The promotion and protection of Iceland’s cultural heritage is of great importance to Icelandair Group and its daughter company, Icelandair Hotels. Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina is a part of this ambition, and so is Reykjavik Marina Residence (read more about its history here). The hotel building of Reykjavik Marina used to be a paint factory before its days as a unique upscale hotel, which is so close to the active shipyard you can almost touch the nose of a ship in the dock. The building has been given a new purpose whilst its history lives on in pictures and playful interior design.
In 2015, Reykjavik Marina and Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature initiated a working relationship that involves Kaffislippur, the in-house café at the hotel, hosting literature events, readings and celebrations of Icelandic literature art in Reykjavik, both contemporary and historical work.
Adding to this ongoing relationship with Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature, a partnership agreement was signed in 2016 where Icelandair Group pledged to support Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature in the restoration and operation of Grondalshus – a historically significant house located in Grjotathorp village in downtown Reykjavik. Further, the aim of this cooperation is to preserve the cultural heritage of the city centre and strengthen the promotion of Icelandic culture.
City of Reykjavik bought Grondalshus in 2006 to preserve its cultural historical value. Blacksmith Jon Sigurdsson built the house in 1881 but poet and scholar Benedikt Grondal (1826-1907) bought the residence in 1888 and lived there ever after. Benedikt Grondal was one of the first so-called “Poets of Reykjavik”, growing up in the capital, which at that time was transforming from a town to becoming a city.
Reykjavik UNESCO City of Literature will operate Grondalshus. An exhibition honouring the memory of Benedikt Grondal and the history of the 19th century in Reykjavik will be on the main floor. The residence will also be able to host literature events, meetings and functions and the basement will hold a writer’s residency, for foreign writers wanting to stay in Reykjavik for work. The attic will hold facilities for writers and scholars.