One of my favorite hotels in Europe: A review of the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Kvosin Hotel in Reykjavik
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I stayed at three hotels on a recent trip to Iceland, and one ended up being one of my all-time favorites: the Kvosin Hotel in Reykjavik.
This hotel is part of the Mr. & Mrs. Smith brand, which comprises “hand-picked” luxury boutique hotels worldwide. You’ll find these properties all over the world, including many in the U.S. The brand has a partnership with IHG so you can earn and redeem IHG Rewards points — as well as earn elite night credit — at 100+ Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties.
There are six Mr. & Mrs. Smith properties in Iceland, three of which are in the capital city of Reykjavik. I ended up booking one night at the Mrs. & Mrs. Smith Kvosin Hotel, located right in the heart of Reykjavik’s city center. This puts it close to the city’s many eateries, nightlife and cultural sights, making it a great place to start your Icelandic adventure.
The hotel itself is pretty awesome too. Rooms feel more like apartments than hotel rooms, and they’re furnished with Nordic charm. Plus, its bar is top-notch, and the location makes it one of the most intriguing hotels in Reykjavik.
Here’s what my stay was like.
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The Kovsin Hotel isn’t cheap. I booked my stay through IHG so I could earn rewards and elite status credit on my stay. The nightly rate was 278 Euros after-tax, equal to $330.36 at the time of writing. For reference, this is approximately double what the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica cost on the same night. Rates were nearly identical when booking with IHG, Mr. & Mrs. Smith or an OTA like Hotels.com.
Rates are the same on weekend nights in mid-2021 as well when booking through IHG.
That said, stays are cheaper on some dates if booked on the Mr. & Mrs. Smith website. Make sure to cross-compare pricing on your dates, but remember you must book through IHG to earn points and elite credit.
You can use your IHG Rewards points to book this hotel too. IHG recently moved to dynamic pricing for award nights, so prices change day by day. I ran a few test searches and found that most stays were in the range of 57,500 to 72,500 points per night. This isn’t cheap but could be worthwhile depending on the cash rate.
Related: The best hotel credit cards
If you want to use points for a stay but are a little bit short in your IHG account, consider the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card which is offering a sign-up bonus of 125,000 points plus a Reward Night (up to 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
The Kovsin Hotel might be the most centrally located hotel in Reykjavik. It’s right in the middle of the city center and is surrounded by excellent restaurants, bars, coffee shops and more. It’s also close to the waterfront, so you can start your morning with an espresso and a brisk walk to see the mountains surrounding the city.
There are also plenty of bus stops near the hotel. You can take public transit to other parts of the city or surrounding towns — bus rides within Reykjavik cost just under $4 if you use the Strætó mobile app. That said, if you’re only in Reykjavik for a couple of days before exploring the rest of Iceland, you should be able to walk just about anywhere you need.
Check-in and lobby
Before my stay at the Kvosin Hotel, I stayed at the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, located on the opposite side of town in the Laugardalur district. I took public transit across town and arrived at the hotel just before the posted 3 p.m. check-in time.
After showing my passport, credit card and vaccine card, the friendly front-desk clerk gave me my room’s passcode and directions to get there. To my surprise, he also gave me a coupon for two drinks at the bar next door — this is a standard benefit for all guests.
The lobby is tiny but well designed. It has a limited amount of seating and a self-serve snack counter that’s stocked with chips, sodas, water bottles and other snacks and drinks.
Getting to my room was an interesting experience. I took the elevator to the third floor but then had to walk outside to actually access it. Half the rooms have indoor-facing entrances while the others open to a large patio outside. The patio is outfitted with picnic tables and chairs — something that I’m sure is nice to have when it’s not snowing.
I walked to my room and entered the passcode, which is used to unlock your room and the hotel’s front door after hours, to unlock the door. It’s printed on a piece of paper, so make sure to write down a copy of this code if you think you may lose it during your travels around Reykjavik.
I really liked the outdoor-facing entrance. The area is secured with a fence, so there’s no worrying about strangers wandering around on the deck. It was nice to get some fresh air in the morning, and having a deck area gives you another place to hang out when visiting in the warmer months. Just remember it’s shared with other guests.
Once in the room, I was absolutely blown away. I was in a standard “Big” room, which was an understatement. When you walk in, you walk through a small hallway and are immediately greeted with a kitchen island. This was outfitted with an electric stove, mini-fridge, wet bar, Nespresso machine and three barstools. This is an excellent place to work and made the room feel more like an apartment than a hotel room.
It’s worth noting the hotel has other room sizes available too. The “Bigger” room has a larger living room and a sofa bed, making it great for families traveling with children.
Across from the kitchen are a couch and coffee table. This is a great place to relax during the day, and the couch was surprisingly comfortable. To the left of the couch is a shelf that has a Bluetooth speaker and a handful of Icelandic coffee table books that were interesting to flip through.
You’ll also notice there’s a ton of natural light in the room. There are two big windows on the far side of the room, and you can open them for fresh air.
There was one oddity on the coffee table: there was a TV and Apple TV remote on the table but no TV in the room. This was fine by me as I’m not one to watch TV in hotel rooms. However, it was a notable exclusion and just plain mysterious.
The room had a comfortable queen bed with nightstands on either side. There were overhead reading lights that had unique light switches. You had to physically flip them to turn the lights on and off, and they made the most satisfying clicking noise. I was able to sleep through the night without issue.
The bathroom was well-designed too. It has a step-in shower with premium Icelandic body products. The sink was small compared to American hotels, but the vanity was large enough for my needs. The bulk of the bathroom was finished with subway tile providing a modern Nordic look. Truth be told, I wish my apartment’s bathroom looked this cool.
This room felt like the hipster apartment I’ve always wanted but never had. The furniture and decor are modern yet classic, and the kitchen island means you can cook instead of going to a restaurant. And while actually getting to the room takes longer than a standard hotel, there’s a certain charm to waking up in the morning and having your coffee on the deck outside.
Truth be told, the Kvosin Hotel is light on amenities. There’s no spa, business center or true restaurant on-site, but that was OK with me. The posh room and excellent location in Reykjavik’s city center more than make up for the lack of frills. That said, Kovsin Hotel does have a pretty excellent hotel bar, which leads me to my next point…
Food and beverage
You can’t buy food on property, but you can stop by the hotel bar — Aldamot — for a drink or two. All guests receive a coupon good for two drinks, so chances are you’ll check it out during your stay. This coupon will get you two beers or glasses of wine, but you can also sample their collection of specialty cocktails if you so choose. These include the bar’s unique take on a gin and tonic and its specialty spritz cocktails. I’m a beer guy, though, so I indulged in two local Icelandic beers.
When I walked into the bar, I was excited to see the variety of Icelandic craft beers on tap.
The space was large with plenty of seating. Bar service wasn’t offered due to local COVID regulations, so I sat down at one of the tables across from the bar. A couple of locals stopped in for drinks too, and I can imagine the place gets packed in non-pandemic times where bars don’t have to close at 10 p.m. Like the rest of the hotel, the bar was well-designed and felt like a cool place to hang out.
Shortly after sitting down, a friendly bartender came to take my order. I asked him what beer he recommended, and he asked me for my favorite styles of beer. For my first drink, I opted to try an Einstok Pale Ale per his recommendation. It was super good — just hoppy enough with bright floral notes. It may have been my favorite Icelandic beer I tried during the trip.
I enjoyed my beer and decided to use my second free drink for a seasonal lager from Viking, another Icelandic brewery. Again, this was per the bartender’s recommendation, and I was impressed.
The two free drinks were a great way to relax after a long Friday exploring Reykjavik. The bartender was great, and Aldamot was pretty much everything I look for in a bar: a solid beer selection, relaxed atmosphere and friendly bar staff.
It also helped that Aldamot didn’t feel like a hotel bar. The separate entrance gave it a small corner-bar feel and the locals enjoying a drink only added to that vibe.
Oh, and a quick side-note: as a hotel guest, you have access to happy-hour prices for the entirety of your stay. This is a valuable perk on long stays, given how expensive alcohol is in Iceland.
The service at the Kvosin Hotel was nothing short of excellent. The front desk clerk was incredibly helpful throughout my stay. He made sure to tell me everything I needed to know about the property, how to find my room and gave me a couple of restaurant recommendations. At checkout, we discussed Iceland’s tourism industry and its recovery from the pandemic.
Again, the service at the bar was excellent too. The bartender was a fellow beer enthusiast, and he helped me use my two free drinks to find local beers that I really enjoyed. Plus, our brief conversation made me feel like I was a regular — it was a great experience, and I’m excited to stay at the hotel and have a beer at Aldamot again someday.
I was extremely impressed with the Mr. & Mrs. Smith Kvosin Hotel. The rooms are well-designed and felt like a more grown-up version of the Ace Hotel. I particularly enjoyed how it felt more like an apartment than a hotel room — something I wish more independent hotels focused on. The service was incredible too, and you really can’t beat the hotel’s location in Reykjavik’s city center.
At the same time, the hotel isn’t pretentious at all. The staff is great, the on-site bar is chill and the rooms feel like they were designed with a purpose. This is just the vibe I look for in a boutique hotel, and I won’t hesitate to book it again the next time I’m in Reykjavik.
That said, this excellent experience comes at a price. A one-night stay costs on or around $300 on most dates, and you may pay more if you book with IHG. That said, if you have a stash of IHG points lying around, this can be an excellent redemption if points rates are reasonable.
Feature photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy
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