Men, I hope you have a pen at hand because I’m basically about to tell you how to sweep your special someone off their feet with the perfect weekend getaway. Nested under Iceland’s most mystical glacier where anything can happen and surrounded with beautiful beaches that almost seem designed for walking hand in hand into the sunset you can’t go wrong with Hótel Búðir.
But first things first, isn’t Iceland too far away for a weekend getaway?
Iceland is closer than you think
If you haven’t been to Iceland yet you might not know that it’s pretty easy to get to. From London and Copenhagen it’s about a 3 hour flight and from east coast USA (New York and Boston) it’s only 5 hours. The best thing about Iceland as a weekend destination is the very convenient size of Keflavík Airport (meaning that it’s so small that once you land you get out of there in a jiffy) and the amazing natural wonders within a three to four hour radius around the airport. In fact it doesn’t really matter which direction you go, it’s all pretty spectacular.
There are two Icelandic airlines flying to Iceland, Icelandair and Wow Air, and then Easy Jet, SAS and Norwegian all offer flights to Iceland year round. The brilliant part about traveling to Iceland on the off-season is the fact that everything is quite a bit more economical.
Snæfellsnes is also closer than you think
Snæfellsnes in West Iceland is one of those sometimes overlooked gems of Iceland, especially in winter. I sometimes hear that people think Hótel Búðir is too far away (far away from what is all I want to know) but from Keflavík Airport, driving straight without stops, you can be at Hótel Búðir in about three hours. But you don’t have to drive like a horse with blinders to get there because there’s plenty to see and do on the way.
People have been raving on about Hótel Búðir to me for years but despite having visited Snæfellsnes quite a few times I only just visited the hotel for the first time this summer. Walking into the hotel the feeling I got was both that I was walking into a upscale hotel, with expensive art and fancy furniture in every corner, but also that it was like coming into someone’s beautiful home. It’s warm and welcoming and never once did I feel out of place.
Because of those first impressions I naturally jumped at the opportunity to stay there during a little weekend getaway of my own last weekend with my special someone: the boyfriend.
We were greeted by a lovely receptionist that gave us the key to our room. Since our whole trip was organized by my friends at the West Iceland Marketing Office (with our input of course), because I was swamped with work and didn’t have the time to do it myself, we didn’t know what kind of room we were getting. Since we don’t have a bathtub in our house, and I had read that some of the rooms had one, all I was thinking on the way to the room was “please let there be a bathtub, please let there be a bathtub”. To make a long story short there was a bathtub and then some because the hotel manager had given us the suite. With my best Borat impression: Very Nice!
Now, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I wouldn’t tell you that the room was a bit tired and needs a bit of an update (mainly a paint job and some fixes in the bathroom) but none of that made any difference to our experience. It was clean and cozy and we loved having all that extra space. I was sold, really, the moment I lay down in the comfortably warm water in that bathtub after a long day of exploring. And the view, do we need to talk about the view?
More than just a hotel
What makes Hótel Búðir different from many other hotels I’ve visited are the beautiful surroundings. Because of that, the hotel becomes almost a destination of itself. When we got there we just threw our stuff into the room and then ran out to catch the remainder of the beautiful October afternoon light that cast a magic spell on everything around us. I love this golden light and how it makes every color pop and seem more vibrant somehow. There are a few walking paths around the hotel, each one offering spectacular views, and if we hadn’t been booked for dinner ,and loosing the light, we could have spent a long long time just exploring the area.
In the evening we had a great 5 course dinner at the hotel restaurant where the waiters and other staff made us feel extra special with their attentive service and quick wits. We got seafood soup, smoked and cured trout, cured lamb, lamb tenderloin and then brownie and white chocolate mouse for dessert. I tried taking photos of the food but they didn’t do it justice so I’ll make do with saying we were really satisfied. The dining room is beautiful, especially in the dark with the candle light, and the house wine complemented the food perfectly. What I especially enjoyed about the food is the fact that they buy everything they can locally. So the lamb came from the next farm, the fish was caught close by and the herbs are handpicked by the chef who has a real passion for what he’s doing. He also sleeps outside during summer, I’ve been told, so he seems to be a real nature child.
Further exploring in Snæfellsnes
Although you could probably spend the whole weekend lounging around and taking short walks around the hotel grounds I would encourage you to do some more exploring. Snæfellsnes is a magical places filled with out of this world scenery, sagas and quirky people. You could for example take a short hike to Rauðfeldsgjá, explore the fantastic Vatnshellir Cave, take the beautiful walk from Arnarstapi to Hellnar or try to imagine what it was like to go out to sea from Djúpalónssandur. And that’s just a small part of the things you can do on the south side of the peninsula, you then have the whole other side to explore too.
I will tell you more about these places in later posts but you should find all the information you need for your travels around Snæfellsnes on west.is
Although Hótel Búðir is by no means the cheapest hotel in Iceland it’s beautiful and has managed to steal the hearts of many guests that have stayed there. People have recommended it to me more times than I can count and I can certainly see why. It was also interesting to see how many Icelanders were at the hotel which suggest to me that there’s more to it than just a tourist brochure hype. The winter is the perfect time to visit too because it’s not as busy, the rates are lower and it’s a perfect spot to see the Northern Lights when they are out.
The beautiful surroundings have inspired many proposals that have been met with positive responds (not to mention that it’s a popular place to get married) so if you are thinking about popping the question, this might be exactly what you are looking for. Or, if you just want to spend some quality time with your special someone, away from the bustling city life, it’s great for that too. Just ask the boyfriend.