This hotel is a a great but fairly expensive choice if you want to get outside Reykjavik but stay relatively central for day visits to Gullfoss, Geysir, Vik etc. It’s about an hour’s drive from the capital. Getting away from the city lights means more chances of being able to see the Northern Lights, and the Northern Lights are taken pretty seriously at this hotel. There’s a wake up list at reception where you can note your room number for a wake up call in case any lights are spotted. In fact you can even choose to receive a second wake up call in the same night. It’s fairly surreal, and funny, to find yourself out in the hotel carpark in the middle of the night with a bunch of people wearing pyjamas, boots and coats waiting for the lights.
The big plusses at this hotel are the service, the food, the hot tubs and the views.
- Service is attentive and genuinely friendly. The staff are used to advising on driving conditions, places to see and helping with bookings. They went out of their way to give us info and suggest alternatives when road conditions were really bad. They even called the road maintenance people to check conditions for us. Restaurant, bar staff and the cleaning staff are also efficient and really nice.
- Food is excellent. Perfectly cooked to order and beautifully presented. Typical dishes are catch of the day fish, lamb and great vegetables with interesting touches for every dish. There’s even Reindeer carpaccio. Waiters describe the ingredients in your dish as they serve it up.
You won’t have any options for eating elsewhere while you’re here unless you drive for 10 - 20 mins or so. Thankfully food is so good it shouldn’t be a bother. Prices are a little high but given the exceptional quality it's hard to grump.
Wine is around 40euros for a nice bottle. If you feel like breaking out the piggy bank on the wine this is the place to taste a Chateau Neuf du Pape 1994 or a Petrus… Alternatively try a shot of Icelandic ‘Opal’ after dinner – a mix of vicks vapo rub with sweets, it has the consistency of marmite and will clear up any sinus troubles :-)
Breakfast is a varied and generous buffet with hot and cold dishes, you can make your own waffles or even serve yourself a shot of cod fish oil if you feel like reminiscing on growing up in Ireland in the 70’s
- The hot tubs out back of the hotel are magic. There are 3 in all seating around 5 people per tub. We were lucky to get one to ourselves. You can access them from your back porch. Sitting in the tub in the evening looking out at the views was a unique experience. Don’t forget to bring your beanie if it’s cold as anything out of the water chills down fast in Winter.
- The hotel location is isolated but provides beautiful views, there’s a river out back and mountains in the distance. When we were there everything was covered in snow and with the Icelandic weather the views changed every 15 minutes. Stunning.
The hotel is a big wooden ranch with just 2 floors. It’s pretty kitsch. We stayed in a superior room and it was fine – very comfy double bed, couch w/ low table, big bath/jacuzzi. There’s a wooden porch out the back of all the rooms with a bench and table and unobstructed views of the landscape. You can rent DVDs at reception. There are reading areas with books in the hotel and also a billiard room with a fantastic antler chandelier. Despite all this, this is not your standard luxury hotel where you while away the hours. It’s a warm, comfy, welcoming place with amazing food and service but it’s a hub for visiting places in Iceland rather than a destination in its own right. 3 nights was a perfect length of time to stay.
Our only disappointment (nothing to do with the hotel) was not being able to get to Vik due to the driving conditions. The manager suggested we go to the black sand beach instead near Eyrarbakki, wow this is really something. Black sand, ice shards at the water line and amazing views. It’s just as you get off the end of the bridge from Eyrarbakki on the Eyrarbakkavegur coast road going back towards Reykjavik.
TIP: Go to www.road.is to check driving conditions in real time, very necessary in Winter as conditions change every half hour it seems.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Ranga is a luxury countryside hotel and the only 4 star resort in South Iceland. It offers all the facilities and services of a modern resort. Located about an hour from Reykjavík between the towns of Hella and Hvolsvöllur, it lies just off the main road right in middle of South Iceland’s panoramic scenery. The resort is built in log-cabin style and has through the years acquired an excellent reputation for its food, accomodation and service. It is the first Icelandic hotel to become a member of the prestigious international hotel chain Great Hotels of the World. A celebrity hot spot, top honeymoon destination and favorite hotel amongst Icelanders, Hotel Rangá also offers great facilities for small business meetings, weddings and social gatherings. One cannot miss feeling welcome entering its warm interior where relaxed countryside feeling meets the professional ambition of pleasing its entire clientel. Upon entering Hotel Ranga, you will be greeted by a towering 10-foot tall polar bear named Hrammur that resides in the lobby. He is a favorite model for photographers and is definitely one of the most pictured objects in Iceland. This is just a prelude to the cozy ambience that you will encounter that vibrates throughout the hotel. Hótel Rangá was upgraded and renovated in 2007/2008 and presently has 51 luxuriously decorated rooms and suites. It also features an acclaimed riverside restaurant, a lounge and bar, 2 upstairs meeting rooms, a game room, massage facilities and three much beloved outdoor hot tubs heated with geothermal water - where there is an excellent chance to view the fantastic northern lights during September through April. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ranga Hotel Hella
- Hotel Ranga Iceland/Hella