I thought the Loft Hostel deserved a post of it’s own because it was so freaking awesome – possibly the best hostel in Reykjavik, at least according to the research that I did.
I knew I wanted to stay in a hostel when I was planning my trip to Reykjavik. It’s been well document on here more times than I can count how much I love hostels and why I always stay in them. So often I stay in in hostels that staying in a regular hotel just feels so damn isolating.
After reading Matt Kepnes’ book Ten Years a Nomad earlier this year, I thought the multi-person room experience sounded so fun again. But of course, he was only talking about the good parts – and there are many!
Some of mine include: meeting a girl from Poland at City Backpacker’s Hostel in Stockholm and thus I was inspired to visit Poland the following year, and I met a Canadian guy who was going to school for a semester in Helsinki and was staying at the Anker Hostel in Oslo that I was for a few days before making his way to check into his dorm. I remember asking him why he was doing a semester in Helsinki and although I don’t remember his response, I always like talking to people about their travel decision.
I always book private rooms after my stay in multi-person rooms in 2015 when I went to Scandinavia for two weeks and I thought last year I might book multi-person rooms again so I could more easily meet new people. But when it came down to booking my rooms for Portugal, I chickened out.
It wasn’t a matter of worrying that people were going to steal my stuff (I know everyone wants to steal my dirty underwear), because a majority of people who stay at hostels are just like me: weary travelers looking for a place to lay their heads at night. I just really like being able to sleep at night and not be kept awake by snoring or late night drunkenness, or a whole host of other things. Ear plugs can only block so much.
Why I Stay in Private Rooms Now
But I know that Matt books private rooms in hostels nowadays, too, so I stopped feeling so bad about my choices when I booked my rooms at the Goodmorning Solo Traveler Hostel in Lisbon and the Cats Hostel in Porto when I was there last March.
Although there are many days when I don’t consider myself a people-person, I guess why I love hostels so damn is because of the sense of community. You get to meet other people. Hostels are social. There are happy hours. You can find people to do things with just by sitting down and having a coffee in the lounge area.
Maybe this is more important because traveling by yourself can get lonely sometimes so it’s nice to be staying in a place where you’re more likely to meet people, whereas in my everyday life (at least pre-COVID) I had to talk to people every day.
But in hotels, you walk in, someone at the front desk might greet you, you go to the elevator, walk down the hall to your room, and close the door. You’re isolated. There might be a common area in the lobby, but the vibe is totally different. There will probably be one or two lonely businessmen waiting for their towncars to pick them up, but they’ll be on their phones. Sure, there’s a restaurant – that’s super pricey and you’re not allowed to sit there until you’re buying a meal.
Hotels are just cold and uninviting. Sure, the beds are sometimes more comfortable, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that you won’t meet a single person during your stay there.
Why I Chose the Loft Hostel in Reykjavik
As always, I did a ton of research on hostels before I picked the Loft Hostel in Reykjavik. My requirements aren’t a lot:
- 24/7 front desk security
- Private room
- Central-ish location
- Hairdryers in the bathroom
- An awesome common area
I found a few options but none had a location as central as the Loft Hostel’s was. It was located on a main road right in downtown Reykjavik called Bankastræti Street. The street was lined with shops on both sides and it was near a bunch of vegan restaurants (yes there’s more than one!), Reykjavik’s first cat cafe, and a quick walk to the flea market.
It was a quick walk from where the shuttle from the Blue Lagoon dropped people off in downtown Reykjavik and in that same spot you could get the shuttle back to the airport.
They also had private rooms that were quiet, according to reviews, a 24 hour reception desk, hairdryers for rent, and an awesome common area and bar that locals in Reykjavik frequented for their cheap drink prices and amazing views on the deck.
I was sold. I typed my credit card information in and confirmed my stay in June 2019. It was pricey but I’ll talk more about that later on.
A Few Days Before Checking In
A few days before my trip, the Loft Hostel sent an email with detailed instructions on how to book public transportation from the airport to the hostel, or how to rent a car if that was more your jam. They also had a link to a listing of excursions that the Loft Hostel organized.
I arrived at the Loft Hostel around 12pm on my first day in Iceland. I had gone straight from the airport (and semi-uncomfortable 6 hour flight on Iceland Air) at 7am to the Blue Lagoon (read my review here) and after a few hours at the Blue Lagoon, there were no more photos that I could take or relaxing that I could do so I decided to really begin my trip.
I knew check in wasn’t until 3pm but I was pretty sure they’d have a room where I could stash my backpack (#travellight). I arrived and was greeted by a cheerful woman who asked for my name and passport and then showed me the way to the luggage room (which was oddly just outside the office outdoors – but still within the enclosed premises of the hostel), gave me the code, and told me to come back at 3pm.
Fast forward to 3pm and I checked in quickly and efficiently. My name and ID were checked again and I was given my key cards and my hairdryer. Easy peasy.
What the Private Room Was Like
When I walked down the hallway to where my private room was located, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was in a really quiet corridor. It was also 3pm, so it wasn’t exactly happy hour (then again, isn’t it always happy hour when you’re on holiday?).
I opened the door to find a bunk bed with a full mattress on the bottom and a twin mattress on top. This private room could fit three people! That’s the deal of a lifetime if you’re visiting Iceland with two friends.
The bathroom was pretty standard – it had a shower, no bathtub, but it was more than sufficient enough for this solo budget traveler.
The room had a large window near the back facing a mural that said “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” which is what my travel journal says, so that’s awesome (that’s what the photo at the top of this post is of). This window also had the best ever black out curtains ever. Seriously, it blocked out all the light. I have so-called black out curtains in my apartment and they don’t accomplish half of what these did. (I wear an eye mask to sleep and have for years, so it doesn’t matter anymore, but it’s the principle of spending money on black out curtains, ya know?)
There was also a small desk with a chair in the room, onto which I promptly laid all of my belongings. That’s a habit of mine: THROW ALL OF MY STUFF ONTO THE DESK ALL AT ONCE. Anyone else? Just me? Okay, then.
That aside, who cares? I’m on holiday to see new places and not sit in my accommodation. This is another reason why I usually don’t waste money on hotels when I travel: As long as it’s safe and has a moderately comfortable bed, it works for me because I’m not spending most of my time there.
The Common Area & Bar
As was previously mentioned, the Loft Hostel has a bar on the top floor that is open to the public and it’s frequented at night so you can meet not just fellow travelers at your hostel, but travelers from other hostels and locals!
But in the morning it’s just a place to sit and eat your breakfast – which I believe was an additional 7 USD, which is a DEAL in Iceland. There are cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, granola, toast, baked goods, and copious amounts of coffee.
Whenever I would arrive back from a day of exploring or tours, I would see lots of travelers sitting in the lounge relaxing, or reading, or writing in their journals.
As the hours passed (can’t say – as the sun went down, because it never did!), people would start to convene out on the decks with their beverage of choice. It could get pretty crowded if I’m being honest. I never bought a drink while I was there because I had a little bottle of some Icelandic vodka that I’d bought at the airport upon arrival. But since it is a hostel, the drinks are reliably less pricey than out at a bar or restaurant.
Overall the common areas were really chill. A+.
How Much It Cost
The price tag on a private room in the best hostel in Reykjavik might shock you. It certainly shocked me when I first made my reservation on Booking.com.
The grand total was $792 for four nights.
For comparison: My private room at the Abraham Hostel (another super hip hostel) in Tel Aviv was $248 for two nights.
But was it worth it? Hell yes.
Favorite & Least Favorite Parts
Favorite: The location & the private room.
The location was totally central and fantastic. It was near everything and it couldn’t have been more convenient to get around. My private room was also excellent: comfortable, quiet, and clean. It was also REALLY dark, and while that could be a bad thing, in June in Iceland, it’s actually a really good thing.
Least Favorite: Price
This was really the only negative as everything else was great. The high price of a private room, however, is much, much less than a hotel room would have been. Hotels are, like everything else in Iceland, very expensive. I always opt for a private room in a great hostel as opposed to a cheap room in a shitty hotel.
Remember: hostels come with the social experience that you will definitely not get in a hotel. Plus free or cheap food and drink!
Why Stay at the Loft Hostel in Reykjavik?
Because it’s the best. I think I’ve made it pretty clear but just in case you’re unclear: you should definitely stay at this hostel if you’re going to Reykjavik. Remember: the private room (at least the one I was in) can fit three people! So technically, for four nights, it could be only $200 per person which would be the best deal for lodging in the history of traveling in Iceland.
Also: the location. The location is the best. You’re located right on one of the main shopping streets – a short walk from Hallgrimskirkja, the Handknitting Association of Iceland store, the docks where you can go take a Puffin Spotting tour from, the Old Town, and basically everything else.
I’ve stayed outside the city centers before where I’ve had to spend money on Ubers and Lyfts galore to get around and it’s just not worth it. It’s really worth the extra money up front if you can afford it to stay within walking distance of everything you’re going to want to see while you’re in town.
Did I convince you? I hope so.
I hope that whenever we’re allowed to travel again that you’ll consider booking this hostel because it really was awesome.
Have you ever been to Reykjavik? Did you stay in a hostel? Let me know which one in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!