|The Reykjavik EDITION
|Hotels, Design, Interior Design
|+354 582 0000
|Roman and Williams
|The Reykjavik EDITION
Located in the historic centre of Reykjavik by the city’s Old Harbour, The Reykjavik EDITION, which opened its doors last November, strikes a fine balance between edgy and sophisticated, which is exactly what we’d expect from a collaboration between legendary hotelier Ian Schrager and global hospitality powerhouse Marriott International. Combining Schrager’s expertise in creating individualized, one-of-a-kind hotels – Schrager pioneered the boutique hotel concept in the 1980s – with Marriott’s operational expertise, the EDITION luxury hotel brand offers guests a curated taste of the locale through unique properties that both draw from and add to their setting.
In Reykjavik, the brand has partnered with local architecture firm, T.ark and New York-based studio Roman and Williams to create - with the guidance of Ian Schrager Company (ISC) - a hip urban hub that captures the budding spirit of Iceland’s capital, a flourishing culinary hotspot with cool cafés, a rollicking nightlife and an epic music scene. Comprising 253 rooms, an outstanding line-up of bars, a signature restaurant and nightclub, the hotel has been conceived as a destination within a destination matching the city’s fun-loving reputation with lively spaces to socialize, work and relax.
The brand has the uncanny ability to land in just the right place at the right time and the Reykjavik EDITION is no exception. As an aspirational destination located in-between North America and Western Europe, Iceland has always conveyed a certain kind of allure thanks to its unique, otherworldly geography – a spectacular medley of bright green moss-carpeted lava fields, soaring glaciers and rugged mountains sliced by deep, river-cut valleys. “In Iceland, you’re getting to see things you won’t see anywhere else” Schrager says which is exactly what post-pandemic travellers are seeking propelled by their pent-up wanderlust. Plus, “Reykjavik is a really cool, young city - perfect for our brand,” Schrager adds.
The hotel’s architecture and interior design draws inspiration from Iceland’s geology and culture while channelling the brand’s sense of refined sophistication. Comprising a series of cubic blocks set at an angle to make the most of the harbour views, the building’s exterior echoes the geometric patterns of the glass and steel facades of the adjacent Olafur Eliasson-designed Harpa Concert Hall as well as conjures up Iceland’s dramatic lava landscape thanks to its ebony facades of charred timber and blackened steel frames.
Nods to Iceland’s volcanic landscape continue in the hotel’s interior whose understated sensibility and contemporary minimalism belie a heart-warming soulfulness. In the lobby, basalt stone, a type of rock formed from the rapid cooling of volcanic lava, is prominently used for the flooring, which has been laid in an intricate pattern inspired by Icelandic geometry, a standout sculptural reception desk, and a sculptural totem inspired by ‘cairns’, man-made piles of stones that act as landmarks across Iceland’s countryside. Designed by the ISC team and crafted by local artisans, the totem is encircled by a basalt bench layered with lush black sheepskins, black damask and silk pillows, comprising a stunning centre-piece in the otherwise low-key interiors. An adjacent digital artwork, also by ISC, adds splashes of colour reflecting the sublime spectacle of the aurora borealis (Northern Lights).
In order to balance out the black stone surfaces, the designers have added a selection of warm materials such as terracotta saddle leather and white oak, the former wrapped around concrete columns and the latter used for flooring, ceiling beams and wall slats in the adjacent bar and lounge area. A central open-flame fireplace further imbues the lounge with warmth as do a collection of custom-made furniture in intimate seating groups, such as the Jean-Michel Frank-inspired armchairs in white shearling and Pierre Jeanneret-inspired chairs in black velvet.
The project’s distinct aesthetic of contemporary Icelandic élan is on full display at Tides, the hotel’s signature restaurant which features its own waterfront entrance and outdoor terrace as well as a café with homemade baked goods. Centred on a hexagonal-shaped bar above which hangs a custom-made bronze and alabaster chandelier by French artist Eric Schmitt, the space is defined by basalt stone flooring, fluted concrete columns and oiled ash wood ceiling panelling. During the day, floor-to-ceiling windows fill the space with natural light, while at night, warm, indirect lighting imbues the restaurant with discrete elegance that evocatively complements the modern Icelandic menu by Gunnar Karl Gíslason, the chef behind Dill, Reykjavik’s much-celebrated New Nordic Michelin-starred restaurant.
On the opposite side of the lobby, Tölt is an intimate bar that takes its cues from The London EDITION’s award-winning Punch Room. Enjoying views of Harpa plaza, the space was conceived as a hidden sanctuary featuring three intimate sitting alcoves fitted with colourful custom rugs with a pattern inspired by traditional Icelandic geometry, teak tambour walls, burnt orange banquettes and pony hair poufs. The alcoves themselves are set around a green marble-topped bar cocooned in walnut flooring and ceiling panels and crowned by an aged bronze shelving unit suspended from the ceiling.
The hotel’s 253 guestrooms and suites have been designed as warm retreats, with the beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows that frame various views of the surrounding neighbourhood, including the harbour and Eliasson’s Harpa Concert Hall. A muted palette of ash wood and pale grey oak serves as a warm foundation for feature formwork concrete walls, Italian custom-made furniture, copper bed light sconces, faux fur rugs, and artwork and accessories produced by local craftsmen. Examples of the latter include colourful bed throws by local wool company, Ístex, ceramics by artist Guðbjörg Káradóttir, and landscape photography by famous Icelandic artists Pall Stefansson and Ragnar Axelsson.
The hotel’s facilities also include a series of flexible meeting and event spaces that can host anything from intimate meetings, to business conferences and lavish gala dinners, a state-of-the-art gym, and an underground spa. Combining a full menu of treatments, a hammam, sauna and plunge pool with a lounge-bar serving healthy post-workout smoothies during the day and champagne and moss vodka infusions at night, the spa best encapsulates the venue’s bespoke hospitality approach. As Schrager notes, “going down there and socializing and drinking and then getting into the thermal waters is, again, a response to being in Iceland”. In the land of hot springs, mineral waters and natural fjords, sipping a cocktail while relaxing in a geothermal plunge pool after an invigorating body massage is what we call the perfect night out.