The hotel, located just off Reykjavik’s main thoroughfare, Laugavegur, is a refreshing departure from the usual Icelandic fare of blandly Scandinavian interiors: Here, Fendi chairs and plush Poliform sofas sit on a floor of black ostrich leather, while a cocoon-like pendant hangs from the ceiling. Room No. 415 has an unfettered view of the Esja, the nearby volcanic mountain range.
This cluster of upcycled buildings and new structures united in the hotel-as-village model incorporates a street-facing haberdashery opened in 1918, as well as the bakery Sandholt, manned by a team of fifth-generation bakers and loved for its hearty rye, kamut and quinoa breads. Upstairs, the cozy 53 guest rooms are accented with art from the local gallery I8, which represents some of the country’s best-known contemporary artists, including Olafur Eliasson and Ragnar Kjartansson.
Ragnar Eiriksson, the chef of Iceland’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, cycles to work so he can stop to collect rose petals, yarrow and sorrel for his seasonal five- and seven-course menus. Diners sit nearly knee-to-knee in former stables from the early 1900s, made over by the local designer Halfdan Pedersen, who transplanted some of the décor from an old farmhouse up north. Among Eiriksson’s many adventurous dishes — which are plated on hand-thrown ceramics from local makers Postulina and are inspired by regional comfort food — is his delicate smoked haddock, which sits atop a creamy mash of potatoes whipped with skyr, a mild Icelandic yogurt.
Icelanders love their nammi, or candy — most, in fact, grow up sipping soda through a licorice straw. In addition to lollipops and pastilles, this 41-year-old sugar emporium offers such sentimental favorites as thristur — chocolate-dipped caramel bars with salty licorice bites inside — and Opal lozenges, packaged in the distinctive Op Art boxes designed by the painter Atli Mar Arnason.
The Marshall House
American tax dollars helped build this herring factory in 1948 under the post-World War II Marshall Plan. It reopened in March as an assemblage of exhibition spaces for previously itinerant artist-run collectives, some of which were struggling to survive post 2008. Tenants include Nylistasafnid and Kling & Bang gallery, as well as Studio Olafur Eliasson, which shows sculptures and installations by the celebrated Berlin- and Copenhagen-based Icelandic artist. The ground-floor Marshall Restaurant + Bar serves simple but well-prepared seafood dishes such as ocean perch crudo topped with citrus and capers. Grandagardur 20, 101.
Located on a blustery stretch of Reykjavik’s harbor, this former fishnet repair shop is now filled with plush knitted jackets that take their cue from traditional Icelandic men’s wear, along with lavishly ruffled wraps and wool dresses trimmed with lightweight panels designed to dance in the air. Steinunn Sigurdardottir returned to her native Iceland to launch the brand after stints at Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Gucci, and considers her line just the latest participant in Iceland’s centuries-old knitwear tradition.
Inside this small, newly opened boutique, dresses patterned with Yeoman’s delightfully dizzying abstract prints hang alongside sculptural shoes and jewelry from fellow local artisans. A fashion designer who studied fine art, Yeoman is a favorite of Edda Gudmundsdottir, best known as Bjork’s stylist. For inspiration, Yeoman says she looks to the women in her life, such as a sorceress friend and her great-grandmother, who fled New Jersey with a motorcycle gang.
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