Located just an hour from Reykjavik, outside the town of Selfoss, Hotel Vatnsholt is a cozy country hotel that makes a great base for exploring Iceland’s south coast. The hotel, which is comprised of a collection of buildings that were once part of a working farm and have since been renovated, sits on 230 acres of beautiful farmland.
Altogether, the hotel offers accommodation for up to 77 guests in 34 cozy rooms, some with private bathrooms and some with shared facilities. The rooms are scattered throughout several buildings, so if you’re traveling with a group it’s easy to “take over” one building so that everyone is together and has shared space for socializing. There are also a few small cabins for couples who want more privacy.
All rooms have hairdryer, high-speed wi-fi internet, and access to the hotel’s main restaurant and bar and outdoor play area for kids.
I was traveling with my family (my mom, sister, niece, and my husband) so we were placed in the White House, Vantsholt’s 1930 farmhouse, which has been fully updated and modernized. The house is divided into two sides, and our family had the run of one “wing” with three bedrooms, one bathroom, a large living area and deck, and a fully-stocked kitchen with dining area. There was an additional bathroom in the entry of the house, just outside the door to our half of the building.
Each of the bedrooms had twin beds (which could be pushed together to form a queen) but were otherwise sparsely furnished, with two side tables and a dresser, and several hangers hanging from a hook on the wall. Each bed had a warm, plush comforter, one standard pillow, and one decorative square pillow. All three bedrooms had wall heaters that kept the room toasty during our off-season visit and blackout shades that would keep out the sun during Iceland’s long summers. While they weren’t ultra-modern or super luxurious, they were warm and inviting, and more than comfortable.
In the common living room, two soft leather couches and two easy chairs flanked a coffee table. With hardwood floors, wood-paneled walls, and a large picture window that overlooked a horse pasture, it was cozy and welcoming with a traditional farmhouse feel. A small door opened on to a wood deck that would have been lovely for lounging in nicer weather.
In the kitchen, we found almost everything we needed to prepare a few simple meals, plus seating for up to six at the dining table. There was a large fridge, oven with stovetop, coffee maker, toaster, and dishwasher, plus plenty of plates, glasses, and silverware, and some basic pots, pans, and utensils.
Outside of our small “home,” there were several other buildings, including the main building which housed reception, a small bar, a cozy communal area, and a restaurant where guests could enjoy breakfast or dinner.
My family loved staying on the Vatnsholt farm, watching sheep run through the grass, petting the horses that grazed in the adjacent field, and having our own cozy little farmhouse in south Iceland. The best part was that we were so close to many of the country’s best attractions, including the Golden Circle and south coast attractions like Seljalandsfoss and the town of Vik. We also got a great taste of Icelandic country life just an hour from Reykjavik.
If you go: Room rates start at around $100 (11,000 ISK) for a single room with shared bath. A double room with private bath is around $140 per night in off season and around $200 in high season. A family room starts at around $230 per night. Book directly online with the hotel or compare rates on Hotels.com or Travelocity.