An unapologetic Nordic coolness pervades the atmosphere of the 101 Hotel, Iceland’s first entry into the league of boutique hotels. Owner and designer Ingibjörg S. Pálmadóttir has created a hot spot out of the 1930s office building that was once home to the Icelandic Social Democratic Party. Modern dress-down egalitarianism can be lived out around the communal lounge fireplace, which is set into a naked white wall, its warm light illuminating an already spotlighted tree trunk table, and also reflecting off the metal frames of black leather seats.

Pálmadóttir commissioned exclusive sofas and seating, as well as going for modern classics by Eró Sarrinen and the inevitable Philippe Starck. The cocktail bar is the central gathering point both for guests and locals. The unadorned, masculine space in polished black – even despite an eclectic mix of Chinese lacquered tables, wooden blocks and Edwardian chairs – finds its feminine counterpart in the stark white dimpled mural which runs alongside the glass roof of the restaurant: In which everyone sits pretty on Philippe Starck’s Eros chairs for Kartell.
Monochromatic design and clear lines determine the architectural look and feel of the public areas where changing exhibitions of the hotel’s collection of works by Icelandic artists are
showcased – including Pálmadóttir’s sister, Lilja. Stepping into the guest rooms at least your feet are gently warmed by heated oak floors. Refreshing white Italian bed linen by Quagliotti contrasts with both matte and glossy black furnishings, accentuated by Artemide lamps. Opting for the slightly rustic touch, the open plan design leads straight into the bathroom, where a freestanding bathtub is firmly grounded by metal claw-feet and can be filled to the brim with geothermal water.

Right in the heart of Reykjavik's city centre, this little gem strengthens its connection to the art scene by being just next door to the Icelandic Opera House and nearby Pálmadóttir’s 101 Gallery.