I loved KEX Hostel!!!
KEX Hostel has:
*a lovely location in Reykjavik, right on the water and only 2 or 3 blocks to all the bars and clubs
*easy access to affordable food-there’s an Icelandic fast food chain a few feet from the front door and a grocery store near the back area
*a staff that will do your laundry for a reasonable fee and help you book excursions
*very clean rooms & facilities
(On the downside, KEX does charge guests to borrow sheets or eat at the breakfast buffet. They also have some steep stairs and no elevator-so if you plan on getting drunk while wearing stilettos..you might want to request a lower floor )
The best thing about KEX is the restaurant/bar located on the ground floor. Its official name is Sæmundur í Sparifötunum, but for obvious reasons, I just referred to it as the KEX restaurant. Liz and I both adored its atmosphere-it has this old-school traditional European look. And no, I’m not sure what the hell “old-school, traditional European” even means, but that’s just the term that came to my mind when I first walked in! It’s very dimly lit, with scratched-up dark wooden tables and chairs that look like they could be 100-years-old. In one corner there’s a a couple of sofas and a few large bookcases filled with travel guides, novels, and scholarly texts that anyone’s welcome to borrow. I guess that sounds very basic, but I think that was part of its charm. What really made it fun was the diverse crowd it attracted. Young people, old people, locals, tourists, couples, singles, families. It was casual and noisy, with quite a variety of languages being spoken. The menu was interesting too! Lots of hearty items-like lamb meat or fish stew.
Liz and I ate at the KEX restaurant on our first night in Iceland, and its actually one of my favorite memories. The wind was whippin around outside, and we were in this dark restaurant, eating steaming stews and greasy sausage meat by candlelight. No one around us was speaking English. It was the perfect omg-we-did-it-we’re-in-freakin-Iceland moment. : ) So, even if you decide to stay elsewhere, at least stop by KEX for dinner or drinks.
Now, while I’m on the topic of food…you will have the option of trying whale meat in Iceland. Whaling is a very controversial topic, so you might want to research the issue before your trip. If you want to try it, it’s available at Hereford Steakhouse, Tveir Fiskar,Vin og Skel, and Þrír Frakkar. If you want to protest it, go to http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/whaling.asp to learn how.
Also, if you’re like me and cold weather makes you want ice cream (okay maybe i just always want ice cream) go to Eldur & Is. It’s a yummy ice cream parlor on the main street that also serves crepes, coffee, and hot cocoa.