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“Best hostel I've ever stayed in” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kex Hostel

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Kex Hostel
Skulagata 28, Reykjavik 101, Iceland (Miõborg)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Oxford, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Best hostel I've ever stayed in”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2011

Stayed for 9 days in July 2011. Given the long stay, it is lucky that Kex is actually a place you feel like you wanted to spend time in. Plenty of people to meet, things to read and stuff to play with. Better than any other hostel I've stayed in, and a better (and cheaper) option to staying in a sterile, boring hotel. Staff were really helpful and friendly and cool, they booked all our side trips for us and gave good advice.

When we met other travellers in Reykjavik and told them we were staying at Kex they were often jealous because they didn't book soon enough to get in. We even saw some travellers who were staying at other hostels come to Kex to eat and hang out. That says a lot!

My partner and I stayed in a private double room with shared bathrooms and we had a fantastic view of the bay. The bed was comfortable, plenty of bathrooms so never had to wait, clean, excellent showers. Food was really, really great but not cheap. Only minor thing - the hallway doors on our floor slammed really loudly with people coming and going in the mornings and woke us up most days and some nights (our room was closest to the stairway). And I'd like to have a mirror in the bedroom so I don't have to go to the shared bathrooms to get ready, but all that is quite minor.

I'm really going to miss Kex! Hope to come back one day.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (68)
Date | Rating
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2011

My boyfriend and I stopped over in Reykjavik on our way back to the States from Norway. Kex was the most fantastic value and all of the things their website promised (when i booked they had not yet opened) were phenomenal. I expected a mediocre room and stay, but was totally wowed - despite a few things that will hopefully be cleared up in a few months.

Looking on their website, I expected our private room might just be a small one with a bunk bed. To our surprise, we got a huge room with a king sized bed. The view was beautiful. Just sitting in our room looking out at the water and the mountain was time well spent. The staff were incredibly helpful. They were polite and friendly. When I had too much to drink and was a little hung over, they gladly helped us rebook our Blue Lagoon tour. The first floor is lovely - quaintly decorated and the bar is great. We ate their twice and were pleasantly surprised with how good our food was.

HOWEVER. Yes, I give them 5 dots (stars? dots.) because overall they exceeded my expectations. But, I was not keen on being woken up by the construction crews on the fourth floor drilling into concrete. The bathrooms were still being finished. And occasionally the entire hostel would reek of varnish and paint. The website promised a number of things, but the two that bothered me: No gym, no bicycle rentals (the tourist office rents, though), etc. The WiFi was pretty spotty on the top floor.

All in all, Kex is great. We'll be going back, no question. I hope they always stay this high quality for so cheap!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2011

Kex is unmistakably the most beautiful and tastefully curated hostel I've ever stayed in. The water and mountain views are stunning, the food is top-notch and reasonably priced, the service is friendly and the decor is smart and kitsch. For the rate, I recommend staying at Kex but being as new as they are, there are still some things that are a work in progress at best.

For one, the room we stayed in was unfinished, as was the floor we stayed on. We didn't get a discount, or an apology, for paying extra for a room with a private bathroom that had no door, or for being on a floor that was under serious renovation. Not having a door on the bathroom meant occasionally using the shared bathrooms on another floor. The renovation meant band saws, drills and hammers at 8am. It also meant fresh paint that needed to be aired out so our floor was particularly breezy and cold. On a different note, there is no gym. There is no barber. And there aren't any bike rentals. Yet. If you saw these things on the website, my guess is they're coming soon.

That said, Kex is a great place to stay and if you're looking to shell out more for more amenities it will be an amazing place to stay in a few months when the paint dries.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
109 reviews 109 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2011

KEX Hostel is an experience in itself and is most certainly one of the best places I've ever stayed.

Apparently co-owned by a group of Icelanders including 2 famous footballers, the hostel was opened only 2 months ago and decorated by a Set Designer who is responsible for transforming the former biscuit factory into a cocktail of coolness and comfiness having sourced original retro furniture from the US and thereby giving the building it's unique and amazing character. There has been a lot of attention to detail, such as the elevator that doesn't work, but has headphones so that you can still listen to the elevator music. You will find coolness in all the details.

Despite an unassuming exterior, you are welcomed by comfy sofas, friendly staff, an excellent restaurant kitchen headed by a chef whom I am told is once of Iceland's best and loves slow cooking, bookshelves filled with reading material, maps aplenty and a beautiful view of the harbour. You will most definitely enjoy lounging about for a few hours after your daily adventures.

This hostel has all the facilities one would expect from a top hostel, including 2 kitchens for guest use, showers with endless hot water (sourced as all Icelandic water is from natural geothermal springs), free WiFI, clean and thoughtfully decorated rooms, thick curtains to block the summer light, baggage storage, laundry facitlies, plenty of lounge areas and is conveniently located. An excellent, simple, homemade and fresh breakfast buffet is available in the mornings to start your day and the lunch and dinner menus are also wonderfully tasty and comforting.

So good is the KEX that locals come to enjoy their evenings in the restaurant/bar/lounge, surely that must be saying something.

I stayed here for 3 nights with 2 friends and we are already planning a return trip. Reykjavik and Iceland is most definitely worth a visit, so much to see and do and the prices are affordable since the economic troubles began. Give yourself a week in Iceland if you can and most definitely stay at KEX, it will make your stay just that much more special.

I have been very impressed.

I love Iceland. I love KEX hostel.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Key West
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2011

The most enjoyable thing about Kex is the design and decor. It's really stylish, comfortable, easy on the eyes, interesting, all of these. Details abound and the found furniture and knick-knack aesthetic is lovingly carried to all corners of the finished space.

Additionally, the restaurant that occupies the lobby makes delicious, decently-priced food, great coffee, and serves a nice draft beer.

As a hostel, though, some things are lacking, and the overall experience falls short of the looming promise of its handsomely-tailored website.

Examples: there is no gym, despite quite a bit of marketing copy describing one. There is no barber to speak of, but there is a lovely room for him to work in if he ever shows up. When they say 'shared bathrooms', they mean shared showers as well, locker-room style. And the shared bathrooms are not necessarily on the same floor as your room, which can make for an awkward and cold walk through the stairwell. In the 'hotel rooms' (rooms with a bathroom), there is no door on the bathroom. And finally, the hostel is just plain not finished (the gym is likely coming), meaning you may have VERY VERY LOUD construction outside your door beginning at 8AM.

They're still earnestly sorting all this out, and the value will most definitely be there when they get it together. The staff are lovely, the place is undoubtedly special, and the beds are truly comfortable.

This is a fabulous hostel-to-be, and a decent hostel right now.

Room Tip: Definitely go for the 'hotel room'.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2011

This hostel was incredible. Beyond all expectation. Nice beds, good locker set up, and by far the most helpful and friendly staff I encountered at any hostel. it was 4 star hotel level accommodation by the staff. Their friendliness continuously impressed me. Delicious breakfast, and impressive culinary work throughout the day. I would stay here for a long period of time. Also, the price is amazing. My favorite hostel in over 6 months of travel in Europe. STAY HERE - you won't regret it.

Only critiques: Bathrooms need completion of construction (I'm sure when they are done this will not be an issue at all!). Maybe provide an option to rent towels.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2011

This is the best place to stay in the city. Its new (you can still smell the newness!) Very friendly staff and a very clean place. The rooms are comfortable even for dorms with great beds. the showers are also hot and powerful! Its a very social hostel, i met lots of people during my week there!
i would recommend this hostel.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Kex Hostel

Address: Skulagata 28, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Phone Number:
Location: Iceland > Capital Region > Reykjavik > Miõborg
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 58 Specialty lodging in Reykjavik
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
It' s the Icelandic word for "biscuit" and a social hostel in Reykjavik. What's not to love? Housed in an old biscuit factory in the heart of Reykjavik, KEX is just steps from all the bars, clubs, and music venues that give this city its legendary reputation. It's also a painless distance from late night munchies and a mind-boggling array of coffee houses, shops, and tourist attractions. Of course, you might not even want to venture outside of the hostel with all its features: a cafe and bar, lounge area, heated outdoor patio, tourist information desk, laundry room, small fitness centre, and free Wi-Fi. Two guest kitchenettes and private laundry facilities are also available. And with a variety of rooms for up to 138 guests, you'll have no problem meeting interesting, new travel buddies from exotic places. KEX oozes with personality and soul-just like our guests. Every piece of decor has a story to tell. Using salvaged materials and found objects from various sources, KEX is an organic concept blending Iceland' s past with a modern, international twist. The raw industrial spaces and vintage furnishings combine to give it a homey, eclectic feel. With the affordable nightly rates, you'll still have enough cash left over to enjoy a few pints of Viking beer or sample some local delicacies like hakarl and Brennivin. In addition to our dormitory rooms we offer three different double rooms: 1. Double Plus - 1 double bed, 1 private bathroom, linens and towels, and 1 fantastic seaside view. 2. Double Standard - 1 double bed (of the most clever convertible design in case you get tired of being so close to your travel partner), shared bathrooms, linens and towels, and if you are lucky the same fantastic view. 3. Twin - 2 single beds, linens and towels, and a better than average chance of making your friends back home quite jealous indeed. LOCATION: KEX is located in the centre of Reykjavik, with a view across the sea to Mt. Esja across the bay. The old factory that houses KEX is also home to The Living Art Museum and studios of various artists, dancers, and fashion designers. KEX is within an easy walking distance to the city's interesting nightlife, restaurants, shopping streets, cultural attractions, and other points of interest in the city centre. To reach those places a little further afield, the hostel is well connected to the city's public bus system. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kex Hotel

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