotel Kriunes is only a 40 minute drive from Keflavik International Airport, and a 15-20 minute drive from Reykjavik city centre which is to the north-west. Located on the western shore of Lake Elliðavatn, the hotel lies on the fringe of the Heiðmörk conservation area which covers 3,200 hectares and is home to numerous hiking, biking and horse riding trails, small forests, and lava formations.

Other nice touches

We had arrived too late for dinner service on our first night, and the chef had already clocked off, but the receptionist very kindly went into the kitchens fixed us up with a lovely smoked salmon salad. This was much appreciated as, having just climbed up the Fagradalsfjall volcano site shortly after landing at Keflavik, we weren’t really in the mood for driving into Reykjavik to try to find something to eat.


Rooms at Hotel Kriunes start from 26,000 ISK.
The Superior King suite that we stayed in starts from 56,000 ISK.

The best bit

The best bit for me was the element of surprise when we arrived. The approach to the hotel takes you through a not-too-inspiring residential area and we found ourselves wondering whether we had taken a wrong turn. On arrival, we went downstairs from reception into what felt like a basement, walked down a corridor, again wondering where we were heading, before opening the room to our suite and being pleasantly surprised by its amazing lake view just yards from our accommodation.

The final verdict

Hotel Kriunes is a conveniently-located upscale hotel on the outskirts of Reykjavik. By being on the outskirts, just a 6-minute drive from the country’s Route 1 ring road, it is ideal if you have just arrived in Iceland (as we had) or are about to depart, but equally if you want to get slightly swifter access to places such as the Golden Circle than you would if you were located in the city centre.

Planning a trip to Iceland yourself? You can watch a video from our trip to Iceland here:

YouTube video

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hotel Kriunes. Our trip to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. The location of the hotel looks to be near perfect. Great views out over the sea, yet close enough to drive in to the capital without too much trouble. From the look of your other Iceland posts I doubt that traffic congestion would have been a problem?

    1. Definitely no problem with congestion! And yes, it’s probably about the closest quality hotel to Reykjavik where you still get to enjoy a rural location.

  2. If only every country would follow Iceland’s policy on recycling. Getting people to sort their own waste makes them far more thoughtful about recycling and sustainability.

    1. Hi Rose – yes, I very much got a sense that throughout Iceland – not just in the hotels – sustainability is taken much more seriously than in many other parts of the world. Maybe it’s because Icelanders have a better appreciation for natural resources and scenic beauty through their own unique environment.

      And hi Vernon – yeah, only a little over 5 minutes on to the ring road from Hotel Kriunes, whereas you’d probably be looking at more like 25 from the centre of Reykjavik on a busy morning.


  3. It looks a very stylish, sleek contemporary hotel. Personally, I’m not sure that donkey adds very much to the mix!

    1. The Mexican theme, I must say, did strike me as a little odd. It continued as you went into reception and in some of the communal areas, with colourful tiles, earthy terracotta tones, bold colour transitions, decorative Mexican objects and hand crafted ornaments. When you think of Iceland, it’s certainly not what would traditionally spring to mind!

  4. Usually I’m not that much of a fan of hot tubs especially now that they are going to cost so much to heat. That one is attracting me. That view and Iceland’s hot baths somehow make it the thing to do there.

  5. Iceland has always been up around the top 5 on my wanna-go-there list.

    Though Iceland never made it in to the top 2 and I’ve still not been there.

    I think I didn’t know what to do or how to do Iceland. All these posts on Iceland have really helped.

    I’m beginning to understand how I could do Iceland.

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