During our recent visit to Iceland, we spent two glorious nights at the Radisson Blu Saga. Warm and comfortable with fantastic service, we felt instantly at home (if our room was freshly renovated and we had people to look after our every need!) We certainly recommend the Radisson Blu Saga – read on to find out why.
The Radisson Blu – An Icelandic Landmark
In a country where myths and stories take pride of place, it seems fitting that our favourite Icelandic hotel, the Radisson Blu Saga comes with its own unique backstory.
Though Reykjavik is a bustling little city now, it wasn’t always that way. When the capital made the decision to ban horses from the main city streets to make room for cars, the local farmers were understandably unimpressed – so much so, that the Icelandic Farmers Association decided to purchase land slightly outside of the city centre on which to build their new base. After all, there’s not much more important to an Icelandic farmer than their prized horses!
By the time the new farmers’ headquarters was built, cars had well and truely infiltrated Iceland’s way of life, to the point that local farmers had been swept up by the automobile themselves. Though their horses were as valued as always, the need for their new HQ to be based outside of the city centre wasn’t as great with cars becoming their preferred means of transport and their offices were eventually renovated and turned into the Radisson Blu.
If you use your imagination, you’ll be able to visualise where the horses would have been housed – breakfast is served in what were originally the stables!
Now however, you’ll only see the well-known Icelandic horses well outside of the city, keeping each other company (whilst often accompanied by a heard of tourists keen to snap a special picture) but the Radisson Blu remains in town as a nod to life gone-by in Iceland.
Pro Tip: Your best chance of spotting the northern lights over Reykjavik are just down the road and when you’re finished up in the cold, you’ll look forward to returning to the comfort of this fantastic hotel.
Around the Hotel
With 236 rooms available, there’s something to suit most budgets and needs. All rooms enjoy views of the city or seashore and include the standard amenities that you would expect from a five-star hotel, along with a level of personal service often reserved for a boutique hotel.
Though the building is getting on in age, the rooms themselves have been very tastefully renovated and there’s no doubt, the hotel has good bones. The stairwells hint at the age of the building but last I checked, that’s not where people spend the majority of their vacation time.
Onsite you’ll find three restaurants and a lounge bar along with a small boutique selling gorgeous locally-made scarves, beanies and souvenirs.
For those that want to be more active, there’s a gym available for your use and a salon should you want to fancy yourself up before a night out on the town.
There is also plenty of complimentary parking on the grounds of the Radisson and all tour operators will happily come out to collect you should you prefer not to drive.
Our Room at the Radisson Blu Saga
From the second we walked into our room (until the moment when we begrudgingly left for the last time) we knew we were onto a winner.
With a massive, beautifully plush bed (literally one of the best we’ve ever slept on), a powerful rain shower and a great selection of supplies (robes, slippers, shower ammenities, tea and coffee making facilities and a chocolate each), we were well catered for in our room.
Though it was dark and cold outside, we’d have never known thanks to powerful heating and adjustable lighting within our room. Whilst snuggled up in our room we enjoyed the TV which included a solid range of international channels and the complimentary Wi-Fi was, as always, well put to use.
At the end of a day of exploration around Reykjavik we really enjoyed coming back to the warmth and comfort of our room – a haven from the weather and darkness outside.
Good Eats in Reykjavik
There are some obvious perks that come with the Radisson Blu’s association to the Icelandic Farmers Association – namely, fantastic food!
Breakfast at Sunnusalur
Often when we reflect back on the quality of a hotel stay, it’s the cooked breakfast that seals the deal for us. Breakfast at home is always a quick affair, focused more on convenience than culinary flair so we always look forward to our first meal of the day when we’re treated to a stand-out one whilst travelling.
The buffet at Sunnusalur (one of the Radisson’s three onsite restaurants) did not disappoint – in fact, it went down as one of the best breakfast buffets we’ve ever enjoyed!
They had a fantastic range of both hot and cold options, with something to please everyone – omelettes, bacon, sausage, skyr (a local favourite), fresh fruit, cereal, cold cuts, cheese, waffles with cream, fresh fruit juice (try the ‘hulk’ with spinach, mango, lemon, ginger and avocado or our favourite, banana and blueberry), there really wasn’t much they didn’t have.
With such a fantastic spread, you’ll be well set up for a busy day exploring Iceland.
Dinner at Grillið
Tucked away on the top floor of the Radisson Blu, you’ll find Grillið, a fine-dining restaurant with an incredible eye for detail. Frequently rated as one of Reykjavik’s best restaurants, they serve only the freshest of local produce and sustainably-sourced ingredients. Grillið take their food incredibly seriously and it shows.
With panoramic views of the city and service as friendly as it is slick, Grillið serves up local specialities, memorable and unique to the area.
A little unsure of what to expect, we tried the four course set menu which sounds relatively simple but in reality, is anything but.
- Herring, eggs and onions
- Liver, goose and bramble berries
- Lamb, celeriac and crowberries
- Chocolate and mandarins
Each dish was beautifully cooked and delicately seasoned, served with wine to compliment the different flavours found within each course.
I’m a chronically fussy eater and must admit that when I first sat down, I had my reservations about just how many of the presented meals I would be able to eat but to say I was pleasantly surprised would be a huge understatement. Not only did I eat every dish but I genuinely enjoyed them all and came away having tried dishes that were as memorable as they were unique to Iceland.
Consider yourself a foodie? Don’t miss Wake Up Reykjavik’s awesome food tour!
Why You Should Consider Staying at the Radisson Blu Saga
We had a fantastic stay at the Radisson Blu Saga and would unreservedly recommend a stay here to visitors to Iceland.
It’s close enough to the city to be convenient (especially if you have a car) but removed from the sometimes confusing one-way streets of the centre of town, plus you’ll save money by being on the outskirts of town. The staff at the Radisson are second-to-none and somehow strike the perfect balance between treating you like family whilst catering to your needs as if you’re royalty – you can’t ask for more than that!
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Thank you to Radisson Blu Saga for hosting us. All thoughts are honest and, as always, our own.