New Iceland inn: Hospitality 101


NEW YORK -- The 101 Hotel, a boutique property set to debut in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland, in July, promises to bring urban sophistication and service standards to the country's tiny -- but notoriously trendy and pricey -- capital.

As in much of Scandinavia, hotel service and amenities in Reykjavik often do not keep pace with relatively high rates, but the 101 -- a Design Hotels group affiliate -- aims to stand out from the Nordic crowd, said director and general manager Thorvaldur Skulason.

"Certainly when it comes to accommodations in Reykjavik, there's little price difference between staying at a supposedly three- or four-star hotel and a guesthouse," he said.

"But I think you'll see in the 101 a great departure from the hotel culture here," Skulason added. "Even on the wider Scandinavian market, we will be pretty new and unique."

With nightly rates ranging from $180 to $400 depending on season, the 33 rooms and five suites at the 101 will feature amenities such as CD players, satellite television, disposable cameras, umbrellas, private libraries and branded T-shirts and caps.

The hotel, housed in the former 1935 headquarters of a local political party, also will boast a bar lounge, business center, a 15-person meetings room, a spa, a gym and a restaurant serving an Icelandic-Continental fusion cuisine. For all the frills, the 101 will stick to one Scandinavian staple: a casual atmosphere.

"The 101 Hotel is supposed to be a relaxed place, but in terms of amenities and services, you'll see a difference qualitywise," said Skulason. "We'll offer first-class service in somewhat stylish surroundings that are not too imposing."

Skulason cited business travelers, small incentive groups and sophisticated vacationers as ideal target markets.

Named for the city's oldest postal code and decorated by interior designer Ingibjorg Palmadottir, the 101 is located in downtown Reykjavik at Hverfisgata 10, next to the Icelandic Opera House and a few steps from Laugavegur, the city's main shopping and dining thoroughfare.

"I think we're part of the 'Scandinavian design' trend. ... We're obviously tagging along on that aspect," said Skulason. "There's a greater awareness in the U.S. of Iceland as a trendy destination; or at least I don't think Americans are asking anymore if we have cars up here."

The 101 Hotel will pay travel agents between 9% and 10% commission and appears to already be attracting interest from the trade.

"We've already gotten requests from travel agents whose clients have heard of the hotel and want rate information," said Skulason, who began taking reservations for middle July in late May.

For information on the 101 Hotel, call (011) 354 580-0101 or visit or on line.

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