Trip Report: Amsterdam, Iceland and Munich
Review: Iberia A340-600 Business Class
Review: Kimpton DeWitt Amsterdam
A Brief Tour of Amsterdam
Review: Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Center
Review: Radisson Blu 1919, Reykjavik
Review: Center Hotel Plaza, Reykjavik
A Week in Iceland
Review: aloft Munich
A Brief Tour of Munich
Review: Hilton Munich Airport
For our tour of Iceland the tour company had us staying at the Plaza, one of six hotels in the area owned by CenterHotels. The CenterHotels website says they offer “six first class hotels in the city center of Reykjavik” but then follows it up by mentioning their 3- and 4-star hotels. Well, I’m sorry but a 3-star hotel is not “first class”. I realize that the whole tone of this paragraph makes me sound spoiled and entitled. Several folks on our tour did not seem to have a problem with the hotel. But I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed as this hotel was definitely a step down from any we’ve used in the last several years. Lodging in Iceland is expensive and I guess our tour was so reasonably priced because we were at a second-tier hotel.
That being said, if you’re not as choosy as I am, the hotel has a fantastic location and the price includes breakfast. The staff was great and very international and for the most part very young. They always seemed to be smiling and were quite helpful.
The hotel has two wings and I’m not sure if they’re connected above the ground floor or not. (Our room was on the ground floor so I didn’t spend much time exploring other floors.) I do know each wing had its own elevator. The halls and the rooms both had hardwood floors. I believe my roommate and I actually got a slightly larger room, believe it or not.
The bathroom was on the right when entering the room, with the area for hanging clothes and some shelves on the left. While there were quite a few shelves, which was nice, there was no safe. Fortunately we didn’t have a lot to hang up or a number of extra pairs of shoes to store in that area.
The main part of the room had the beds on the right. The way the duvet was all tucked up so as not to hang over the sides of the beds, it almost looked like prison bedding to me. As usual, there was only the duvet, no top sheet. Fortunately it did drape properly over the bed when unfolded. There was only one night stand and one obvious outlet. The bed on the left did have access to an outlet on the outside wall.
Straight ahead was a window on to the courtyard with a radiator underneath it. While the temperature range wasn’t very large in mid-October (highs in the low 40s F/5-6C, low in the upper 30s F/2-3C) the room was quite warm. We ended up leaving the window very slightly cracked open at night. However we had other members of our tour who said while their room was warm, the bathroom was freezing. They were on a higher floor so I don’t know what might have caused that. In front of the window was a chair with a side table containing coffee items. We rearranged the furniture a bit so I could lay my suitcase down in that corner. We moved the chair in between the beds, which essentially gave me (in the bed on the left) a night stand, since only one was provided.
Across from the beds was the desk which had a cabinet for the mini-fridge, that we did not use. We also left the two bottles of wine alone as I don’t drink, my roommate didn’t want them and we weren’t sure if we’d get charged for them.
The bathroom was quite small. Straight ahead were the toilet and the shower stall which was so small it had a curved door instead of being a full square/rectangle. While there was a strip on the floor to help stop leaks into the center of the room, it could only handle so much and the floor tended to get wet. Just having a permanent lip of tile about an inch high would be a big improvement, as would making sure the hinge area of the shower door has the plastic strips to prevent leakage. You see the one dispenser on the wall? Hold out your hand to receive one product that is intended to act as shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Really? This is why I was quite glad I’d brought over the toiletries from the Radisson Blu 1919. I did like that the shelf was big enough to hold all the items we’d brought with us.
The sink area did not have much place to sit things on the counter so we just each got a glass for our toothbrushes and toothpastes and put all our other toiletries in our kits that we left out on the shelving and only brought in when we needed it. A make-up towel was provided which I guess was a good thing if you’re one who likes to wear a lot of make-up.
When I mentioned ours was a slightly larger room, I did visit a couple of other rooms and the smaller twin rooms were so small that the light switches were stacked on top of one another between the door jamb and the outer bathroom wall in those rooms. In our room the switches were side by side on the outer bathroom wall but in those smaller rooms there was not enough wall space to do that.
There was a seating area near the front desk with a couple of different groupings. I liked that the front door (which was automatic) opened into a little foyer and then you had to take a right turn to enter the lobby. That helped keep the coldest of the air outside. These Icelanders know a thing or two about keeping warm!
To the left of the front desk was a small bar and across from that were some tables and chairs.
Beyond that, heading into the other wing, were a couple of other seating areas. Several nights we sat and talked here, munching snacks we’d bought or enjoying a drink. To the right of the yellow chairs is a ramp that heads down to the conference rooms.
Down in the basement was the breakfast buffet that is included with the room. I didn’t take photos as it was so busy each day. It wasn’t lavish and there were no omlette stations or anything like that but there was cereal and fruit and eggs and plenty of standard European fare breakast. While the buffet is one long bar, there are two lines that come from each end and meet in the middle so if you stay here know that it’s the same food no matter which end you start on. There is a separate station for the beverages.
It’s hard to beat this location. No large vehicles are allowed in the city center so anything bigger than a large van will have to park a few blocks away and you’ll have to walk. This worked fine for the four of us who arrived before the group as the van could just drop us off but the group had to wheel their luggage in from two blocks away, in the rain. But once you’ve settled in you can walk to so many shops and restaurants with ease.
Taking it for what it is, a 3-star hotel, it’s good. We didn’t spend all that much time in our rooms and I think at this point in my travels my expectations are just a bit higher. But this was also less expensive than hotels I typically frequent (on points) so I don’t have a right to complain about what it is not.