Sketching for Supper
Kjarvalʼs Hotel Holt
Art is a lifestyle, not a profession. Johannes Kjarval was painfully aware of this fact for years as he managed to get food, housing, and most of his essentials by giving away his paintings and sketches as payment, scattering his lifeʼs work throughout the city of Reykjavik. Tucked away on an unassuming side street sheltered from the hectic downtown is Hotel Holt, home to several works by Kjarval.
Hotel Holt opened in 1965 and its owner, an avid art collector from the age of 14, was a personal friend of Kjarval. The artist often dined at The Gallery restaurant and one room of the hotel is dedicated to the sketches he produced as payment for his meals. This passion for art is evident in the hotelʻs decor which is covered with paintings in vibrant colors, livening up the dark wood panelling with idyllic` scenes of Icelandic landscapes and people.
Hotel Holt has maintained its desire to welcome guests of both its restaurant and hotel as it once welcomed Kjarval. Though a luxury four star hotel, guests have a myriad of choices from a three course lunch for 3500 ISK to elaborate customized menus that stretch the imagination of its chefs. The food itself is a creative take on French cuisine using Icelandic ingredients. The charm of the food and drinks is enhanced by the
imaginative renderings of Johannes Kjarval and other well known Icelandic artists.
The recent addition of happy hour allows guests to admire works of art while escaping the chaotic life of the downtown area by enjoying two for one drinks and light fare such as mini burgers. Whether staying at the hotel overnight or simply stopping by for a drink the staff encourages guests to walk through all the rooms to view their extensive collection of artwork. When time permits, the hotel staff will even accompany guests on a stroll through the hotel and give more details about individual paintings.
For those with an interest in wine, the hotel offers a cellar with 4000 bottles and a waiter who will act as a personal guide through the selection. There is a bottle of wine for every taste and price range. Hotel Holt stays true to its original intent as a luxury hotel open to everyone with its focus on the possibilities for guests in any price range.
Sketching for Supper