Icelandair Hotel Myvatn

After a long day of taking in the natural beauty of northern Iceland, the Icelandair Hotel Mývatn offers travelers all the comforts of home in a simple, attractive setting. The newly-built hotel features quirky décor, authentic regional cuisine and relentlessly friendly staff.

The property is a stone’s throw from the pristine waters of Lake Mývatn, a lake formed by a massive basaltic lava eruption more than 2,000 years ago. Thousands of visitors a year journey to the lake to experience its natural beauty and abundant bird population; it is the only known location in Europe where the Barrow’s goldeneye duck lays its eggs.

Mývatn is also a popular destination for viewing the Northern Lights, which are often visible in the area from September to April. Other nearby attractions include Dimmuborgir, a collection of volcanic caves and rock formations east of the lake, and Dettifoss, a powerful glacier-fed waterfall.

Considering its proximity to—and reliance on—the natural wonders in the area, it’s no surprise that Hotel Mývatn operates with a strong dedication to environmental preservation. In addition to its pledges to reduce consumption, increase recycling and use local and eco-friendly products wherever possible, the hotel has installed special water-saving toilets to help protect the Lake Mývatn watershed and bolster soil preservation efforts. Wastewater is collected by specially equipped vehicles, refined and stored at an offsite facility until summer, when it is incorporated into soil reclamation sites across the region.

Of course, the environmentally friendly toilets are just one of the impressive features included in the hotel’s 59 guest rooms. Several room sizes are available, from single to king, and all include bright, whimsical Icelandic design; flat-screen TV with satellite service; free Wi-Fi; phone; coffee and tea set; shower; and hairdryer.

Visitors in need of additional space may reserve the hotel’s suite, which includes a breathtaking panoramic view of the local landscape, a separate living room, bathrobes and slippers along with the standard amenities.

The property also boasts not one, but two excellent dining options for hungry travelers.

Mylla, the onsite restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with an emphasis on fresh Icelandic fare. Popular menu items include local salted cod, grilled arctic char and a three-course Icelandic meal. For dessert, don’t miss the Skyr: traditional Icelandic yogurt topped with berries, blueberry ice cream and homemade hot spring bread crumble.

Diners can also venture next door to the Gamli Bærinn (“Old Farm”) tavern, which serves hearty pub fare for lunch and dinner, as well as espresso beverages and local craft beer. Try the famous hot spring bread with smoked trout and Kjötsúpa—traditional Icelandic lamb soup—or one of the many gourmet pizza options, and be sure to save room for one of their decadent desserts. In the evenings, you can also chat with the residents who have made Gamli Bærinn a beloved local meeting place.