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Saturday, October 16, 2021

The New JW Marriott in Uptown Charlotte is Another Great Addition to the Queen City’s growing Luxury Market


Right in the heart of Uptown—the downtown district of Charlotte—sits the JW Marriott Charlotte Hotel. This luxury hotel in Charlotte overlooks Panthers Bank of America Stadium, is mere steps away from the Mint Museum Uptown, Hornets Spectrum Center and Knights BB&T Ballpark, and is surrounded by fantastic restaurants, museums and theaters.


JW Marriott Hotels is one of Bonvoy's lifestyle brands, named after Marriott's founder, and this newer Charlotte hotel and rooftop bar is sure to please travelers of all styles.  Inspired by Queen Charlotte, the city's namesake, the JW Marriott Charlotte evokes the 18th century British queen consort through classic textiles balanced with a modern sensibility. While we loved the Kimpton Tryon Park hotel, there is some new competition in the Queen City. Noticeably absent from the Charlotte luxury market? Hilton Hotels. 







1. Location


This location is outstanding to attend sporting events in Charlotte being directly adjacent to Bank of America Stadium and the Spectrum Center. Not a sports fan? There are plenty of other activities nearby with frequent concerts, live stage productions, opera, symphony and museums. Charlotte is a great destination for foodies and the uptown area is loaded with options within walking distance or a short Uber.  The front auto entrance and valet isn't easy to find so look closely at the corner of S. College Street and E. Stonewall Street on your left on College, immediately before you stop at the light for Stonewall. Since this is a popular location with a small valet, there may be a line to enter! 




2. Check-in


We were greeted promptly and checked in without difficulty from very accommodating employees wearing masks appropriately. The hotel had only opened one month before and managerial staff was everywhere. Appropriately, we were recognized as elite Bonvoy member, and thanked for our loyalty.  The staff oriented us to the hotel and the surrounding area. The hotel itself had COVID restrictions such as not providing housekeeping services, but this was not relayed to us. Finding the check in desk isn't easy if you self park which we attempted initially. We walked everywhere to find the entrance and ultimately found access to an upper floor through one of the restaurants - our advice if you self park...ask directions from anyone you may see because there are no signs directing you to the lobby.  Even better, use valet parking.  The price is pretty much the same but if you want quick access to your vehicle, use the self parking option.  The valet stand was pretty slow and due to the small size of the valet area, we waited for significant time to leave our car or have car brought to us. The hotel is busy with guests and locals visiting the bars and restaurants. 





Wednesday, September 15, 2021

MSC Virtuosa Passenger Dies of COVID-19 after Super Spreader Cruise

"COVID has got a hold of me. I love you": were the veteran's heartbreaking final words before he died from coronavirus after cruise with family on board the MSC Virtuosa.




The MSC Virtuosa had significant outbreaks on board with multiple passengers (counts have been estimated to be over 100) complaining of COVID-19 after returning from their European cruise.  This went virtually unnoticed in the US press since most of the passengers were British. 

Unfortunately one passenger died after this super spreader cruise. 

 

A spokesperson for cruise line MSC said they were "devastated" to learn of Mr Broyden's death and that all members of his party tested negative, in line with their protocols, upon boarding the ship.

The 81-year-old Navy veteran went on the cruise with his wife Carol, 74, her son Gary Shelley, Gary's eight-year-old son, his girlfriend Sue and her two daughters, aged nine and 11.

While they were aboard the MSC Virtuosa - one of the world's largest cruise ships - signs started to emerge that COVID had broken out on board with their children asked to go for tests, staff suddenly wearing hazmat suits, and some isolated incidents of people seen coughing and apparently struggling to breathe around the lift areas.

About five days into the cruise, Mr and Mrs Broyden began to feel unwell, and so spent the final portion of the trip confined to their cabin, although staff were not informed and therefore no tests were carried out.

Mr Broyden, who suffered with Non Hodgkin lymphoma and was classed as "high risk", had been given the go ahead by his physician to go on the cruise after his lymphoma blood levels were checked and found to be good.

Now MSC has announced increased COVID measures on board the Virtuosa. 

Cruise companies have a vested interest to not report cases of COVID-19 to the media or to passengers.  While we sailed on Viking Jupiter in Iceland during July, a passenger tested positive for the virus.  As a result, some passengers were quarantined for the remainder of the cruise due to contact tracing.  Viking never told us as passengers, that there was a confirmed COVID case or that other passengers were in quarantine.  In fact, the rumor was circulated that the case was a false positive and was never confirmed.  We suspect that rumor was circulated intentionally.  The Viking Sky, on the same itinerary, three days ahead of us had the entire second half of their cruise cancelled due to a COVID-19 case. 

Unfortunately the CDC does not require reporting of COVID cases on ships operating outside of US ports. Royal Caribbean recently had a passenger sent to the hospital in Italy due to COVID-19 as reported by an Italian news organization. 

Thinking of cruising? What can you do?

Good luck if you would like to know how many people infected with COVID-19 from being aboard cruise ships. Clearly you won't be provided that information by the cruise industry.  Fortunately, the CDC is making efforts to inform the public. 

USA Today initially reported in early August that the CDC updated its guidance to recommend travelers (departing from U.S. ports) who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 avoid cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. According to the CDC:

"CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. It is especially important for people with an increased risk of severe illness to avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for cruise ship travelers who are not fully vaccinated."

The new CDC guidance applies to older adults (defined as 65 and older), people with certain medical conditions and pregnant and recently pregnant people. Prior to this announcement, the CDC recommended that only people who were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 completely avoid cruise ships. 

A table on the CDC website, which promises to be updated several times a week, assigns each ship a color status—green, orange, yellow, red or gray. 

The color-coding is based on both surveillance data collected over the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. (When cruise ships notify the CDC of a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, the agency determines whether an investigation is needed.) 

  • Green status means the ship has no reports of cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illness.
  • Orange status means the ship has reported cases of COVID-19 but is below the threshold for CDC investigation.
  • Yellow status means the ship has met the threshold for CDC investigation, which includes one of the following criteria:
    • at or above the investigation threshold for crew COVID-19 cases,
    • at or above the investigation threshold for passenger COVID-19 cases; or
    • state or local health department notified CDC of passenger COVID-19 cases occurring within 5 days of disembarkation.
  • Red status means the ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC’s investigation, additional public health precautions, such as returning to port immediately or delaying the next voyage, will be taken to help ensure the health and safety of onboard travelers or newly arriving travelers.
  • Gray status means CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the cruise ship operator’s health and safety protocols. This status only applies to cruise ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose to not follow the CSO on a voluntary basis.
The major limitation of this system is that it only informs us about cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters. For example, we cruised in Iceland during July 2021 on Viking Ocean and data on that line is not available.  Click here to see our series of videos from Iceland on YouTube. 


Click below to check out these combined vaccine card and passport covers at Amazon! You can use them to organize all the documents needed to travel internationally these days! 




Wednesday, September 8, 2021

CDC updates COVID-19 Testing Guidance for Cruise Ship Industry

Check your favorite cruise line! At least four cruise lines have shortened the time that guests have to get a negative COVID test before their cruise, after the Centers for Disease Control made changes to the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO).



Even though the CSO and its accompanying guidance are now non-binding recommendations, several cruise lines have chosen to continue to adhere to its advice on a voluntary basis.

Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC, Disney, and Holland America have announced newly-updated pre-cruise testing protocols set to begin on all sailings from the U.S. from Sept. 13, 2021. Princess Cruises will begin implementing its new pre-cruise testing requirements beginning Sept. 19, 2021.

All of these lines are requiring a negative COVID test two days prior to embarkation.  For example if you sail on Saturday, you will need to provide proof of a negative test taken Thursday, Friday or Saturday. The only outlier from this list of cruise lines is Norwegian.  NCL recently updated their policy to PROVIDE  the test to passengers at the port prior to embarking:

"All guests will be required to take a COVID-19 antigen test, administered and paid for by the cruise line, prior to boarding and receive a negative result. Guests are also responsible for complying with all local health and safety requirements which may include additional testing."

Princess Cruise Line has only indicated that they have partnered with Quest Diagnostics to facilitate a pre cruise COVID test, however be prepared that your insurance company will be billed.  Princess has indicated they will provide guests with a COVID test upon disembarking from a cruise vacation if required to reenter your home country. You should note that the CDC suggests ocean and river cruise guests get tested for COVID 3-5 days after disembarking from your ship. 

Many cases of COVID have been reported since cruise ships began operating again.  Carnival Cruise Line has had the significant press regarding their voyages and one passenger passed away after being removed from her voyage in Belize. 

The MSC Virtuosa had significant outbreaks on board with multiple passengers (counts have been estimated to be over 100) complaining of COVID-19 after returning from their European cruise.  This went virtually unnoticed in the US press since most of the passengers were British. Now MSC has announced increased COVID measures on board the Virtuosa. 

Cruise companies have a vested interest to not report cases of COVID-19 to the media or to passengers.  While we sailed on Viking Jupiter in Iceland during July, a passenger tested positive for the virus.  As a result, some passengers were quarantined for the remainder of the cruise due to contact tracing.  Viking never told us as passengers, that there was a confirmed COVID case or that other passengers were in quarantine.  In fact, the rumor was circulated that the case was a false positive and was never confirmed.  We suspect that rumor was circulated intentionally.  The Viking Sky, on the same itinerary, three days ahead of us had the entire second half of their cruise cancelled due to a COVID-19 case. 

Unfortunately the CDC does not require reporting of COVID cases on ships operating outside of US ports. Royal Caribbean recently had a passenger sent to the hospital in Italy due to COVID-19 as reported by an Italian news organization. 

Thinking of cruising? What can you do?

Good luck if you would like to know how many people infected with COVID-19 from being aboard cruise ships. Clearly you won't be provided that information by the cruise industry.  Fortunately, the CDC is making efforts to inform the public. 

USA Today initially reported in early August that the CDC updated its guidance to recommend travelers (departing from U.S. ports) who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 avoid cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. According to the CDC:

"CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. It is especially important for people with an increased risk of severe illness to avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for cruise ship travelers who are not fully vaccinated."

The new CDC guidance applies to older adults (defined as 65 and older), people with certain medical conditions and pregnant and recently pregnant people. Prior to this announcement, the CDC recommended that only people who were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 completely avoid cruise ships. 

A table on the CDC website, which promises to be updated several times a week, assigns each ship a color status—green, orange, yellow, red or gray. 

The color-coding is based on both surveillance data collected over the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. (When cruise ships notify the CDC of a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, the agency determines whether an investigation is needed.) 

  • Green status means the ship has no reports of cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illness.
  • Orange status means the ship has reported cases of COVID-19 but is below the threshold for CDC investigation.
  • Yellow status means the ship has met the threshold for CDC investigation, which includes one of the following criteria:
    • at or above the investigation threshold for crew COVID-19 cases,
    • at or above the investigation threshold for passenger COVID-19 cases; or
    • state or local health department notified CDC of passenger COVID-19 cases occurring within 5 days of disembarkation.
  • Red status means the ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC’s investigation, additional public health precautions, such as returning to port immediately or delaying the next voyage, will be taken to help ensure the health and safety of onboard travelers or newly arriving travelers.
  • Gray status means CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the cruise ship operator’s health and safety protocols. This status only applies to cruise ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose to not follow the CSO on a voluntary basis.
The major limitation of this system is that it only informs us about cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters. For example, we cruised in Iceland during July 2021 on Viking Ocean and data on that line is not available.  Click here to see our series of videos from Iceland on YouTube. 


Click below to check out these combined vaccine card and passport covers at Amazon! You can use them to organize all the documents needed to travel internationally these days! 




Monday, September 6, 2021

COVID-positive vaccinated passenger medevaced from Royal Caribbean's ship Harmony of the Seas in Italy

On September 1, 2021 a passenger on board Harmony of the Seas was transferred to a hospital in La Spezia Italy after he complained of symptoms of COVID-19.  The vaccinated passenger boarded the ship on August 29, 2021 in Barcelona and shortly thereafter complained of symptoms consistent with the virus.    The day following a planned stop by the ship in Palma de Mallorca, it was arranged to have the passenger to be transported to the Sant’Andrea hospital in La Spezia. He was admitted into the infectious diseases ward and was accompanied by his wife who remained with him as the ship sailed on to the next port.  




According to the Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX who reported this on September 2, 2021, Royal Caribbean required all guests over the age of eighteen to be vaccinated and test negative before boarding. The entire crew is vaccinated. The article states that the guests also “suffered from other important pathologies.” He tested negative for COVID-19 shortly before embarking the ship. No further updates have been given. 

After disembarking the infected guest, the Harmony called on ports in Civitavecchia (Rome) and Naples, Italy. There were no other public reports of COVID-19 infection among the crew or other guests. The ship returned to Barcelona tomorrow on September 5, 2021.

Carnival Cruiseline has had their own issues with COVID-positive passengers and one elderly passenger removed from a Carnival ship in Belize later died of the virus. 

Thinking of cruising? What can you do?

Good luck if you would like to know how many people infected with COVID-19 from being aboard cruise ships. Clearly you won't be provided that information by the cruise industry.  Fortunately, the CDC is making efforts to inform the public. 

USA Today initially reported in early August that the CDC updated its guidance to recommend travelers (departing from U.S. ports) who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 avoid cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. According to the CDC:

"CDC recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. That’s because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. It is especially important for people with an increased risk of severe illness to avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises. CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for cruise ship travelers who are not fully vaccinated."

The new CDC guidance applies to older adults (defined as 65 and older), people with certain medical conditions and pregnant and recently pregnant people. Prior to this announcement, the CDC recommended that only people who were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 completely avoid cruise ships. 

A table on the CDC website, which promises to be updated several times a week, assigns each ship a color status—green, orange, yellow, red or gray. 

The color-coding is based on both surveillance data collected over the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. (When cruise ships notify the CDC of a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, the agency determines whether an investigation is needed.) 

  • Green status means the ship has no reports of cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illness.
  • Orange status means the ship has reported cases of COVID-19 but is below the threshold for CDC investigation.
  • Yellow status means the ship has met the threshold for CDC investigation, which includes one of the following criteria:
    • at or above the investigation threshold for crew COVID-19 cases,
    • at or above the investigation threshold for passenger COVID-19 cases; or
    • state or local health department notified CDC of passenger COVID-19 cases occurring within 5 days of disembarkation.
  • Red status means the ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC’s investigation, additional public health precautions, such as returning to port immediately or delaying the next voyage, will be taken to help ensure the health and safety of onboard travelers or newly arriving travelers.
  • Gray status means CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the cruise ship operator’s health and safety protocols. This status only applies to cruise ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose to not follow the CSO on a voluntary basis.
The major limitation of this system is that it only informs us about cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters. For example, we cruised in Iceland during July 2021 on Viking Ocean and data on that line is not available.  Click here to see our series of videos from Iceland on YouTube. 


Click below to check out these combined vaccine card and passport covers at Amazon! You can use them to organize all the documents needed to travel internationally these days! 




Thursday, August 26, 2021

Are Cruise Lines Being Transparent with the Public About COVID-19 risks of Infection or Required Quarantine?

We aren't sure the risk of traveling on a cruise is worth it right now.  One risk is trip interruption due to becoming exposed to a COVID positive passenger or crew member. But now that the CDEC has updated their guidance about those at high risk, exposure to the virus may be a concern too. One clear example of this risk has been with Carnival. Carnival Cruise Lines is having a difficult time with COVID-19 cases on board its inaugural sailings.  Unfortunately Carnival and the cruise industry is not being transparent about the cases.  




A 77 year-old Carnival Cruise Line passenger died after contracting Covid-19, the company confirmed Tuesday. It is the first reported death since cruises resumed in June in the Caribbean and United States.  Carnival CONFIRMED her death after TEN DAYS.  She was having difficulty breathing in Belize on August 4th, and was removed from the Carnival Vista.  The hospital in Belize demanded $5,000 for ventilator treatment. That was when her family air lifted her back to Oklahoma, where she died on August 14th. Carnival Carnival Cruise Line says that the passenger did not contract the virus on board.  



Cruise companies have a vested interest to not report cases of COVID-19 to the media or to passengers.  While we sailed on Viking Jupiter in Iceland during July, a passenger tested positive for the virus.  As a result, some passengers were quarantined for the remainder of the cruise due to contact tracing.  Viking never told us as passengers, that there was a confirmed COVID case or that other passengers were in quarantine.  In fact, the rumor was circulated that the case was a false positive and was never confirmed.  We suspect that rumor was circulated intentionally.  The Viking Sky, on the same itinerary, three days ahead of us had the entire second half of their cruise cancelled due to a COVID-19 case. 

According to Cruise Law News, the Carnival Vista has continued to have crew testing positive: 26 on the inaugural sailing and 16 on the next sailing.  This is according to anonymous sources. Also a second person from the inaugural cruise was hospitalized in "bad shape".  



Carnival struggled to downplay these positive cases.  The question remains, how safe is cruising and how many cases are not being reported?  Should the companies be required to report these cases? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on August 20th that travelers who are at high risk of severe complications from Covid-19 should avoid taking cruises, regardless of their vaccination status.

The updated guidance also recommended that travelers who are not fully vaccinated avoid taking cruises. 

We’re not fans of laminating our cards because you may need to add information about a booster to it later.  Of course you can use a sandwich bag to protect it, but we prefer a sleeve where the card can be removed and updated if booster shots become recommended in the future. Click the photo below to find these on Amazon:

Carnival's troubles continue

At least eight Carnival Cruise Line guests have tested positive during the first two weeks on the Carnival Mardi Gras‘ sailings. This is a totally different ship and as was the case for the Carnival Vista, Carnival Cruise Line has not disclosed all of these cases or other COVID-19 cases on the ship. Carnival was forced to comment on the death of the Carnival Vista passenger, because the GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs for Marilyn Tackett, the retired Sunday school teacher, age 77, from Oklahoma, gained so much attention. 

A guest of the Mardi Gras' posted on Twitter that he tested positive for COVID-19 when after returning home but had now way of notifying the company.  


Carnival implemented the "Have Fun. Be Safe." COVID-19 guest protocols that were updated earlier this month. All passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must present a negative COVID-19 test result from within three days of embarkation. Unvaccinated guests must take another test prior to embarkation and a third test 24 hours into the voyage if the cruise is longer than four days. AXIOS reported last week that Carnival  announced new mask guidelines, which say that all guests are required to wear masks indoors.

However, Carnival’s COVID protocols state that:

“Vaccinated guests are not required to maintain physical distance on board the ship.

It is recommended that unvaccinated guests maintain physical distancing as follows:

Outdoors – Remain at least 3 feet from others when not wearing a mask and not in your cruise companion group.” From various posts on Twitter and Facebook it appears that those protocols are loosely followed

Thinking of cruising? What can you do?

Good luck if you would like to know how many people infected with COVID-19 from being aboard cruise ships. Clearly you won't be provided that information by the cruise industry.  Fortunately, the CDC is making efforts to inform the public. 

A table on the CDC website, which promises to be updated several times a week, assigns each ship a color status—green, orange, yellow, red or gray. 

The color-coding is based on both surveillance data collected over the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. (When cruise ships notify the CDC of a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, the agency determines whether an investigation is needed.) 

  • Green status means the ship has no reports of cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illness.
  • Orange status means the ship has reported cases of COVID-19 but is below the threshold for CDC investigation.
  • Yellow status means the ship has met the threshold for CDC investigation, which includes one of the following criteria:
    • at or above the investigation threshold for crew COVID-19 cases,
    • at or above the investigation threshold for passenger COVID-19 cases; or
    • state or local health department notified CDC of passenger COVID-19 cases occurring within 5 days of disembarkation.
  • Red status means the ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC’s investigation, additional public health precautions, such as returning to port immediately or delaying the next voyage, will be taken to help ensure the health and safety of onboard travelers or newly arriving travelers.
  • Gray status means CDC has not reviewed or confirmed the cruise ship operator’s health and safety protocols. This status only applies to cruise ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose to not follow the CSO on a voluntary basis.
The major limitation of this system is that it only informs us about cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters. For example, we cruised in Iceland during July 2021 on Viking Ocean and data on that line is not available.  Click here to see our series of videos from Iceland on YouTube. 


Click below to check out these combined vaccine card and passport covers at Amazon! You can use them to organize all the documents needed to travel internationally these days! 






Saturday, August 7, 2021

Convenient and Comfortable Oasis in the Middle of Reykjavik: The Konsulat Hotel is the Perfect Base for Exploring Iceland


Iceland was one of the first countries to reopen to tourists after the worldwide pandemic with certain requirements for quarantine or proof of vaccination.  Shortly after the reopening, offers for cruises, land tours and low cost airfares flooded our inbox.  We opted for a Viking Ocean cruise for the itinerary and because Viking had set the bar early on for its COVID-19 precautions. Because of the 4 hour time difference with an overnight flight to Reykjavik, we opted for a comfortable stay in the capital of Iceland prior to boarding our cruise. The Konsulat Hotel met our standards for location, luxury and amenities.


We've stayed at many boutique hotels over the years, some of which have bore witness to absolutely amazing events, like the Southern Hotel in Covington, Louisiana, and Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, a Curio Collection by Hilton, opened in 2018 and is situated in the oldest part of Reykjavík at the junction of Icelandic history and style. The reconstruction of this building, which in the 19th and 20th century housed a grand department store run by Consul Thomsen and his family, was completed in 2018.


The Sun Voyager sculpture on the Reykjavik waterfront





1. Location


The Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel centrally located in the oldest and most-visited part of Reykjavik. The most beloved attractions, like the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrimskirkja church, restaurants and day-tour bus stops are within walking distance. They are next to the popular Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dogs (in fact we could see it from our window). Reykjavik is safe and easy to walk.  Reykjavik is located about 45 minutes from the airport and it is possible to take the FlyBus, but we opted for a car service prearranged with Hreyfill

Hallgrimskirkja church

2. Check-in


We were greeted promptly and checked in without difficulty from very accommodating employees wearing masks appropriately. Unfortunately our room was not ready for about 1.5 hours since we arrived early.  The staff told us we could enjoy breakfast in the dining room if we wished, and that was a pleasant place to wait.  Another option was that we could spend time in the indoor bath (geothermal spas are very common in Iceland) and sauna where we could nap or shower if we wished. The entire staff is eager to engage you and tell you about the hotel's history or make you comfortable.  They are proud of the hotel, Iceland reopening and it shows in their enthusiasm. Since it is a Hilton-affiliated property, we were greeted and treated appropriately for our Hilton status. The staff oriented us to the hotel and the surrounding area. The hotel itself had no COVID restrictions such as not providing housekeeping services, and this was a refreshing change from our recent stays in the USA.