“Reykjavik is a really cool, young city – perfect for our brand,” says Ian Schrager, the visionary pioneer of the boutique hotel concept, PUBLIC and EDITION creator. “We think this is Reykjavik’s time and we’re right here at the very heart of it and at the perfect time.”
Opening in preview on November 9, 2021, The Reykjavik EDITION will set a new standard as the city’s first truly luxury hotel experience, combining the best of the Icelandic capital with the personal, intimate and individual experience that the EDITION brand is known for. The result is a vibrant and sophisticated urban hub with 253 rooms, an outstanding line-up of bars, signature restaurant and nightclub and, in true EDITION style, the introduction of a new kind of modern social wellness concept. In the land of hot springs, mineral waters and natural fjords, this creative innovation, visceral emotional experience and authenticity of Ian Schrager, together with Marriott International’s long-standing operational expertise and global reach, results in a totally distinct offering that further boosts Reykjavik’s growing allure as a world class international cosmopolitan destination.
Iceland is an aspirational destination for many, in-between North America and Western Europe – increased flight routes, and its otherworldly landscape, drawing visitors from far and wide. The Reykjavik EDITION is the first true luxury brand entering the market which has facilities and services like no other. First appearing on the map when American chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer won the World Chess Championship in Reykjavik in 1972, Schrager, who was following the event at the time, says he was taken aback by the country’s unspoiled, natural beauty. Indeed, marooned in the North Atlantic Ocean, just beneath the Arctic Circle, Iceland is quite literally in the making, its constantly evolving landscape the result of rumbling volcanoes, bubbling hot springs, erupting geysers and shifting tectonic plates. All of this has resulted in a spectacular, mystical medley of bright green moss-carpeted lava fields, soaring glaciers and rugged mountains sliced by deep, river-cut valleys. “In Iceland, you’re getting to see things you won’t see anywhere else,” says Schrager. “More so than any other place in the world, it’s a real opportunity to get in touch with earth and nature and we’re proud to further expand the EDITION brand in an incredible place with an incredibly exciting hotel that gives you a true sense of place.”
Using his Midas touch, Ian Schrager has carefully conceived, concepted and programmed the hotel to create an alchemy and sense of magic exclusive to this hotel. The Reykjavik EDITION designed in partnership with local architecture firm, T.ark and New York-based studio, Roman and Williams with guidance of ISC (Ian Schrager Company) design, subtly captures the spirit of Reykjavik while avoiding the clichés and remaining firmly rooted in the EDITION brand’s strong sense of refined sophistication and style. On a harborside perch, against glorious mountain views, the hotel is in a flawless location at the heart of the city: adjacent to Harpa, the landmark concert hall and conference center – whose multicolored glass façade was designed by the celebrated Icelandic and Danish artist Olafur Eliasson – and just minutes from Laugavegur, the main shopping street in downtown Reykjavik.
From the outside, The Reykjavik EDITION is a striking addition to this downtown neighborhood. Its ebony façade of shou sugi ban timber has been charred to be blacked using an ancient Japanese technique, and blackened steel frames is a clear nod to Iceland’s dramatic lava landscape. The simple, clean-lines of the building itself have been angled to make the most of the views and its lively harborside setting with a double-entrance lobby accessible either from the pedestrian Harpa plaza, or the Harbor. The latter – in a grand sense of arrival similar to The Times Square EDITION – features a canopy, its underside illuminated by 12,210 glass LED nodes.
As with all EDITION hotels, the lobby is a dynamic, social space that subtly reveals a sense of place and sense of time. Here, basalt stone – or volcanic rock – is prominent, appearing on the flooring, which has been laid with an intricate pattern inspired by Icelandic geometry, and a standout sculptural reception desk. In the lobby center piece, the ISC team have added Icelandic lava stone sculptural totem to balance the warm materials such as tactile saddle leather wrapped around concrete columns – and white oak flooring, ceiling beams and slats, which flank the lobby bar. Lobby bar beverage menu focuses on global wines by the glass selection and classic cocktails with an Icelandic twist. The lobby lounge features a central open-flame fireplace which is the hearth of the space, surrounded by seating and a collection of custom-made furniture in intimate seating groups, such as the Jean-Michel Frank-inspired armchair in white shearling and Pierre Jeanneret-inspired chairs in black velvet. As ever, there is a strong emphasis on warm, indirect lighting, which has been thoughtfully considered to create a soft glow and to illuminate fixed furnishings like the bar and the reception desk and Christian Liaigre white bronze floor lamps to create a likeness to a jewelry box installation.
Inside the entrance of the hotel, ISC has collaborated with local artisans to create a totem sculpture of stacked, columnar basalt slate from the south of Iceland. Rising close to four meters high, the sculpture’s inspiration is found in the traditional Cairns that act as landmarks across Iceland’s countryside. Dramatically lit by both electric and candlelight and surrounded by a basalt bench, the totem is layered with lush black sheepskins, black damask and silk pillows, becoming a gathering place to see and be seen at the center of the lobby. Right next to this, inspired by the spectacle of the aurora borealis (Northern Lights), ISC has video mapped the Northern Lights and has created an immersive, three dimensional and atmospheric digital artwork of beautiful green and purple dancing waves. Located in the lobby, it stirs a reaction and emotion, similar to witnessing the natural phenomenon in the Icelandic night sky…but in the comfort, warmth, and intimacy of the lobby and lobby fireplace. We call it Northern Lights on demand.
Accessible from the lobby, the ground floor is also home to Tides, the signature restaurant with private dining room, and café with homemade baked goods, and Tölt, an intimate bar that takes its cues from The London EDITION’s award-winning Punch Room. Tides, which has an outdoor terrace and its own waterfront entrance, is helmed by Gunnar Karl Gíslason – the chef behind Dill, Reykjavik’s much-celebrated New Nordic Michelin-starred restaurant. The rich and sophisticated interiors have been thoughtfully considered for a seamless transition from day to night, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows that, during the day, shed natural light onto fluted concrete columns and oiled ash wood details such as the dramatically lit ceiling panels, various furnishings, and a central hexagonal-shaped bar- over which hangs a custom-made bronze and alabaster chandelier by the renowned French artist, Eric Schmitt. In the mornings, breakfast is a fresh, healthy mix of clean juices, pastries, fruit, cereal and skyr (Icelandic yoghurt) supplemented by an à la carte menu of hot dishes and a selection of open-face sandwiches. For lunch and dinner, Gíslason serves modern Icelandic cuisine, with subtle hints of traditional cooking methods, focused on seasonal local products and the highest quality of global ingredients mainly cooked over an open fire. Alongside an extensive global wine list, expect dishes such as a vertical salad topped with fried oyster mushrooms aged soy sauce and roasted almonds, whole Arctic char stuffed with lemon, dill and garlic butter, baked Atlantic cod, grilled potatoes, mixed herbs and butter and lamb shoulder braised and slowed grilled, pickled onions mint and apples, and for dessert, Tides carrot cake, buttermilk ice-cream, carrot and sea buckthorn jam, with roasted caraway oil. There is also a weekend brunch menu and three nights a week, The Counter, overlooking the theatrical open kitchen, will serve an eight-course tasting menu with wine pairings for up to 10 people. Meanwhile those looking for something more casual can pop into the bakery and café for a coffee and a selection of freshly baked crowberry scones to delicious sourdough or rye bread sandwiches where guests can dine in or take away.
On the opposite side of the lobby, away from prying eyes, Tölt – named after the unique fifth gait Icelandic horses are best known for – is a cozy bar, designed as a hidden sanctuary with three intimate nooks featuring colorful custom rugs with a pattern inspired by traditional Icelandic geometry, teak tambour walls, burnt orange banquettes and pony hair poufs that surround a central fireplace. Outside of the alcoves, the space is cocooned with rich walnut ceiling panels, and flooring, a custom-made walnut chandelier and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of Harpa. Behind the green marble-topped bar are backlit aged bronze shelves suspended from the ceiling, which create a warm glow under which to enjoy a menu of cocktails inspired by Icelandic culture using local Icelandic spirits.
Set to be a destination of its own, The Roof is located on the hotel’s 7th floor and offers panoramic mountain, North Atlantic Ocean and old town vistas. A versatile space that can be divided by a glass door for private events allows it to be the best place from which to enjoy the endless bright summer evenings as well as the magical northern lights in the colder months. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors open onto a large wrap-around seasonal outdoor terrace, scattered with comfortable seating and a large fire pit, while the slick all-black interiors create a discreet background that doesn’t detract from the views. Here, the casual vibe is supplemented by a small menu of comfort foods like grilled flatbreads, toasted sandwiches and fresh salads. From this vantage point, it is evident that Ian Schrager designed the hotel based on the views from the property.
Unfolding over the floors under the rooftop, the hotel’s 253 guestrooms and suites have been designed as warm retreats, each with their beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows that frame various views of the surrounding neighborhood. Some come complete with an outdoor terrace, while all of them are an embodiment of the EDITION brand’s approach to modern luxury with a subtle local flavor. A muted palette of ash wood and pale grey oak serves as a warm foundation for a feature formwork concrete wall, Italian custom-made furniture, copper bed light sconces, faux fur rugs, and artwork and accessories from local craftsmen, such as the colorful bed throw by local wool company, Ístex, ceramics by artist Guðbjörg Káradóttir, and in room art by famous Icelandic artists Pall Stefansson and Ragnar Axelsson showcasing Icelandic landscapes, exclusive to EDITION. Meanwhile, the monochrome bathrooms with custom handmade white ceramic tiles made in Italy, are furnished with a white marble vanity, matte black accessories, and fittings alongside custom Le Labo toiletries of EDITION’s exclusive scent. From its prime corner spot on the 6th floor, the one-bedroom Penthouse Suite – with its own private terrace has magnificent harbor, Harpa and mountain views that are further complemented by bright, light filled elegant interiors of plush custom furnishings in creamy oatmeal tones. The Penthouse Suite is also accessorized with an oversized bathroom with Italian white marble and a central fireplace too.
The Reykjavik EDITION offers modern meeting and event spaces, including flexible studios, a boardroom with natural light, bleach oat-wide plank floorings, and a grand ballroom with pre-function space. The flexible ballroom with floor-to-ceiling glass windows can be divided into two separate spaces, while large glass doors are wide enough to accommodate a car. Within the ballroom is a hanging alabaster chandelier paired with natural felt overwraps draped around the ballroom.
The lower ground floor is home to Sunset, opening later this year, a cool underground night spot with a state-of-the-art sound system and theatrical lighting that illuminates a dark and edgy black concrete interior with a black cast concrete bar. Sunset can be divided into three spaces with access from the hotel and Harpa square. Along with a killer cocktail menu and an ongoing roster of events, the club will play host to some of the world’s top DJs and performers, earmarking it as the latest unmissable destination in Reykjavik’s thriving nightlife scene. There is also a private entrance for those in need of the utmost discretion. “It would have been a dream to have opened Studio 54 here where darkness lasts 6 months rather than the 8 hours as it does in New York City. It would have been the perfect place for it” says Schrager.
Also, on the lower ground floor is a gym, which is kitted out with state-of-the-art black strength training, weight, and cardio equipment, however, it is the social concept at the Spa that is one of the most unique aspects at the hotel and truly sets The Reykjavik EDITION apart. Alongside three treatment rooms, a hammam, steam room, sauna, and plunge pool which offers hydrotherapy, there is also a central lounge with a spa bar, which by day serves a fresh healthy menu of post workout Viking shakes, champagnes and, delicious moss vodka infusions alongside snacks like volcano bread with black lava salt. This is best enjoyed in the Geothermal water splash pool together with the 60-minute Sundown Spa treatment, which includes an invigorating body massage and a cool onyx scalp massage. Located directly opposite Sunset, the Spa is the perfect pre-party pamper space to get you thoroughly prepared for an epic evening of revelry. “A spa and wellness facility with a bar is something we haven’t really seen before,” says Schrager. “But going down there and socializing and drinking and then getting into the thermal waters is, again, a response to being in Iceland. And combining this in a tasteful and elegant way underpins what the EDITION brand is about.”