The story of Íslandshótel

1992 - 2022

Íslandshótel story goes back to 1992 when Hotel Reykjavík opened with 30 rooms. 30 years later the hotel chain operated 18 hotels with approx. 2.000 hotel rooms.  


The beginning

The building at Rauðarárstígur 37 in Reykjavík was originally planned as office space but Ólafur Torfason and family made a bold decision to change it into hotel. This vision was remarkable at a time where very few saw an opportunity in the travel industry.  


Holiday Inn acquired

In 1994 Holiday Inn was acquired. A year later the name was changed to Grand Hotel Reykjavík and the hotel opened with 109 rooms.


New conference hall at Grand Hótel Reykjavík

In 1997 Gullteigur opened at Grand Hótel Reykjavík and became the largest conference hall in Iceland. With the ability to host conferences and reception of up to 500 people, this side of the hotel business grew fast.


Hotel Reykjavík Centrum

Hotel Reykjavík Centrum opened that year in downtown Reykjavík. This charming hotel is located on Aðalstræti, one of Reykjavík’s oldest streets, in a renovated building where the oldest part is from 1764.  


Grand Hotel Reykjavík expands

Grand Hotel Reykjavík expanded with two large towers built side by side adding 202 rooms to the hotel operation. The hotel became the largest hotel in Iceland with 311 rooms.  

2008 - 2009

Changes in Fosshotel ownership

At the end of 2008, there was a change in Fosshotel ownership where Ólafur Torfason acquired majority stake in the chain. Fosshotel was established in 1996 and he had acquired 10% share in 1999.

2012 - 2014

Milestone in Íslandshótel history

In 2012, the hotel operation was joined under the Íslandshótel brand. This was a milestone in the company history and set the tone for the future direction. Same year, the first hotel was certified under the Nordic Ecolabel. More hotels opened in the countryside e.g. Fosshotel Eastfjords in Fáskrúðsfjörður which is in the center of the Eastfjords.


Fosshotel Reykjavík

In 2015, Fosshótel Reykjavík opened and became the largest hotel in Iceland with 320 rooms. Haust Restaurant opened on the ground floor known for it's high quality lunch, brunch and dinner buffets. There’s also The Beer Garden which is the meeting place for beer lovers in Reykjavík. Fosshotel Hekla, a charming country hotel an hour drive from Reykjavik, opened as well. 


Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon and more expansion

The hotel portfolio continued to grow. Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon opened, a stunning 4 star hotel between Skaftafell National Park and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Two more Fosshotels opened in West Iceland i.e. in Hellnar and Stykkishólmur. Fosshotel Húsavík expanded and went from 66 rooms to 110 rooms. 


Fosshotel Mývatn

In wonderful surroundings north of Lake Mývatn, Fosshotel Mývatn opened in 2017. That same year, Fosshotel Reykholt in Borgarfjörður was renovated and Fosshotel Núpar in South Iceland expanded. New and renovated venues opened at Grand Hotel Reykjavík.

2018 - 2019

Our Values and Vision

Íslandshótel values and vision were integrated into the leaves of a new logo representing what everyone within the hotel chain stands for.   

Preparations started for expansion at Fosshotel Reykholt and Fosshotel Stykkishólmur.

2020 - 2021


The resilience and hard work by Íslandshótel employees shined through during these unprecedented times. The employees were faced with new challenges almost daily and determined to not give in during these tough times. 


Hotels reopen

In May, all 17 hotels were open which was remarkable achievement and something to be proud of. The 18th hotel opened few months later, Hotel Reykjavík Saga. An elegant 4 star hotel ideally situated at the very heart of the Reykjavik city center.