My friend Arlena said it best: KEX is the hostel equivalent of “glamping.” It’s about as close to a hotel as a dormitory can get. The décor is stunning, the showers are decent, and the food is on another level. Reykjavik locals even hang out there because it’s such a cool place to spend time.
Arlena and I sat at the bar for dinner my first night in town, catching up and enjoying the ambiance. Just as a reminder, European waitstaff doesn’t work for tips so expect a pretty casual approach to customers anywhere you go. I ordered their baked goat cheese on toast (without the meat) and it was phenomenal. I know, cheese is pretty hard to mess up, but all the additions were a perfect complement.
KEX can be perfectly described as chill. No one there expects much from you, so the environment is very low-key. It’s hip and it’s trendy, but it’s low-key. Almost everyone there is from somewhere awesome doing something awesome. Most of them will be in Icelandic sweaters.
I stayed in a 6-person, co-ed dorm on the top floor. The first two nights, it was me and five guys from around the world, which I found slightly amusing. A pilot from Colombia, an oil-man from New Orleans, a quiet German that was always on his laptop. Things were pretty quiet the first couple nights. After some people left, an English guy rolled in at 12:30 a.m. and made some commotion before an Australian guy one-upped him at 2:30 a.m. They were both gone by 8:00 the next morning, which was fine for me because it made room for two gorgeous guys from Belgium who were very easy conversation.
The bathroom was nothing special, but you can’t expect anything fantastic in that department if it’s not a five-star hotel. The beds were comfy, but I got stuck on the top bunk between two beds along the same wall. I didn’t have any outlets near me, which wasn’t convenient for charging my phone overnight. At the risk of sounding like a diva, in hindsight, I would have packed my silk pillowcase because public bedsheets tend to be pretty starchy due to the cleaning regimen. My hair got pretty gnarly after just one night. It just depends on how much of home you like to take with you on vacation! We all have different needs and wants.
KEX is a place I’d stay again, especially now that I know a little more about the hostel world . It’s a great place to come back to after a day of driving or running around the city. I didn’t do much research on other guesthouses in Reykjavik since this one came highly recommended, but I was not disappointed. Breakfast is an additional cost, but if you ask me, it is completely worth the price. I fell hard for Icelandic breakfasts and am dying to recreate it when I’m home.
Thanks so much to KEX for generously hosting my stay!