This is the fifth in a series of posts covering my June/July 2018 trip to Iceland. You can read an overview of the trip here.
For my last night in Reykjavik, after exploring the South Coast and Golden Circle, I used 44,000 Radisson Rewards points to stay at the Radisson Blu Saga Hotel. Reader, it was pretty bad – indeed the front runner for worst hotel of 2018! The hotel is a construction site, probably for the first time since 1985, so maybe it will be better in the near future (though the issues were just as service-based as physical), but I don’t understand why a hotel in a place like Reykjavik wouldn’t endeavor to have renovations done *before* the peak season. I would’ve been better off staying at a more centrally located local property. I cannot imagine paying the cash rate of more than $300 for this dreck. It reminds me that Radisson Blu properties in Nordic countries are particularly hit-or-miss, ironic that the Radisson SAS brand has such a rich history there. I hadn’t been super-impressed with the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Oslo, but this was far worse, perhaps even worse than the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen. (Properties in Helsinki and Turku were pretty good.)
First, the location. For my purposes of one night, it wasn’t terrible, but if you plan on doing sightseeing without a car – no. It’s in an industrial area, about a 15-minute walk to the nearest area of interest, It’s quite difficult to find the entrance, as what seems like it was the main entrance looks like an abandoned construction site from 15 years ago. Most of the lobby is closed off, so there’s just two check-in counters and some old chairs.
At check-in, there was no mention of status, and I was sent up to my room, walking through hallways out of the Shining, with severely water-stained carpets. As for the room, well, I can say it was big? It was actually one of the worst rooms in the category, as most rooms faced the world, but mine, due to layout, was one of the few that faced another part of the hotel – namely, one of the corridors. So everyone walking in that hallway could see right into my room.
The décor reminded me of Catskills hotels I would stay it with my family in the mid-1980s. There were two burnt orange armchairs, and some old-fashioned, beat-up built-ins, that had things like a built-in steamer, and a spot for a small television and an empty minifridge. There was a hot water kettle and some Nescafe packets and tea. There’s a desk, but you can’t actually sit at the desk unless you rearrange the furniture, as the armchairs block the desk chair. The bed was super soft, and of course there were no accessible outlets anywhere near the bed – and not even an alarm clock provided so no way of knowing the time from bed. The sheets were actually ripped.
The bathroom was equally dated with thin, rough towels.
Because of construction, the gym is only accessible from a different set of elevators – not the same elevators that go to the lobby. So I went down that elevator, only to find this sign on the door of the gym.
Seriously? Why wouldn’t this be mentioned at check in or in the in-room guide? And how hard is it to code all guests keys — especially since it’s not easy to get from the gym to the front desk. I had to ride from floor 0 back up to 5, then cross the hotel, and ride back down. Ridiculous.
Well, maybe the gym is great, you think. Nope. Barer than your standard Holiday Inn Express fitness room. A few cardio machines and some handweights and massive empty space. No towels. A water fountain but no cups. No hotel wifi, though two gigantic televisions blasting that guests can’t control – either channel or volume. (I tried. You need a password.) So that workout didn’t last very long.
About three hours after I checked in, a welcome gift of three cellophane-wrapped petit fours and a bottle of water were delivered to my room – the extent of my Gold Elite benefits.
At check out, no one asked about my stay. Naturally. I understand construction happens, but this hotel was in such bad shape that it should have been shut down, or severely discounted.