Hotel Review: Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavík (Iceland) (Unusual Room)

The Backstory:

After my flight was cancelled on Friday, and I spent Friday night at the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavík City Centre, I had to find another hotel for Saturday night when my flight got pushed an extra day and the Canopy was full.

Since I was going to have to pay for the hotel night and then seek reimbursement from Icelandair, I wanted to stay somewhere that I could collect some points. My other requirement was something close to the Canopy that I could walk to. I preferred another Hilton, but the closest one with availability was the Hilton Nordica, and that was about mile and a half away.

While I was looking at the area I noticed a Radisson Blu, and I remembered I had received an email promotion for 10,000 bonus points for a one night stay. There are two Radisson Blu’s in Reykjavík, but since it was raining and I was walking I chose the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavík since it was a little closer.

Always keep an eye on your emails, and always register for promotions even if you don’t think you will have any stays!

There seemed be only a couple of rooms available, so I while I was eating breakfast at the Canopy I booked a “1 Twin Bed” room for €205 on the Radisson app.

It was about a 5 minute walk over to the Radisson Blu 1919, Reykjavík which is located in an easily recognizable historic building located at Pósthússtræti 2. It’s a fairly small hotel with only 88 rooms, but the location is fantastic near one of the city’s premier shopping areas.

Lobby/ Check in:

Check in was supposed to be at 3pm, but  I headed over at 1:30 to see if my room was ready.

The lobby area at the Radisson Blu was a little quirky, but cool. As I walked in through the very old style revolving doors, on the left there were a couple seating areas and the hallway to the elevators, and on the right, a large TV with the news playing. Scattered throughout the lobby area on the walls were quirky art pieces of people coming out of the walls.

Very old style revolving doors at the Radisson Blu.
Radisson Blu lobby.
Radisson Blu lobby.
Radisson Blu lobby.
Radisson Blu lobby.

The check in desk was also on the right, and there was a nice little setup next to that with some lemon water, fruit and snacks.

Radisson Blu lobby area.

The woman that checked me in said my room was ready. When she handed me the sheet to sign acknowledging the rate and the hotel rules, she interestingly told me to check a certain box if I wanted to sign up for the Radisson Rewards program. I told her I was already a member, and that my number should be on the reservation already. She checked it and acknowledged that there was indeed a membership number attached.

I got the feeling that she may have been new, and that feeling was reinforced when I got to the room she assigned to me.

Room 416:

I was given Room 416 so I took the elevator up to the 4th floor, walked through a very large hallway, and around the corner to 416.

Hallway to Room 416.
Hallway to Room 416 at the Radisson Blu.
Floor plan and emergency escape route.

My initial thought when I opened the door was that it was kinda cool, but after a few seconds I realized the room was going to be a problem for me. About 2′ of the room, just inside the door, had a flat ceiling, but from that point the ceiling sloped down at a pretty steep angle.

Only vertically challenged people should be assigned this room.

The room felt very cozy with the bed tucked away in the corner, and a desk and TV at the opposite end, but the ceiling was a real problem for me. I’m 6’6”, and that was about the height at the midpoint of the room, so I found myself walking hunched over even when I didn’t need to, just as a precaution.

Room 416 at the Radisson Blu 1919, Reykjavik.

The bed was two singles connected together. It was extremely comfortable and the bed linens seemed of very high quality.

Next to the door was a wardrobe with clothes hangers and a safe. Next to that was a mini bar, which I couldn’t find any pricing for.

Wardrobe and mini bar at the Radisson Blu.
Cabinet with clothes hangers and a safe next to the mini bar.
Mini bar at the Radisson Blu.
Wine in the mini bar at the Radisson Blu 1919.
Radisson Blu outlets next to the bed.

The only windows in the room were skylights, which luckily had sizable cutouts, so there was no view of anything except part of a roof.

I needed to work for a few hours, so I really appreciated the very large desk. I travel with my laptop as well as a portable monitor, so I need a little extra space, and this one had it. There weren’t any outlets around the desk though, which seemed weird, so I had to unplug the TV and use that outlet.

The WiFi in the room was excellent. I was easily able to download and email large files during the couple hours that I worked.

Nice sized desk, but the only nearby plug was the one the TV is plugged into.
Very cool book about Iceland with beautiful photos.

The bathroom was also interesting. The ceiling had the same slope, with the toilet on low side of the room. The sink was very small , and the wooden counter space was also very narrow.

Radisson Blu 1919 bathroom.
Radisson Blu 1919 bathroom.
Radisson Blu 1919 bathroom.
Radisson Blu 1919 bathroom.

The bathroom amenities were Radisson Blu brand.

Bath amenities at the Radisson Blu.

The shower had a rainwater shower head and and a very cool photo of an Icelandic waterfall covering one whole wall, but it seemed weird that there was no soap dish. All in all not a very functional bathroom.

The shower in Room 416 at the Radisson Blu.

Breakfast in the 1919 Restaurant was not included in my rate, so I didn’t take advantage of it. As you can see by the sign in the elevator, there is a discount for booking 20 feet away from the restaurant at the front desk vs. just walking in.

Eating breakfast? Be sure to take a 10 second detour to the front desk to save 2 euros.

The Neighborhood:

I would say this is the best feature of this hotel. The location is amazing. It’s sits right in the middle of a popular shopping and dining district, and iconic sights like the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrimskirkja Church are just a short walk away.

The neighborhood around the Radisson 1919.
The neighborhood around the Radisoon Blu 1919.

One thing to note is that right next to the hotel is a famous hot dog stand named Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, which translates to “best hot dogs in town”. This little hot dog stand had a long line of customers each time I walked by it, so I didn’t have a chance to try it.

The famous Icelandic hot dog stand right next to the Radisson Blu 1919.

The Wrap Up:

Since I was only there for one night, I decided to just stay in the room even though the ceiling made it very uncomfortable for me. The pictures online of the other rooms look very nice with no signs of a dramatic ceiling detail, so I imagine there are only a couple rooms with this configuration. If I ever stayed at the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavík again, I would definitely ask to avoid the rooms in that area of the hotel.

A different woman checked me out on Sunday, and she immediately recognized that the room I was assigned was probably not ideal for me. She asked me how it was and I told her it was a little uncomfortable, but it was just for one night. She seemed indifferent to my response.

If you are looking to burn some points, this hotel costs 70,000 Radisson Rewards points per night, which I think is far too much. I see cash rates for the end of October in the $160 range, which makes redeeming points a very bad strategy. To give a comparison, the nearby Radisson Blu Saga Hotel is just 44,000 points per night, with comparable cash rates.

The two Radisson hotels in the city of Reykjavik.

This seemed like a fine hotel, but in a battle between the Canopy by Hilton, Reykjavík City Centre, and the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavík, I would take the Canopy every time.

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