Iceland´s Funniest 5 People- 5th Place: Laddi

ImageThe Man of a Million Characters:

Laddi, or Þórhallur Sigurðsson, as nobody recognizes him as, has been one of Iceland´s most beloved comedians for the last 30 years. In his 60´s now, he has slowed down somewhat after selling out his one man show for months, celebrating his 60th birthday by sharing all his personalities with the Icelandic people. He is one of few people that Icelanders of all ages will recognize if you mention his name.

Laddi is known as a direct comedian. His personality is not well known and he does not pour much of it into his character. His performances are usually very flamboyant and consuming so you will not hear him lashing out on Twitter about anything or complaining on a talk show about anything. He is the opposite of the types he plays.

Although you will not understand much of what he is saying, I´m sure you will see the range of his talent from these samples of his work:

Salomon Gustafsson, the Swedish alcoholic, trying to get sober in Iceland of all places, loses his suitcase and apparently his mind when he meets Stella in Stella í Orlofi, an 80´s comedy favorite.

-Laddi was the voice of all the Smurfs when the cartoon first reached Iceland.

-In drag, the fabulous Laddi as Elsa Lund, an aggressive cougar from the Faroe Islands, infiltrates the Hemmi Gunn show, the Icelandic version of the Jay Leno show.

As Dr. Saxi in Heilsbælið, Laddi is a perverted high strung doctor, manipulating patience and showing a complete disregard for common decensy.

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#Hint2Holt: Give us a hint!

surprise faceWe love giving unforgettable service, wow moments and going the extra mile for our guests. But it´s sometimes hard coming up with ways to do exactly that. That´s why we´ve thought of a new way you can help us wow you! Let´s call it #Hint2Holt.

If you take a picture or write a text in social media or even just send us an e-mail or join the 24/7 live chat on our website and use the hashtag “Hint2Holt”, we will do our utmost to take that hint and turn it into something nice that will make you smile when you arrive or if you are already in the hotel, when you get back from an excursion or meeting.

Please remember that if your username has no connection to your real name, we might have trouble attributing your hint to yourself so in some cases it might be prudent to add your last name or full name in a hashtag along with the #Hint2Holt one. That way, we can really go for it!

Hopefully we can have some fun with this together!

Of course, we would like to use this opportunity to remind you of all our social media connections where we will be looking for this hashtag.

UNESCO City of Literature? We´re in!

unescoliteratureIn case you didn´t know, Reykjavík is one of only 6 UNESCO Cities of Literature? Well, until recently, we didn´t either. The city is heading a great initiative to make locals and guests alike more aware of how rich our culture is with the written word. Iceland of course, has a very strong connection with literature. Many argue that without the Sagas, we wouldn´t have our completely unique language and apparently, as a nation, we read more than most people. Of course, we are very proud of Halldór Kiljan Laxness, Iceland´s one and only Nobel  Pr

laxnessize Laureate (1955) but we also have plenty of exciting writers and poets to inspire the mind currently. People like Arnaldur Indriðason, Sjón, Einar Már Guðmundsson and Hallgrímur Helgason. The list goes on and will continue to go on. At Hotel Holt, we have always been known as an art hotel but mainly for the visual arts. Now we are going to take our library in the Library Room and expand it into the lobby by allowing the written word to inspire our guest´s minds and entertain them during each moment they allow it to. The Hotel has several connection with our literature heritage that guests can enjoy. Additionally, we are excited to work with the city to set up some appearances by some of our current crop of great authors and have them read out of their works at the hotel bar. Of course, we have had many well known authors stay at the hotel such as Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame and Jack Hemingway, writer and son of the legendary writer. Crichton used to stay at the Holt when enjoying the Icelandic horse, which he and his wife had a passion for. Hemingway enjoyed fly fishing in our many salmon rivers during summer and enjoyed many a good evening in the hotel bar. Other living authors have visited the hotel when attending literary fairs in Reykjavík. People like Anne B. Ragde, Luis Lopez-Nieves, Robert Bringhurst, Ngugi Thiog´o and Kader Abdolah. Hopefully we can interest you in a good read in the future. In the meantime, take a moment to check out the website where the city is organizing happenings all over town in connection with this title we are so proud of. http://bokmenntaborgin.is/en/ And check out some videos on their YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Bokmenntaborgin?feature=watch

Great Dining Options in 101 Reykjavík

ImageThe downtown dining scene is full of exciting options for every palate. A lot of our guests look to us for advice in this. Why shouldn´t they? We do have the best restaurant in town in our very own Gallery Restaurant!

But let´s say you have already had an unforgettable meal at Gallery. What are the options for second best experience? Let me give some suggestions:

Sjávargrillið/Seafood Grill: With three years under it´s belt, this is a great little place within 3 minutes walking distance on Skólavörðustígur. They are top of Tripadvisor and deliver on really good compact dishes and attentive service. They care about your experience and they are small enough to be accountable for it being outstanding. The place is nicely renovated with an upscale feel but casual attitude. I recommend the 4 course Taste of Iceland menu. It has everything.

-Grillmarkaðurinn/Grillmarket: Yes, it sounds similar to the last place but it´s different, I promise. This opened to huge expectations on Lækjartorg, less than 2 years ago and has not disappointed one of our guests so far. The decor is very impressive with lava rocks and a most impressive bathroom experience. I have not enjoyed a meal there in the evening but can say I enjoyed a very good burger there for lunch last year and outstanding service. Everyone is raving about the Grillmarket so make sure you have us reserve a table for you well in advance, especially if you are going to be in Reykjavík for a weekend!

-Fiskfélagið/Fish Company: An offspring of the now deceased Seafood Cellar, this is one of my favorites. A unique location where the designated “center” of Reykjavík is calculated right above them. The decor is rustic and a fusion of Icelandic highlands chic and Colorado mountain cabin feeling. Very cozy. I had the Around the World menu here and really enjoyed it. This is really an excellent choice for all occasions.

MAR restaurant: We have a special connection with this place. It is owned by Elding Whale Watching company, so no whale meat on the menu, obviously. But the chef is one of the stars to come out of our own Gallery kitchen in recent years. Mar is located at the newly popular harbour area and features a casual atmosphere with an ambitious menu. I´ve been twice, once for lunch where I enjoyed the best ever Chicken Salad and once on “housewives day” with my wife for the tasting menu. Really good stuff and I recommend you try it!

Steikhúsið/Steakhouse: This is less than a year old but really a great option for those who want a really robust meal. Icelandic meat is very expensive so get the valet out, but ultimately, it´s worth it. I had a fantastic meal, so did my wife and a really nice surprise were the lobster “balls” for starter. I would recommend you not to miss those in preparation of a nice big steak.

Alright, alright Snorri! What about some more diverse food that is not so very Icelandic? I´ve got it! There is a very good variety of ethnic food on offer in Reykjavík. Of course, varying standards of service and prices apply here.

Ítalia, as the name suggests, is the main option for….you guessed it. It actually opened in 1997, when I was 7 years old, by my old man. He sold it a couple of days later and it is the only place he regrets selling. When the interior was burnt to a crisp in 2005, the current owners renovated in the exact same fashion again. If it ain´t broke, don´t fix it! Wood oven pizzas, warm atmosphere, perfect location (you see it directly to the left when you hit Laugarvegur main street from the hotel) and a tradition for very satisfied customers. Don´t do Italian anywhere else.

Austur Indíafjélagið is the best Indian restaurant in Iceland. It´s of the high-end kind so expect to pay for the quality. Located on Hverfisgata, the dirty little sister of the mainstreet, one block down, this place is a small and cozy restaurant with over 20 years of history as the first choice for this type of cuisine.

Ban-Thai is the most popular Thai food restaurant in Reykjavík. With a upscale cantina decor, this place is where you go if you are not eating Thai to replace fast food. The service can be spotty and the food came out very slowly when I ate there last year, but the locals love the food and it gets rave reviews. It´s not like the “localized” thai restaurants around town so stick to only 1 pepper on the menu if you don´t know what you are doing.