Innovative Use of Otherwise Empty Hostels

Centric Guesthouse, Lækjargata.

Centric Guesthouse, Lækjargata.

Vala Hafstað

In response to decreasing demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, some Icelandic hostels are now using their rooms in innovative ways.

Hostel B47 is one of them, mbl.is reports. It is now marketed for foreign students in order to keep the operation going until the tourism business picks up again. The rooms accommodate one to six people and are rented out for ISK 40,000-120,000 a month. The demand is substantial.

A room at Hostel B47.

A room at Hostel B47. Photo: Booking.com

“All of the rooms have a sink and hairdryer. They’re good hotel rooms,” states Þorsteinn Steingrímsson, owner of Hostel B47.

The rooms are cleaned on a regular basis and the sheets washed. There are shared bathrooms, kitchen facilities and recreation room. Quite conveniently, Sundhöll swimming pool is located next door.

Pétur Marteinsson, owner of Kex Hostel.

Pétur Marteinsson, owner of Kex Hostel. Styrmir Kári

Kex Hostel, too, is looking into offering its rooms for rent to university students , states owner Pétur Marteinsson. The hostel closed temporarily September 1, but the option being considered is offering the rooms to students through a non-profit operation.

The hostel foresees a tough winter ahead with very few tourists and being forced to lay off people, many of whom have worked there for a long time. “We’re trying to kill two birds with one stone,” Pétur states.

By converting the hostel into a dorm, the operation can continue, employees can keep their jobs, and the needs of students who require housing can be met.

From Kex Hostel.

From Kex Hostel.

“Young university students are among the ones hardest hit by this recession, which is beginning. Some didn’t get a summer job and can’t get a part-time job while at the university, and at the same time, there is record enrollment.”

But renting out to students is not the only option. Centric Guesthouse on Lækjargata is now renting its 15 rooms out as workshops for artists of all ages.

“The rooms vary in size, and the one who pays the lowest rent pays ISK 40,000-50,000,” states Geoffrey-Huntingdon Williams, operating manager and co-owner of Prikið, which operates the guesthouse.

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