An Evening at the Exeter Hotel in Reykjavik

An Evening at the Exeter Hotel in Reykjavik

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An Evening at the Exeter Hotel in Reykjavik

If you’re planning on spending a weekend in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík, you could do no better for accommodation than the hip Exeter Hotel. We recently spent an evening overnight there to soak in just how Exeter Hotel lays on its hospitality. 

Located on Tryggvagata, the main road that passes by Reykjavík’s picturesque Old Harbour, the Exeter Hotel is a reasonably new addition to the city’s hotel scene. It's location is in within walking distance to the main amenities and attractions of downtown, making it a wise choice for those looking to maximise their time in the capital. 

As any renovated 1904 storage unit is likely to have, the Exeter Hotel boasts a stylish interior, its walls left bare and concrete in adherence to the classically Scandinavian minimalist style.

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Exeter Hotel is operated by KEAHOTELS, who also own and manage other accommodations across the city, including Apotek Hotel, Hotel Borg, Reykjavík Lights, Skuggi Hotel, Storm Hotel and Sand Hotel.

This time around, Exeter Hotel invited Guide to Iceland to experience an overnight stay as their guests so that we as travel experts are better prepared to provide you with our honest insights.

Here’s our experience of what is sure to become one of the city’s most beloved hotels.

Feasting at Deig Bakery, Drinking at Tail Bar

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Upon entering the hotel for the first time, our attention was immediately drawn to the in-house bakery, Deig.

Given its stark, black and white lettering and pop-art marketing style, Deig is unmissable for those passing on Tryggvagata. Thus, it made sense that sampling some of Deig’s delicacies should be our first port of call.

Deig Bakery, open every day at 7.00, offers doughnuts, bagels and bagel sandwiches, bread, sourdough and even pizza. In fact, the pizza is something of a speciality, offered every day from 11:00 to 21:00 (22:00 on weekends.)

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Patrons can expect some tantalising and twisted takes on the traditional Italian pie; the “Boomer”, for instance, boasts toppings as far-ranging as fresh horse-radish, maple syrup and truffle oil.

Upon arrival, we were provided two of Deig Bakery’s biggest showstoppers; a maple-glazed, bacon-infused doughnut and a delectable Crème brûlée doughnut.

Chewing down on these sugary treats, we listened as our hosts discussed the benefits of keeping a bakery local for their guests; close, comfort food paired with a level of creativity only possible through the sculpting of public feedback.

Besides, with guests having to pass the bakery on their way to the lobby, it seems expected that Deig pulls in plenty of passing customers with its array of artisan puddings. 

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It was around this time that we were offered a complimentary beer from Tail bar, something I’ve never quite managed to turn down. Only adding to this gesture was the unique means in which the beer was poured. The amber nectar filled the glass from its base, an upside down pump that let the liquid flow around a tightly sealed magnet.

As the bartender handed me the beverage, he offered me both a wink and sage advice; “Just don’t play with the bottom of the glass, ok?

Well, quite naturally, but through no doing of my own, I felt my fingers playfully creep along the base of my pint. Within moments, I dislodged the magnet and felt shocked to find cold alcohol pouring over both my legs and the floor of the bar.

Now soaking in both shame and Gull lager, I found myself muttering hurried apologies as I attempted to clean the mess below me. 

The Rooms, Gymnasium & The Sauna

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Having thoroughly embarrassed myself at the bar, I thought it best to quarantine myself off from other humans for a while. I was still apologising as I ushered myself from the lobby. Before reaching the elevators, however, our hotel guide was back to show me the range of room options available to prospective guests. 

The first and most impressive stop was the 51 m2 Exeter Hotel suite, complete with parquet veneered floors, a writing desk and a stunning wrap around balcony.

Stepping atop the terrace, I spent a few moments idly appreciating the staggering views of Faxaflói Bay and Mount Esja, before stepping back inside to continue our tour. Afterwards, we were offered a peek at the regular double rooms; noticeably smaller, but just as clean, compact and well put together. 

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We also dropped into the gymnasium and sauna, both of which felt private and well-equipped. Surveying the spacious changing area, we were also privy to the outside garden terrace, central to the hotel and used for parties and concerts throughout the year. 

At last, we came to the most essential room of the tour; our own. The Superior Room, as it is billed, comes tastefully decorated with modern-art stylings and its own impressive panorama of the Reykjavík waterfront.

Setting down my luggage for the evening, I set out ticking off the various amenities; en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower, a smart TV, bluetooth speaker, a mini-fridge, a coffee and tea set. Oh yes, one could stay here indefinitely. 

Street Food at Le Kock Restaurant 

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Later into the evening, we dined at the hotel’s adjourning restaurant, Le Kock.

Instantly taken with their masterfully illustrated menus, I chose the “Offer of the Last Century”, a Le Kock cheeseburger—a grilled beef patty smothered in cheddar—served with deep-fried baby potatoes doused in a secret sauce.

My dining companion chose the Buffalo fried wings, 12 pieces of delicious chicken paired with celery and a blue cheese sauce. 

Why exactly potatoes are such a staple of Le Kock over, say, french fries, is something that I have yet to decipher.

In fact, recalling the menu, an entire section is dedicated to the spud; Greek Potatoes (topped with feta, red grapes and ranch dressing), Chipotle Potatoes (with guacamole, bacon and spring onions) or Parmesan Potatoes (pickled chilli, garlic sauce and fresh basil) are all available for snacking on.

Much of the bread baked at Deig can also trace its origins to potatoes. In short, potatoes seem to be a key ingredient—quite literally—in how these establishments operate. 

A Good Night’s Sleep and the Breakfast Buffet

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Full and satisfied, we retired back to our room for a shower and much needed sleep. The walk-in shower was particularly pleasant given the ample space, powerful flow and soft towels for afterwards. 

Falling into the fresh linens, my muscles gave out to the cushioned mattress, my eyes flicking to the soft buzz of the television screen. Undoubtedly one of the best night’s sleep of the year so far, you’ll have to believe me when I say that the spaciousness and comfort of Exeter Hotel’s double beds is a hard thing to come by in this penny-pinching industry. 

Of particular note was the layout of the bed itself. With two single mattresses attached and slidable along the bed post, both of which are joined and covered by a second thick layer, moving the beds into a position of your choice is a possibility at the Exeter. 

The next morning, we awoke to the sunlight pouring through the curtains. I stepped up the window, taking in the quiet morning ambience of a city waking up. 

An Evening at the Exeter Hotel in Reykjavik

After another shower—when in Rome, and all that—we descended to Le Kock for a morning breakfast buffet. Cold spreads of meat, fruit, a variety of breads and cereals, orange juice, tea and coffee made for a nourishing first meal, and I found myself making return trips to refill the plate.

Whilst eggs, beans and bacon would not go amiss, it is still clear to me that a breakfast buffet almost always endears one further to their hotel of choice. I mean, we're still talking an establishment that lays out beer-soaked ham in the morning... it's tricky to find a complaint! 

Thankfully, Exeter Hotel had already surpassed my expectations to the point that I was merely revelling in its atmosphere for the last remaining hour of my stay. 

To find out more about pricing and availability of the Exeter Hotel click here.

Have you stayed overnight at Exeter Hotel and, if so, how did you find it? Have you dined at Le Kock or sampled the doughnuts of Deig? Make sure to leave your thoughts and queries in the Facebook comments box below. 

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