Biscuits can come in all shapes and sizes and some can be larger than life.
This certainly applies to Reykjavik’s Kex Hostel, a boutique accommodation offering housed in an old biscuit factory dating back to 1930. Iceland maybe be cold outside but this hostel certainly knows how to give you a warm feeling inside.
Situated along the coast with stunning views of a mountain in its horizon, this centrally located sweet as sugar hostel stands out from the rest of the pack across Europe. Upon entering its hostel lobby, already you will become captivated by its warm and cosy ambience of a movie set design and its 60s inspired tiling and chocolate-coloured wooden floors. Its decor throughout the hostel makes you feel like you are in a real-life museum almost with its kitsch furnishings such as Amish church benches, lamps from WWII Nazi bunkers and Bauhaus lamps.
Its name may contain hostel in it but it certainly did not feel like one in terms of flavour and experience. Rex Hostel’s sharing rooms is a welcome break from the usual stock standard, cramped layout of hostel dormitories with large room lockers and a desk at your disposable along with enough space to adequately store everyone’s luggage. There are private rooms too if you are seeking something closer to a hotel feel. No longer do you need to do the awkward and creative methods of covering up when changing as Kex Hostel has private bathrooms complete with shower and toilet that you can do all your dressing or undressing for the day.
Back on common ground, its time to mingle with the guests in the lobby. Kex Hostel’s nostalgic decorated lounge area is a great area to unwind from Iceland’s adventure-packed days. Key in a pit stop music station, reading areas with treasure chests tables and an extremely unique lobby feature of a retro barbershop chair, it is the lounge room you wish you had. If you are feeling like having a lazy Sunday, there is a library wall that even Belle from Beauty and the Beast would want to reach her reading glasses for. Keeping true to its industrial past, its interior is complimented with retro and contemporary wooden furnishings which sweep across all aspects of the hostel; giving each of its four floors a quirky touch.
Its horseshoe green and white titled bar doesn’t just attract the travellers; it is a hit with the locals too. Perch yourself on a stool and get involved with the young Icelandic culture of beer drinking. Up until 1989, beer was prohibited and while the Icelandic’s are making up for lost time with the expansion of local breweries, you too can also saviour a drop with a pint with Einstök Arctic Pale Ale being a personal favourite.
In a part of the world renowned for being on the pricey side, hostel restaurant Sæmundur í Sparifötunum menu prices hit closer to home. With its open plan space incorporating the bar, kick back at one of its former sewing machine tables, to grab a taste of Iceland. Where else in the world is there a hostel restaurant offering gastropub perfection with a lip-smacking and generous serve of grilled lambchop served up with baked onions, gremolada and capped off with a rich lamb glaze? With its menu representing the best of Icelandic cuisine (fish being a prominent fixture), it also is very vegetarian-friendly, sourcing local produce for its herbivorous menu roundup. Packed out almost every night, it is a lazy yet convenient way of mixing with local food and culture without leaving the building!
With Iceland being one of the most expensive countries in the world to spend your hard earned dollars for a well-deserved break, Rex Hostel is a welcome find without compromising quality and atmosphere. I have stayed in a lot of hostels in my time but there has never been a stay as remarkable as this – easy on the wallet and over-delivering in facilities, ambience and service. It certainly gave me a warm feeling inside!