Brooklyn... in Iceland? From cozy coffee shops and cool boutiques to Guns N' Roses concerts, FEMAIL reveals Reykjavik's unexpected hipster highlights
I’m a Brooklyn girl so I’m no stranger to curated neighborhoods. Mine has been recreating itself for years, but on a recent trip to Reykjavík, I never imagined I’d feel so at home just outside the Arctic Circle.
Iceland is a Nordic island country known for its hot springs, glacial rivers and northern lights as much as it is for its remote location.
Yet as isolated as this part of Europe may be, I discovered it had an uncanny familiarity. From the cozy coffee shops and bars to vegan spots, food trucks and thrift stores, I felt as if I was in the next Williamsburg.
Wall murals and other personal creative touches decorated restaurants and shops throughout the city. Pandora added her own flair in a custom jacket by The Mighty Company
I stayed at the newly opened Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, the first property in Iceland for the company.
The location was once a department store, and everywhere you look, there are nods to its heritage, and its founder, Consul Thomsen.
Before the mall, there were iconic department stores, and the Hilton has breathed new life into this historic icon.
The spacious lobby has an artfully weathered hipster-chic vibe designed for lounging and lingering.
From the eclectic-meets-industrial styling and curios of vintage haberdashery and millinery to black and white photographs, original tile floors, low-slung couches and a palette of jewel tones and rustic textures, it is a fashionable and inviting space.
Check in, then hit the hotel bar for craft cocktails. My favorite was a concoction called the Barcelona (Hendrick’s gin, cucumber puree, lime, simple syrup and elderflower garnished with a pretty pink flower.)
Gott Reykjavík is the hotel restaurant serving a menu of light fusion food, seafood and veg options.
Iceland has turned out some stellar musical talents. Who hasn’t heard of Bjork, or Sigur Ros?
Still, I behaved like a groupie when I heard Guns N’ Roses had stayed at the Konsulat Hotel just days before my arrival, during their 'Not In This Lifetime' tour.
They were in Reykjavík to play the largest concert ever held in Iceland. Bigger even than the Secret Solstice event, which takes place in June when there are 96 consecutive hours of daylight on the island.
Reykjavík streets are easy to get around on foot, or on a bright orange hotel bicycle provided by the Canopy Hilton, where I met up with my travel group for dinner at the chic Geiri Smart Restaurant.
Downtown is rich with culture and history, and there’s great shopping on Laugavegur Street. The Harbour, geothermic pools, volcanoes, lagoons, caves, waterfalls and museums are all within strolling distance, too.
Geiri Smart Restaurant reminded me of Bushwick, with local artwork and neon signs lining the walls and a super hip and attractive bar crowd.
The open kitchen let us get a peek at the award-winning hipster chefs as they prepared our incredible meal. Be sure to save room for dessert. The bourbon chocolate mousse topped with popcorn ice cream, caramel and peanuts is delish!
The lobby has a communal, artsy vibe and a coffee shop with cubbies full of vinyl records for sale, and the lounge bar offers evening tastings for hotel guests.
Reykjavík is expanding at warp speed, and coupled with the arrival of chic lifestyle hotels like the Hilton, tourism is helping Iceland rebound after the economic crash of 2008.
Not to mention Hollywood films like Star Wars and television series Game of Thrones using the landscape, all contributing to over 2 million visitors coming to the island in 2017.
It's time to start planing your next vacation!
Reykjavík street style is a real mash up of influences reflecting the island’s Nordic heritage, youth culture and location.
With less than 300,000 people living in Iceland and one of five under 14 years of age, there’s a definite laid-back hipster vibe.
Plus, with all the nightclubs, bars and cafes in the town center, the lifestyle is ideal for dressing to impress and showing off perfectly imperfect thrifted looks.
What to pack: As a frequent traveler and fashion director, I’ve got packing down to an art form. That said, when visiting Iceland, expect all kinds of weather — and be prepared. I was there in July, which is considered summertime, but with temps averaging 40-50 degrees, I packed more transitional pieces I could layer in interesting ways.
Thin, long sleeve Henleys fit perfectly under my leather jacket, while tailored tweed pants kept my legs warm and looked chic day or night.
My flat ankle booties were comfortable to walk around the city, and versatile enough to complete every ensemble, including long skirts and evening dresses. A newsboy cap was my answer to bad hair days.
I carried a handbag large enough to fit my room key, credit card and Google Pixel 2 phone. The camera takes the best photos! And remember to pack a swimsuit for end-of-day cocktails in the Konsulat Hotel's hot tub or a dip in the Blue Lagoon!