Hótel Búðir: A romantic winter getaway in West Iceland

Men, I hope you have a pen at hand because I’m basically about to tell you how to  sweep your special someone off their feet with the perfect weekend getaway. Nested under Iceland’s most mystical glacier where anything can happen and surrounded with beautiful beaches that almost seem designed for walking hand in hand into the sunset you can’t go wrong with Hótel Búðir.

Hótel Búðir in Snæfellsnes West Iceland

Hótel Búðir in Snæfellsnes West Iceland

But first things first, isn’t Iceland too far away for a weekend getaway?

Iceland is closer than you think

If you haven’t been to Iceland yet you might not know that it’s pretty easy to get to. From London and Copenhagen it’s about a 3 hour flight and from east coast USA (New York and Boston) it’s only 5 hours. The best thing about Iceland as a weekend destination is the very convenient size of Keflavík Airport (meaning that it’s so small that once you land you get out of there in a jiffy) and the amazing natural wonders within a three to four hour radius around the airport. In fact it doesn’t really matter which direction you go, it’s all pretty spectacular.

There are two Icelandic airlines flying to Iceland, Icelandair and Wow Air, and then Easy Jet, SAS and Norwegian all offer flights to Iceland year round. The brilliant part about traveling to Iceland on the off-season is the fact that everything is quite a bit more economical.

Snæfellsnes is also closer than you think

Snæfellsnes in West Iceland  is one of those sometimes overlooked gems of Iceland, especially in winter. I sometimes hear that people think Hótel Búðir is too far away (far away from what is all I want to know) but from Keflavík Airport, driving straight without stops, you can be at Hótel Búðir in about three hours. But you don’t have to drive like a horse with blinders to get there because there’s plenty to see and do on the way.

Eldborg crater in Snæfellsnes - you can hike up there from the farm Snorrastaðir

Eldborg crater in Snæfellsnes – you can hike up there from the farm Snorrastaðir

Gerðuberg Basalt Columns in Snæfellsnes

Gerðuberg Basalt Columns in Snæfellsnes

Just to give you an idea of the size of those things, that little dot in the middle is the boyfriend

Just to give you an idea of the size of those things, that little dot in the middle is the boyfriend

A friendly Icelandic horse we met on our travels around Snæfellsnes

A friendly Icelandic horse we met on our travels around Snæfellsnes

Hótel Búðir

People have been raving on about Hótel Búðir to me for years but despite having visited Snæfellsnes quite a few times I only just visited the hotel for the first time this summer. Walking into the hotel the feeling I got was both that I was walking into a upscale hotel, with expensive art and fancy furniture in every corner, but also that it was like coming into someone’s beautiful home. It’s warm and welcoming and never once did I feel out of place.

One of the seating areas on the second floor

One of the seating areas on the second floor

The view from the bar sitting area is breathtaking

The view from the bar sitting area is breathtaking

Because of those first impressions I naturally jumped at the opportunity to stay there during a little weekend getaway of my own last weekend with my special someone: the boyfriend.

We were greeted by a lovely receptionist that gave us the key to our room. Since our whole trip was organized by my friends at the West Iceland Marketing Office (with our input of course), because I was swamped with work and didn’t have the time to do it myself, we didn’t know what kind of room we were getting. Since we don’t have a bathtub in our house, and I had read that some of the rooms had one, all I was thinking on the way to the room was “please let there be a bathtub, please let there be a bathtub”. To make a long story short there was a bathtub and then some because the hotel manager had given us the suite. With my best Borat impression: Very Nice!

The sleeping area of our suite

The sleeping area of our suite

The sitting area of our suite - there was a TV in both rooms, nice books and a great bathroom with a shower/tub

The sitting area of our suite – there was a TV in both rooms, nice books and a great bathroom with a shower/tub

Not a bad view to wake up to - Snæfellsjökull glacier in the (not so far) distance

Not a bad view to wake up to – Snæfellsjökull glacier in the (not so far) distance

Now, I wouldn’t be true to myself if I wouldn’t tell you that the room was a bit tired and needs a bit of an update (mainly a paint job and some fixes in the bathroom) but none of that made any difference to our experience. It was clean and cozy and we loved having all that extra space. I was sold, really, the moment I lay down in the comfortably warm water in that bathtub after a long day of exploring. And the view, do we need to talk about the view?

The view from the other window in the sleeping area

The view from the other window in the sleeping area

More than just a hotel

What makes Hótel Búðir different from many other hotels I’ve visited are the beautiful surroundings. Because of that, the hotel becomes almost a destination of itself. When we got there we just threw our stuff into the room and then ran out to catch the remainder of the beautiful October afternoon light that cast a magic spell on everything around us. I love this golden light and how it makes every color pop and seem more vibrant somehow. There are a few walking paths around the hotel, each one offering spectacular views, and if we hadn’t been booked for dinner ,and loosing the light, we could have spent a long long time just exploring the area.

Lovely golden sun

Lovely golden sun

Some insanely green moss I stumbled up on

Some insanely green moss I stumbled up on

My special someone

My special someone

Búðir Church

Búðir Church

In the evening we had a great 5 course dinner at the hotel restaurant where the waiters and other staff made us feel extra special with their attentive service and quick wits. We got seafood soup, smoked and cured trout, cured lamb, lamb tenderloin and then brownie and white chocolate mouse for dessert. I tried taking photos of the food but they didn’t do it justice so I’ll make do with saying we were really satisfied. The dining room is beautiful, especially in the dark with the candle light, and the house wine complemented the food perfectly. What I especially enjoyed about the food is the fact that they buy everything they can locally. So the lamb came from the next farm, the fish was caught close by and the herbs are handpicked by the chef who has a real passion for what he’s doing. He also sleeps outside during summer, I’ve been told, so he seems to be a real nature child.

Further exploring in Snæfellsnes

Although you could probably spend the whole weekend lounging around and  taking short walks around the hotel grounds I would encourage you to do some more exploring. Snæfellsnes is a magical places filled with out of this world scenery, sagas and quirky people. You could for example take a short hike to Rauðfeldsgjá, explore the fantastic Vatnshellir Cave, take the beautiful walk from Arnarstapi to Hellnar or try to imagine what it was like to go out to sea from Djúpalónssandur. And that’s just a small part of the things you can do on the south side of the peninsula, you then have the whole other side to explore too.

Snæfellsjökull

Snæfellsjökull

Berserkjahraun Lava field

Berserkjahraun Lava field

Djúpalónssandur

Djúpalónssandur

I will tell you more about these places in later posts but you should find all the information you need for your travels around Snæfellsnes on west.is

The verdict

Although Hótel Búðir is by no means the cheapest hotel in Iceland it’s beautiful and has managed to steal the hearts of many guests that have stayed there. People have recommended it to me more times than I can count and I can certainly see why. It was also interesting to see how many Icelanders were at the hotel which suggest to me that there’s more to it than just a tourist brochure hype.  The winter is the perfect time to visit too because it’s not as busy, the rates are lower and it’s a perfect spot to see the Northern Lights when they are out.

The beautiful surroundings have inspired many proposals that have been met with positive responds (not to mention that it’s a popular place to get married) so if you are thinking about popping the question, this might be exactly what you are looking for. Or, if you just want to spend some quality time with your special someone, away from the bustling city life, it’s great for that too. Just ask the boyfriend.

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9 thoughts on “Hótel Búðir: A romantic winter getaway in West Iceland”

  1. Mark says:

    Þetta er góð grein um stað sem við elskum. Oft höfum við dvalið í herbergi 11 og fannst okkur það frábært. Siðasta sinn var maturinn ekki svo góður en í fyrr, svo gott að heyra að hann er betri aftur. Við ætlum að heimsækja aftur í apríl.

  2. Heather says:

    G’day It seems to me, like you ‘both left that place, with smiles on your faces. Thank you for sharing 😉

  3. Jack says:

    outstanding reporting, you should be working for the icelandic government in the travel bureau

  4. Gilad says:

    Pleasure to read, like every post on this blog. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Corey says:

    Most beautiful place in the world! My wife and I were married just outside and had a lovely stay at the hotel with excellent meals downstairs.

    Here are some photos of the event taken by our buddy Lárus:
    http://thenotebookproposal.com/wedding-gallery/

  6. Turkkan says:

    Thank you for sharing your gorgeous city and country. I dream of Iceland 🙂

  7. Jaclyn says:

    Hi there! My husband and I are coming to Iceland from California for the first time next month and we can’t wait – it’s been at the top of our travel wish list for years! A local friend who has traveled to Iceland many times recommended that we spend a day driving from Reykjavik to Snæfellsnes, and stop at Hótel Búðir for lunch and to see the church. I know weather and road conditions are unpredictable at best (and that you don’t have a crystal ball), but do you think there’s a good chance that the drive will be possible in late February? You mention this is a nice trip for winter, so I’d imagine so, but just thought I’d check because we don’t have a backup plan yet!

    By the way I just love your blog, it’s helped me a lot in planning and your photography is amazing!

    1. mm Auður says:

      Under normal circumstances you should be fine driving up there. They’ve been unusually unlucky with weather in Snæfellsnes last few weeks but hopefully that’s over and done with 🙂 Just make sure you check the weather on vedur.is and road conditions on road.is before you head out.

      1. Jaclyn says:

        Great, thank you!!!

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