South Iceland is the perfect destination for adventurous travelers, full of natural wonders and dramatic scenery. The region is home to glaciers, mountains, geothermal features, black sand beaches, and plenty of activities. The famous Golden Circle touring route cuts through the Western part of South Iceland, making this region by far the most visited part of Iceland.
The small town of Hveragerdi, located just a half-hour drive from Reykjavik, is nestled in the heart of the Golden Circle and serves as a great base for exploring the region.
Sitting on a geothermal landscape, this town is famous for hot springs and striking scenery. But what many don’t know is that Hveragerdi town plays an important role as an agricultural hub of Iceland. Thanks to the geothermal landscape, greenhouses flourished in this area over the years, allowing farmers to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables.
The humble agricultural beginnings of this town inspired the name and concept behind the newest hotel in Hveragerdi and our home for 3 nights during our time in the region.
Welcome to Grodurhusid, the Greenhouse Hotel, Hveragerdi.
About Greenhouse Hotel, Iceland
The Greenhouse Hotel boasts a great location, it is the first building we see as we pull into the town of Hveragerdi. There is free parking on site, and EV chargers are in the works. The concrete plain exterior offers a stark contrast to the lush interior. Stepping through the front doors of this beautiful hotel feels like we were transported into the tropics.
The contemporary design of the sun-dappled lobby features wicker and bamboo furniture cloaked in a veil of lush greenery. Potted palms and green vines on the ceiling fill the room with a tropical feel, and the vibrant and eclectic decor adds to the lively atmosphere. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the surrounding mountains, serving as a reminder of the epic scenery at our doorstep.
The hotel opened in the Fall of 2021 and is a relatively new fixture of Hveragerdi, but it is already making waves with its international guests, and locals from Reykjavik and beyond. The Greenhouse has a vibe, and it’s contagious!
Sustainability at Greenhouse Hotel Iceland
Nothing gives us more joy than checking into a cool hotel with a long list of sustainability initiatives, and the Greenhouse offers precisely that.
The hotel is in the process of earning certification with BREEAM, the world’s leading sustainability assessment, but it does so much more than check the right environmental impact boxes.
From recycled furniture, locally sourced supplies, and building materials, to intimate relationships with the local community and tour operators, and carefully selected sustainable retailer partners and food court tenants, it’s obvious – the team at The Greenhouse are on a mission to do good. We give a nod of approval as we check in with the 24-hour front desk staff.
Rooms at the Greenhouse Hotel Iceland
Our room, one of the 50 hip rooms at the hotel, matches the hotel’s unique design with live plants and natural wooden accents. The bed is comfy, and the spacious bathroom has a hair dryer and a number of eco-friendly touches like premium refillable toiletries and a box of for sale plastic-free amenities, including a wooden toothbrush, a period cup, and toothpaste tabs.
Other room amenities include blackout curtains, a coffee/tea maker, flat screen tv with streaming services, a nice bench sitting area, a luggage storage stand, and a mini-bar/mini-fridge. It’s functional and cozy, with everything you need for a comfortable stay. Our window looks out on the town, but other rooms feature views of the surrounding mountains and gardens.
The Greenhouse caters to all travelers, with a Family Room with a double bed and bunk beds and Suites also available. Twin room options for those traveling with friends are also available. The suites on the top floor offer the best views and have a double bed, a separate living area with a couch that can sleep 2 children, and a private outdoor area.
Facilities at The Greenhouse Hotel
There is a lot going on at the Greenhouse outside of our room. The property amenities can be found in the lobby. It houses several carefully selected retailers, including a farmer’s market that features small-scale local producers and clothing stores specializing in high-quality Icelandic wool, art, and souvenirs.
There is a coffee shop and even an ice cream parlor, Bongos, with vegan and sugar-free options, hot chocolate, cannoli, and special flavours of the month. A unique addition to a hotel lobby, but as it turns out, a must, Because believe it or not, ice cream is a big deal in Iceland.
The Food Hall at Greenhouse Hotel, Iceland
The food options at the food hall at The Greenhouse Hotel are plentiful. The hall features contemporary art and design with funky lighting and decor, making it a hip spot to hang out. It buzzes with activity every night of our stay.
The food hall houses 5 market-style restaurants and a bar with cafeteria-style seating. Perfect spot to grab a bite to eat or catch up with friends over a pint of local craft beer.
The food is diverse and so good! There is plenty to choose from, even for vegans or vegetarians.
- Taco Vagninn literally means taco wagon. It is a cute food truck permanently parked at the food hall. Their menu features tacos and nachos with pork, beef, cauliflower, or turkey.
- Hipstur restaurant specializes in simple Icelandic dishes featuring fresh local ingredients. The menu features specialty toasts topped with fresh greens, either shrimp, ribeye, or fried mushrooms. Local fish soup and classic fish and chips are the stars of the menu.
- Punk Fried Chicken restaurant specializes in fried chicken sandwiches, wings, and wraps. There is also a grilled chicken option on the menu, along with salad, and falafel wrap.
- Yuzu is a burger joint, offering classic beef, portobello, vegan, and buffalo chicken burgers.
- Wok On specializes in Asian dishes cooked right in front of you. Their pad Thai noodles and rice bowls taste as good as they look.
- Colonial Bar on the far end of the Food Hall has a tropical vibe and offers a variety of fun cocktails, including the Hemingway Daiquiri, and Old Cuban cocktail.
Our favourite part of the Food Hall is that we don’t have to agree on a restaurant. Max gets nachos, and I indulge in some fish and chips. The following day, we both decide to go Asian and agree that the flavours are unexpectedly good.
The hall gets busy on Friday and Saturday nights with a hip local crowd from Reykjavik. When we are too tired after a long day of activities, we escape to the balcony that overlooks the food hall, enjoying our meals in a quieter spot.
Activities at Greenhouse Hotel Iceland
Our days at The Greenhouse are filled with adventures. The hotel has done an amazing job at partnering with pre-vetted local tour operators that provide tours of the surrounding area.
There is everything from ATV tours, hot spring tours, glacier hikes, and snowmobiling to Northern Lights tours and a Viking feast at the nearby Ingolfsskali restaurant.
Black Beach ATV
There is no shortage of black beaches in the South of Iceland, but there are only a few you can explore on an ATV. And Black Beach ATV Tours take us to do precisely that. The black space suits make us feel badass and add an extra level of oomph to the ride. Max drives as we explore the unique lava landscape of the area, and I take the wheel when we get to the beach. It’s a wide open space that gives me plenty of confidence to indulge in some serious ATV fun.
Buggy Ride to Hot Springs
Do we really need to zip around the area in another adventure vehicle, we ask? But the answer is obvious as soon as we hop inside. This buggy is made for off-roading, and it takes us to an area that can only be explored in a serious 4×4. We splash our way through rivers, bounce uncontrollably as we pick up speed over the bumpy gravel roads, and eventually reach the start of a hike to the hot springs.
By the time we reach the springs, we are sweating in our protective suits, so an invitation to jump in is a welcome reprieve. The air is cool as we climb over the rocks to get into the natural hot springs. The water immediately relaxes our muscles. The hot springs are free, and despite being quite busy, a stay there feels very indulgent.
We are not very excited about horseback riding, having done it many times in various parts of the world. But the lava rock scenery takes us aback. It’s a cool region to explore. The biggest surprise of our Solhestar Horseback Riding Tour is the horses themselves. They are unique, somehow more beautiful, and majestic here in Iceland. Their main is thick and long. They add a sophisticated elegance to this otherwise rugged environment. Their unique Icelandic stride, a pace between a walk and a trot, feels more comfortable and allows us to focus more on the surroundings than the ride itself.
Viking Feast at Ingolfsskali
Our adventures in the area end with a fabulous meal at Ingolfsskali, a Viking-themed restaurant with everything from decor to dishes that are paying tribute to the old Viking ways. The all-wood dining hall is infused with candlelight, and the walls – decorated with animal skins and shields. Drinks are served in horn-style glasses, and meals are eaten with rugged metal cutlery.
The menu is unique, featuring items like horse tartar and fermented shark. Locals admit that it’s not the kind of food they would typically eat at home. But, we don’t shy away from experience and treat it as a window into another era – a cultural journey.
Our 3-day stay at the Greenhouse is filled with good food, good fun, and great adventures. When we are not busy taking part in adventure activities organized by the hotel, we take day trips to the nearby Geysir and Gulfoss Waterfall, visit the nearby Geothermal Plant, and check out the other parts of Rejkjadalur Valley, covering the majority of the attractions along the Golden Circle.
The highlight of the visit does not arrive until our last night at the Greenhouse. Shortly after dinner, the commotion in the hallway makes us peek our heads out of our room.
“The Northern Lights are out,” yelps a passerby en route to the rooftop. We throw on our coats, grab our cameras, and head outside. A small crowd has gathered on the rooftop, cameras snapping away at the seemingly dark sky. Our eyes take a few minutes to adjust, and there they are… vibrant green swirls dancing across the sky. It’s the middle of September, and the Northern Light forecast shows the likelihood of lights as low. Yet here they are in all of their glory.
The show goes on for hours… and we agree, if these 3 days at the Greenhouse Hotel were the only days we spent in Iceland, we would be completely satisfied.
But the beauty is… our stay at this great hotel is just the beginning!