In Reykjavik, Iceland, 7 historic buildings are renovated and repurposed as one new hotel

Sandhotel is a new hotel which has opened on Reykjavik, Iceland´s high street, Laugavegur, just a few blocks from the historic waterfront. Housed in a collection of seven refurbished historic buildings, Sandhotel currently offers 53 rooms and will add another 26 before the spring of 2018.

Historic photo of the Sandholt Bakery

The central location gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the vibrant cultural life of heritage-rich downtown Reykjavík. Nestled among the buildings is a new public square where people can enjoy snacks from the famous Sandholt Bakery next door.

The Sandholt Bakery is run by the 5th generation of Sandholts. A new restaurant, Lauf, also opens at the hotel offering organic food.

The buildings have been refurbished in the local traditional style, and have a long history. One of them houses the 100-year-old Verslun Guðsteinn menswear shop. Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness was born in one of the buildings 1902.

During the renovation, the entire project never lost sight of the rich inheritance of its historic buildings. These buildings were renovated in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland and steps were taken to protect not just its buildings but also a 109-year-old Swedish Whitebeam (sorbus intermedia) tree that stands proudly in the hotel´s garden.

Rannveig Eir Einarsdóttir is the owner of Sandhotel. The design team was led by architect Sigurður Hallgrímsson, and included Guðbjörg Magnúsdóttir and Ragna Sif Þórsdóttir. Their goal was to merge the rich history with modern comfort.

The rooms have an Art Deco quality with respect for the history of its surroundings mixed with classical design and original contemporary artwork making each room individual.

The rooms vary in size and shape due to their history but they all have solid wood flooring, floor to ceiling marble or granite in the bathrooms, Egyptian cotton linens from Italy and imported furniture from Restoration Hardware in the USA. Each room is decorated with contemporary art and handmade repurposed pillows created by the seamstress at Guðsteinn men´s wear shop.

Original Icelandic art is a recurring theme throughout the hotel and it includes a statue by renowned artist Sigurður Guðmundsson in the square and watercolour paintings by Ragnar Kjartansson and Egill Sæbjörnsson among others.

Egill was guest artist at Biennale in Venice 2017, is presently creating an outdoor artwork that will be placed in the new garden at Grettisgata upon its completion.

See the Sandhotel website.

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