Where to stay in Iceland: Hotel Ranga

Today we’re heading back to Iceland, the land of fire and ice, dramatic scenery and great food. It’s only really over the last 15 years that tourism has grown significantly in the country with most visitors coming from the US, UK and Germany. I reckon it’s going to get bigger and bigger, there’s so much to do and see and so much tasty fare to indulge in. Iceland should certainly be a destination on every travel wishlist.

But where should you stay? Hotel Ranga’s located about an hour’s drive from the capital, Reykjavik. Set just off the main road, it’s perfect for exploring everything South Iceland has to offer – and that’s a lot! So what’s good about it?

The beauty,  peace and views

Set on the River Ranga you’re surrounded by pretty much nothing…Well, there’s the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano and some snow-capped mountains in the distance and lots and lots of wide open space. And all that fresh air. The sense of tranquillity is amazing and you’ll wake up to the melodious sound of birds and open your curtains to wide-open spaces stretching as far as the eye can see. This is a place to truly get away from it all.

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The charming log-built hotel overlooking the Ranga River

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Far reaching views from my room through the perfect latte

The rooms

There are 51 comfortable, plush rooms and suites to choose from. The suites are decorated for and named after the continents and are the ultimate in luxury. The bathrooms offer piping hot, high pressure showers and amazing spa baths, the perfect place to bask in after a day’s sightseeing. All the spacious rooms have large flat-screen TVs (with British channels…hooray), tea and coffee making facilities, a safe, packed mini bar and endless free Icelandic water – straight out of the tap.

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The stunning Antarctica suite

The warmth

Iceland is a cold country climatically (I guess the clue’s in the name) but you’ll discover plenty of warmth in many other ways. Nothing is too much trouble and there’s always the a smile and a story. Plus the hotel is properly  heated…they  have the natural resources to do it to the highest level after all. There are also three outdoor hot tubs heated with geothermal water. So there’s really no need to feel cold at all.

The food

First there’s the breakfast. How I love a good hotel breakfast, and it’s a real spread at Hotel Ranga with cold meat and cheese options and your usual array of hot stuff. I really loved the mini waffle irons with little jugs of batter waiting for you to cook your own. And then there were the jars of herring and sardines…when in Iceland tuck into the herring, it’s delicious.

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Heavenly herrings for breakfast

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The spacious restaurant looks out over the river

And then there’s dinner. Icelandic Chef Karl Johann Unnarsson is in charge at Hotel Ranga. He’s a young, passionate chef who produces the most amazing dishes (more about this in my next post). Like this fabulous cured salmon dish with trout roe and dill…and an amazingly tasty smoked egg yolk. Karl’s gourmet offerings make the hotel worth a visit just for the food.

Cured Salmon with trout roe and dill

Delicately cured salmon that melts in the mouth

The stars

So here’s a unique one. How many hotels can you think of that have their own resident astronomer who can tell you all about the myriad stars that light up the sky? There’s an observatory with a retractable roof and some of the most sophisticated telescopes for some serious star gazing. And then of course there’s the spectacular Northern Lights. I didn’t have the good fortune to experience this myself but here’s what the hotel looks like when this amazing natural phenomenon occurs, so magical.

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Hotel Ranga and the Northern Lights, simply stunning

The adventures

Iceland is certainly a country for adventure seekers and there’s plenty of thrills to be experienced from your base at the Hotel Ranga. Depending on the time of the year you can go dog sledding, hiking, exploring volcanoes, scuba diving, snowmobiling, glacier climbing, walking behind waterfalls or geyser spotting. In the summer you can even play golf – 24 hours a day if you like – there’s all that daylight. You can read about some of the adventures I experienced by clicking here.

Get pulled along at speed by these beautiful dogs

Get pulled along at speed by these beautiful dogs

Or climb aboard a Super Jeep and be driving through the amazing landscape – in all weathers.

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Your Super Jeep can get you pretty much anywhere in Iceland, no matter what the weather

Hotel Ranga is simply the perfect place for a wonderful Icelandic idyll. Put it on your list.

You can find out more about Hotel Ranga by clicking here.