A hostel with funky seating in the lobby, plush bedding you sink into at night, a cheap lobby bar and freshly roasted coffee in the morning. Is this the coolest hostel in Keflavik?
The Base Hotel Hostel, in Keflavik, Iceland, is made up of two buildings in the former US Navy/Air Force Base. They’re instantly noticeable from afar, since they’re painted in bright reds and blues, camouflage-style. The name of the hostel is on the exterior in large writing. What’s it like? How’s the staff? Find out what I thought about the hostel below!
is this the coolest hostel in keflavik?
The Base Hotel Hostel was a delightful place to stay on my last two nights from my extended trip. After travelling around the world, I wanted a quiet place to stay in Iceland before travelling.
I’d chosen a private room, thinking (rightly) that I’d want the space to spread out and get a decent night’s sleep before flying home. Their website lists private and shared dorms rooms but it doesn’t list in which building they are in. Luckily, mine was in the same building as reception. I gratefully climbed the stairs to my room at midnight, ready to sink into bed.
base hotel hostel keflavik
And sink into bed I did! The first thing I noticed in the room was the thick mattress, the fluffy doona, and the plump pillow. One thing I really love about hostels and hotels in Scandinavian countries is the fluffy, lightweight yet very warm bedding. My room looked out over the edge of the airport, to the northwest and I could hear planes taking off in the morning, although it didn’t cut into my sleeping time or my later work hours.
(In fact, while it was evident that there were planes, the only ones that broke my concentration were the late morning fighter jets that took off on a routine flight from the airport. I don’t know if they were US Army jets or RAF fighters but it was actually pretty cool to watch them take off from the main runway and bank sharply to the right over the hostel.)
base hostel hotel: the rooms
Most of the private rooms are suite style rooms. Mine was 211B, which meant my keycard got me into 211, and then into B. I shared a bathroom with 211A, just outside my room and within the confines of 211. This meant I didn’t go far for a shower, nor did I have to wait my turn with a line of other people.
According to the website, there are dorm rooms. I did see a few while passing outside, but I couldn’t tell how many beds were in them. The mattresses, from a distance, looked comfortable and I would assume the dorms have the same bedding as the private rooms (aka very comfortable, crisp bedding).
Speaking of other people, I saw very few. It was hard to tell if the people that were having coffee in the lobby when I came downstairs were guests at the hotel, business men in for a meeting, airline crew on a short layover, or staff taking a break. The hostel, while cool, is definitely an “in transit” place. It’s perfect for people who need to stay near the hotel or people who want to get an early start on the Golden Circle in the morning.
base hostel hotel: the atmosphere
The atmosphere is kind of basic; the games room on the second level had a few old arcade games, a ping pong table, and plenty of beanbags arranged around the room. It was sparse and had a tiled floor, which meant it was chilly and not super conducive to hanging out. I only saw a few people in there playing ping pong on my arrival night – the rest of the time it was empty.
The lobby was busier, but not by much. Because of the hostel’s location, it’s likely that the only people that stay there are people who have an early flight out in the morning (they run shuttles at 4, 5, 6, and 7:20am) and or airline crew. There were several other people on their computers and a few men came into have drinks from the bar, but they didn’t stay very long.
base hostel hotel: the interior
The interior is funky; there are midcentury modern and Scandinavian furnishings. The photographs and knickknacks on the walls hint at a airline/airport theme. As already noted, the bed was insanely comfortable even if the room itself was sparse. Mine had a modern armchair in the corner, but no table next to it. I propped my backpack against it and used it to hold clothes. Someone else may sit in it, but with nothing to look at (the chair was under the wall-mounted television), there’s not really a point. The room was narrow. If you wanted to sit in the chair and watch television, you’d be sandwiched between the wall and the bed.
is this the coolest hostel in keflavik?
Overall, I very much enjoyed staying at the Base Hotel Hostel in Keflavik, Iceland. Because I knew it wasn’t near Reykjavik, I was under no illusions that I’d be heading into town. However, if someone wanted to head into the capital, the public bus system wasn’t easy to figure out. There is a bus that runs from the town of Keflavik to Reykjavik, and there is a bus that runs from the former base to the town. None of the bus shelters have a schedule and there was no one to ask about it when I went for a walk. The staff seemed to step outside often.
It’s also worth noting that Iceland is a crazy expensive country. A taxi after bus hours can run you as much as 7,000 ISK – which when I was there, was $70 USD. For a five minute taxi ride! I almost walked from the airport to the hostel at that point! (Luckily, it only cost me 2,500 ISK or $25 USD. STILL!) Because the hostel isn’t right in Keflavik town centre, it is either a thirty to forty minute (lovely) walk or an expensive taxi. You may find you pay more to get into town than you do for the groceries or souvenirs.
The pros far outweigh the cons. The shower water pressure was sublime, the bed was extraordinarily comfy, and the staff was exceptionally nice. The man I spoke with when I arrived (only to learn that the hostel shuttle wasn’t running) offered to pay for my taxi to compensate for the lack of a shuttle. Because I paid the 2,500 ISK, he gave me a voucher for the shuttle to the airport for the morning I left. When I bought a coffee, the woman I spoke with was friendly and warm – like every other Icelandic person I’ve ever met.
So is this the coolest hostel in Keflavik? I’d say yes.
*Unless otherwise noted, all photos are courtesy of Base Hotel Hostel*