Scene/Eating: Hipster Iceland
Scene/Eating: Hip Hostels in Iceland
In Iceland, staying in a hostel to save money doesn't have to mean compromising comfort, style, or flavor. At Kex in Reykjavik, the rooms are outfitted with premium linens, the walls are adorned with boutique-worthy artwork, the restaurant is one of the best in town, its stage hosts some of the world's biggest entertainers including Russell Crowe and Patti Smith, and the overall atmosphere oozes hipster chic. The idea that being on a budget doesn't have to mean suffering feels like a revelation at Kex. The hostel opened a few years ago in a converted biscuit factory (kex means biscuit in Icelandic) and has been a favorite of both locals and tourists ever since. Its restaurant's menu is designed by Gunnar Karl Gislason whose fine-dining restaurant Dill is one of Reykavik's best. Gislason diligently sources superlative ingredients from Iceland's traditional producers and transforms them into exceptional gastropub fare that attracts a clientele who come not just for the food and atmosphere but for the artisan brews poured at the bar. There's something deeply satisfying about saving money while at the same time feeling pampered.
Here's hoping this hip hostel trend catches on everywhere.
Jody Eddy is currently co-writing an Icelandic cookbook with chef Gunnar Karl Gislason to be published by Ten Speed Press in the fall of 2014.