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Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir

Gistihúsið - Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir

A welcoming base from which to explore the villages, coastlines, fjords, waterfalls, and mountains that define east Iceland, Gistihúsið — Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir is a heritage guesthouse that first opened in 1903. Set on the banks of Lagarfljót, the lake most celebrated for its mythical monster known as Lagarfljótsormurinn, you’ll be just a short walk from Egilsstaðir’s shops, restaurants, and cafes. There’s 50 comfortable rooms, all with earthy and muted hues, large windows to allow for plenty of natural daylight, and contemporary wooden furniture. Modern amenities include flatscreen TVs, Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, and minimalist bathrooms with slate tiles, walk-in Italian showers, and toiletries. Some rooms offer views across the lake or the surrounding rolling hills.

Elsewhere, the all-day restaurant serves buffet style breakfasts as well as seasonal, locally-sourced, and farm-fresh Icelandic and international dishes for lunch and dinner. There’s also a light-flooded lobby bar that’s an ideal spot for wine and cocktails, either by the fireplace in winter or outside on the lake-facing terrace in summer. Another highlight is the ground floor Baðhúsið Spa, a peaceful space featuring a geothermal hot tub, cold pool, steam room, sauna, relaxation areas, and treatment menu.

Our rating: Medium

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Rooms

Available in varying categories, the 50 rooms have earthy and muted tones to reflect the surrounding rural landscape. Both the Standard and the more spacious Deluxe rooms feature large windows to allow for plenty of natural daylight, wooden flooring, comfortable beds, seating areas, and tea and coffee-making facilities. There’s also flatscreen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and modern and minimalist bathrooms with slate tiles, walk-in Italian showers, and toiletries. Some rooms offer views across the Lagarfljót lake or the surrounding rolling hills.

Location

You’ll be staying on the banks of Lagarfljót, the lake most celebrated for its mythical monster known as Lagarfljótsormurinn. The hotel is just a short walk from Egilsstaðir’s shops, restaurants, and cafes and within easy reach of mountain roads and fjords to the east and south and scenic driving routes into Iceland’s rugged interior to the west.

Food and drink

Seasonal, locally-sourced, and hearty Icelandic dishes such as farm-fresh lamb and langoustine feature on the menu at Eldhúsið, the hotel’s restaurant that opens daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A children’s menu is also available. The light-flooded lobby bar is a relaxing spot for wine and cocktails, either by the fireplace in winter or on outside on the lake-facing terrace in summer.   

Families

Children are welcome at Gistihúsið — Lake Hotel Egilsstaðir and complimentary cots are provided on request. The children’s menu in the restaurant includes fish, chicken or lamb with potatoes and salad, mini pizzas, hamburgers with French fries and salad, and ice cream.

Facilities and activities

Open daily from 10am to 10pm, the Baðhúsið Spa on the hotel’s ground floor features a geothermal hot tub, cold dipping pool, steam room, sauna, indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, and a massage and treatment menu. Bathrobes and towels are provided. Please note that bookings must be made in advance (discounts are available for hotel guests). 

Our opinion

We love this simple but characterful guesthouse for its desirable location on the banks of the Lagarfljót lake in the east of Iceland. The spa with its sauna, steam room, and geothermal hot tub is a real highlight. 

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