Frón is Icelandic for Biscuits, apparently. Surprisingly because someone from there told me it was something to do with rock or stone. Odd. Cute.
As mentioned in previous post, I, initially, wanted to stay at an airbnb apartment, which was located near a lighthouse. The host unfortunately declined due to unavailability on my requested dates. Which was just as well, as I found out during my trip.
I chose this hotel because it was the cheapest option for my 5-day trip. Of course, there were hostels and guesthouses, but I wanted to pick one that served breakfast everyday and located in the center of Reykjavik. And I thought a hotel would be safer for me as a first time solo traveler to Iceland. It also had great reviews (as per Booking.com), though I didn’t realize it was only a 3-star hotel.
My flight from Heathrow arrived in the late afternoon and the sun was just setting. The Flybus bus was ready to depart to its main station in Reykjavik, where we were moved to different vans, categorized by zones, by our hotels. There were two other Asian girls and I, navigating through Laugavegur street, as our driver dropped us about 50m away from the hotel. His accent was super thick when he told us where the hotel was, although he was speaking in English. The two Asian girls and I looked right and left on the main high street when our driver drove past in his van, looking at us while pointing his finger towards our hotel.
The streets were not too busy, and there were ribbons of sunlight across the sky. Dragging my luggage through the cobblestones, I looked at the surrounding buildings, which reminded me of the high street in Canterbury, but the Icelandic walls were covered with interesting top-to-bottom art. I recognized the street immediately as I’ve google-street it before. Opposite the building with black & white art wall was the distinct green teal exteriors, with signboards that said Hotel Frón.
The entrance was a glass door with a wooden frame. Greeted by more wall art and stone tiles, the lobby seemed welcoming and it definitely was warmer than outside. The two girls went to check-in first as I looked for my reservation copy. The lift opposite the reception closed its door, taking the two girls to their room, as the lady behind the counter processed my check-in. She asked me if I was alone to which I said I was, and then she told me, “Okay, good. Your room is 301 on the third floor.”
I pondered on her “okay, good” comment as I exit the lift. I stood outside my room for a moment as it was, directly, next to the stairs. And whoa, was I in for a treat! I entered my room to find that it was NOT a single that I booked for. It was a STUDIO room. Two large singles made into a double, a kitchenette and…no view. Lol. The view was a hallway to another studio room, which was a bummer, but no matter, I had a STUDIO for the next five days!
Of course, being me, I was worried that maybe the hotel mis-booked me and I’d have to pay for the “upgraded” room when I check-out. I thought about this for a few seconds, and brushed it off. Told myself to just go with it and enjoy the huge room for me, myself and I!
Over the next few days, I used the hob twice, once to cook my pre-packed spaghetti carbonara, and once to re-heat the cooked pre-packed spaghetti. Haha. I was thankful for this kitchenette because it saved me two restaurant meals, which would have cost a lot! The kitchenette was complete with a coffeemaker, utensils, pans and pots. I did have dinner at the restaurant that’s attached to the hotel and had their special dinner dish. I can’t remember the name of the dish (silly me) but it was baked fish and it had this delicious sauce and fresh potatoes as sides. Also, had a nice glass of house white wine to go with it. Restaurant ambiance was friendly, warm, and not intimidating – important for a solo diner!
Some mornings I went to have breakfast at 6:30 or 7 because I had a tour bus to catch at 7:30 or 8. It was the same everyday, being continental breakfast – cold meats, bread, cereal, bananas, etc. Yes, I’d have liked some warm cooked food, but I’m thankful for the cold meats to fuel my energy for a day of adventure. Just enough and I didn’t have an upset tummy. Lol.
The surroundings of the hotel were adequate for your needs of shopping, bars, restaurants, and just hanging out. I spent time walking up and down Laugavegur – actually passed a vigil for the Icelandic girl that got killed weeks before my trip. It was a beautiful gesture by the Icelanders; candles lit on the steps of a building where she was last seen on CCTV.
It took me about 10 minutes to walk to Hallgrimskirkja Church from my hotel; up the main street and turned right where I saw the magnificent building. I could imagine it being more beautiful in warmer times.
I think Iceland has put a lot of thought in their tourism industry to be able to arrange all the logistics this way. Your tour company also would arrange pick-ups from your hotel in vans, then transfer you to a bus at their station. They have a long list of hotels, guesthouses and hostels that tour companies can arrange pick-ups for. Very convenient for those who don’t plan to rent a car in Reykjavik.
There’s a grocery store near the hotel, 10-11, but if you walk a little further, Bonus is a cheaper option, apparently. Actually, I didn’t go to any of these, because I had my spaghetti and snacks from a gas stop when I was on tour in Vik.
That Saturday night, I couldn’t sleep well. Maybe it was because of my jet lag, or maybe it was because of the music being played out loud either at the bar next to the hotel or a club somewhere nearby. Icelanders party till 5 in the morning, apparently! I returned from my NL hunt that night at about 10pm and dozed off at 11pm. Got woken up at about 4 in the morning to the bass music. I remember, waking up, smiling about the time I read on this piece of information about weekends in Reykjavik.
Besides that weekend music, the steps of guests walking up and down the stairs, which was next to my room, could be heard almost every night. I could’ve grunted and become bitter about it, but I just accepted it; it wasn’t unbearable.
I had the Parliament live on tv few afternoons when I was in my room, and it was interesting to watch, even though I know nought about Icelandic language. It also took me awhile to get used to the rotten egg smell whenever I showered. The smell doesn’t stay, of course, else that’d be a waste of soaping and shampooing. Lol (oh, I should explain that the smell is of sulphur – Iceland’s hot water is natural, from the ground and direct to the pipes).
I informed the receptionist the night before that I had a 6am flight to London, so had to leave by 4. They booked my Flybus and told me that they served light breakfast by 3am if I needed to have a bite or two. I went to the breakfast room at 3 and found myself alone, besides the male receptionist in the other room. I made myself some tea and a cold sandwich, and admired the array of photos on the wall beside me.
It was almost 4am so I looked outside the hotel and saw no sign of my Flybus van. There were a couple of tour vans that passed, to which the receptionist said, “no, those aren’t yours. It’s okay, just sit down…they will come. Don’t worry” Lol. When my van actually arrived 5 minutes after 4, the man said, “Wow, they’re here, already! They’re early!” He was nice.
Oh, when I checked out, I was praying so hard, quietly, of course. “Ah, yes, 301. Okay, here’s your bill,” said the receptionist. I was SO glad that I was only paying what I initially booked for. What a bargain! A blessing! I never asked why it happened that way; probably because I checked in late in the afternoon so my booked single room was given away or simple unavailable. Or maybe they noticed that my birthday was just the day before. Who knows. I just know that I paid one-third of the actual price. Hehe <3
Oh, there’s actually a cafe that has live music almost every night. It’s literally about 100m or 200m away from the hotel. Unfortunately, I decided to check it out on my last night there, which was also when it decided to be closed. Lol. Ah well. The harbour, where you need to go to for whale-watching, is about 15-20 minutes walk from the hotel.
I would recommend Hotel Frón if you’re looking for a mid-range budget hotel. Their staff is helpful and straightforward; they won’t beat around the bush like being too polite like the English can be, lol. Everything is within distance and Reykjavik is quite easy to walk around in. The hotel is more upper Reykjavik, I would say, as places like the famous fish & chips restaurant, the American Bar or the English Pub (they’re very obvious names, aren’t they? Lol) are down the street, about 10 minutes walk.
If Frón really means biscuits, there was nothing biscuit-y about the hotel. :D