As you may or may not know, I used to work for a chain of hostels here in Iceland for almost seven years. Six and a half at least. For a good portion of that time there was only one hostel in Reykjavík and the locals didn’t particularly care for it. Thankfully, the guests were more than happy with the service they got. Then the the chain opened up another hostel and around the same time the first rival hostel chain entered the market. Before today we had Hostelling International Iceland with two hostels in Reykjavík, Backpackers with one and the socially active Kex hostel. Mind you that it’s not like the other hostels don’t have stuff happening or are in any way less welcoming or social, Kex just does a better job of telling everyone about how great they are. All together that’s 4 hostels, all catering to different niche markets, with a total of 472 beds.
There seems to have been a shift in attitudes towards hostels in Iceland recently and now everyone is opening up a hostel. Nothing wrong with that in my view; the more places with prices that give more people a chance to travel the better. I do wonder though whether they will all survive opening up at the same time but I guess that’s more interesting to me than you. Although I can’t tell you anything about these new hostels, other than report about their existence, I thought the fact that there are 4 new hostels opening this spring, that will more than double the number of hostel beds in Reykjavík, was worthy of a post.
On to the new hostels
Loft hostel officially opened its doors to visitors today but it’s the third HI hostel in Reykjavík offering 100 beds. I know this one the best because I know the people behind it personally and was a part of the initial stages of when the concept was being developed. It’s located in Bankastræti 7 which is smack in the middle of the outdoorsy triangle at the bottom of Laugavegur shopping street (you know where 66°North, Cintamani AND Icewear all have their stores) and will double as a cafe/bar for passers by with a huge balcony where you can sit outside in summer.
Hlemmur Square is run by a former co-worker of mine and is located right next to the main bus stop Hlemmur. I read somewhere that they will be offering 250 beds, making it the largest hostel in Reykjavík, and I believe they are doing a soft opening in April/May, meaning that they are open for business even though they are not ready with everything. As in any other city, Hlemmur bus stop is known for some interesting characters but it’s on top of Laugavegur shopping street and close to pretty much everything. Hlemmur square will also offer a restaurant and a bar.
Reykjavík Bus Hostel
Reykjavík Bus Hostel is run by the same people that are behind SAD cars and they will be offering 90 beds. They are located in Skógarhlíð which to be honest is the least interesting location out of the four. It’s not far from the downtown area but it takes you good 15-20 minutes to walk there. They also have a bar area which is promising to me personally because they quite close to where I live. I really hope it’s going to be good. Bus Hostel will open their doors on May 1st.
The only reason I know about the existence of B47 hostel is the fact that they liked my page on Facebook. Good job marketing department! It’s located in a beautiful old building that used to be a health clinic (where I got all my shots as a kid) and it is right next to Sundhöllin swimming pool. I don’t know who’s behind it or how many beds they have (bad job marketing department) but it’s close to Hallgrímskirkja church and not far off Laugavegur. They will offer a system where there is no actual reception but you’ll get an access code in an e-mail before your arrival and you can buy soft drinks and snacks from a vending machine. They also do walk-in bookings through a onsite booking kiosk. From my experience in the hostel world I see some problems with this setup, which I’m sure they have thought off, but this is possibly a good place for those who don’t like the social aspects of the other hostels.