Hooking into the local vibes in a new city is difficult, even more so if you are traveling solo as I was on my recent trip to Iceland. For my five day Iceland itinerary, I spent several nights in Reykjavik, using it as a base of operations and visiting the local sites. I stayed at the Loft Hostel in Reykjavik and it was the perfect place to help me get my bearings and tap into the cool stuff that Reykjavik has to offer.
(Loft Hostel is part of the HI Iceland. They were kind enough to host my stay and this review represents my honest opinion about my experience there. This post also contains affiliate links.)
Review of Loft Hostel Reykjavik
I stayed one night in the basic private double and two nights in the deluxe double and both were quiet and comfortable. The deluxe room was surprisingly large with a hip decor, comfortable orange chair and views overlooking the main street. While I liked the rooms, I really loved the lobby.
Here’s the thing…any lodging that has a library in the lobby is an automatic A+ for me and the Loft Hostel in Reykjavik has a generous selection of books in both English and Icelandic. This includes the Icelandic sagas and fiction books featuring elves, which are a cultural thing in Iceland.
In addition to the library, the lobby has a bar, cafe and a fourth story balcony that looks out over Laugavegir street. Even though it was winter and chilly, there was always someone out on the deck and the staff told me that it becomes a real scene on warm summer days. Speaking of the staff, they were warm, friendly and very helpful, offering advice on where to eat and how to book tours and airport transportation.
I’m the queen of modestly priced lodging so trust me when I say that it’s difficult to find a reasonably priced hotel that also has a fun lobby scene and a staff that performs concierge services. The Loft Hostel in Reykjavik manages to pull it off the trifecta.
Top 4 Reasons to Stay at Loft Hostel in Iceland
- It’s centrally located.
The Loft is located smack in the center of Reykjavik and you’d be hard pressed to find more conveniently located lodgings. You can draw an eight block circle around Loft and within it are some of Reykjavik’s most popular sites such as Hallgrimskirkja church, the National Museum, Harpa concert hall and the Settlement Museum.
- It doesn’t cost a mint.
Iceland is a notoriously expensive place for food, tours and lodging. Loft hostel can help you save a buck with seven different room configurations that will accommodate budget backpackers, couples and families. Dorm rooms start at $52, 4-person family rooms are $234 and a 2-person private room is $147 (which is a lower rate than comparable hotels). Even Loft’s super deluxe double compares well with the nicer hotels at $234/ni (including breakfast).
- Loft Hostel has the coolest lobby.
In addition to the aforementioned library, Loft’s lobby/cafe has an outdoor deck, cafe, Foosball table, bar and a stage. This set-up creates a very social environment that serves the out of town visitors as well as locals. They use the lobby space to host regular activities such as the Friday RuPaul drag race night, Sunday yoga and a Saturday clothing swap.
- The best happy hour in town.
Loft Hostel also leverages their bar space to offer one of the best happy hours in Reykjavik. It runs from 4-7pm and you can get Gull beer for 690kr (about $7). Trust me, this is a steal because you can pay 1,200kr for non-happy hour beers at other places in town. During those hours, the lobby buzzed with conviviality.
Other HI Iceland Hostels in Reykjavik
HI Iceland also owns two other hostels in downtown Reykjavik.
The Downtown Hostel is located in the harbor district. There are fun cafes and bars nearby but the hostel itself is on a quiet street. They don’t have the major lobby scene that Loft has, but they offer the same breakfast. They have mixed and single gender 4 and 10-bed dorms and private rooms, which are a bit less expensive than the private rooms at Loft.
City Hostel Reykjavik is located 1.8 miles (3/k) west of the downtown core in the Laugardalslaug area. This location is near a large city park, a campground and the Laugardalslaug thermal pool. The hostel has four and six-bed dorms along with some private rooms which are a good budget option at two-thirds the cost of the city center hostels.
About HI Iceland
Hostelling International has hostels in most of Iceland’s popular tourist spots. You could drive the Ring Road, see Snaefellsjoekull National Park, visit the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and walk on the black sand beach near Vik….all while staying at an HI Iceland hostel. You can find a map with all of their locations on their homepage.
You can also lay your head down at HI Iceland knowing that that they are a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging people of all ages to travel and to increase their knowledge and appreciation of nature and culture. They have a strong sustainability ethic and aim to provide a carbon neutral stay for their guests. They also occasionally offer free lodging to people volunteering in Iceland on conservation projects. Staying with HI Iceland allows you to put your money where your ethics are.
Thanks HI Iceland for a great stay.
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