Accommodation in Iceland isn’t cheap. Though you’ll find the most options in Reykjavik, the increased competition doesn’t do much to lower prices, especially in high season. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice comfort, check out Our House guest house and hostel.
While looking for places to stay on our most recent trip to Iceland, my husband and I considered a number of small guesthouses and hostels that offered private rooms. We wanted to spend under $100 for a double room, but still wanted to stay in a clean, comfortable and quiet accommodation that was centrally located and offered some kind of kitchen facilities. Free breakfast and internet access would be a bonus. We found all that we were looking for, and then some, at Our House.
A quick glance at Our House’s Facebook page, with its many testimonials from happy guests, tipped us off to what was later confirmed from exchanging emails with the hostel owner, Bedda: this is more than just a place to crash for the night. Throughout our stay, Bedda and staff went out of their way to be kind to us and the other guests; each day there were suggestions for activities and events to check out in town, and one day Bedda even prepared a delicious home-made oatmeal for everyone to enjoy.
Our House is located in the center of Reykjavik, a few steps from the Hallgrímskirkja church and less than 10 minutes walk from the best bars and restaurants downtown. It’s also less then 15 minutes on foot from the BSI bus terminal, ideal for those taking the bus to or from the airport. There’s only one parking spot at the house, but free street parking is relatively easy to come by, with a little patience and some skill at parallel parking.
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The hostel has three double rooms, a single room, and two dorm rooms. One of the dorms has two bunk beds and one single bed; the other one has comfortable mattresses on the floor. Prices for double rooms are 12000 ISK (about $103) per night; private singles are 8000 and dorm beds are 4000 ($35), plus a 1000 fee for linen rental if needed. The prices are quite reasonable compared to other hostels and guest houses, but the quality of the house is much nicer than average, making this one of the best values I’ve seen for accommodation in Reykjavik.
The rooms themselves are fairly basic; the beds are comfortable and the rooms are decorated with a few antique touches. There are three bathrooms shared among all guests. The upstairs features a shower, toilet, and sumptuous jacuzzi tub; downstairs is a small half-bath with a toilet and urinal, and in the basement you’ll find a shower and sauna. Towels are provided and the bathrooms are well-stocked with toiletries, a hair dryer, and even hot rollers. On the main floor, there is a sitting room with plenty of games, books and DVDs, as well as a computer (free wi-fi is also available) for guest use.
But one of the best features of the house may be the kitchen – a godsend for any traveler on a budget. Unlike most hostel kitchens, this stylish one is fully kitted out with a full-size fridge, oven, microwave, coffee pot that brews individual cups, toaster, and plenty of pots, pans, and utensils. Breakfast is included and is self-serve; everything that guests can help themselves to is marked in the fridge and cupboards, including cheese, bread, cereal, milk, butter and jam. The kitchen is also stocked with items previous guests have left behind, or that current guests have opted to share. And of course, all guests are welcome to store their own food and drinks. The ability to have a full breakfast and then cook your own meals for the rest of the day can greatly help reduce the costs of a stay in Iceland.
Additionally, the hostel features a small upstairs deck with BBQ grill, and there are two bikes that guests are welcome to use anytime, at no charge. Guest are even welcome to use the hostel’s washer and dryer whenever they aren’t already in use. The other guests at Our House, who ranged in age from low-20’s up into retirement age, were just as rave-worthy – friendly, fun and laid-back, yet still respectful, clean, and quiet. We had no problems with noise and felt totally comfortable in the house at all times. Bedda and staff clearly want guests to feel like it is “our” house, and they succeed.
Disclaimer: I received a 20% media discount, but that did not affect my views of Our House. Even at full price the rates are very competitive, and well worth the cost; I heartily endorse the guesthouse and plan on a return stay.