Q: What is it? A: A good place to stay (and an even better place to eat) on Iceland’s southern coast.
From a distance it looks like a large garage…
With enough natural wonders and beauty to dazzle even the most well-travelled, there’s one side of Iceland that really puzzles me: Why does it seem like the grandchildren of Egil Skallagrímsson don’t care about architecture? Most buildings look dull. Many are downright ugly. Approaching the Hotel Rangá from the main road, Hwy 1, means that you’re looking at its least attractive side. Where’s the hotel? I’m thinking to myself while my entire family is looking at something very much resembling a large garage. Thankfully, this hotel has more to offer than what first meets the eye.
It’s nice to be upgraded.
It’s even nicer to find that the De Luxe rooms come with jacuzzis, their own outdoor patio and access to a hot tub a mere twelve steps away. The rooms may not be that impressive if you’re a design buff. Like most of the interior at the Hotel Rangá they are wood-panelled, (which probably is a sign of status on this island, almost clinically free from trees). To the average Swedish traveller rooms will feel like the average semi-rustic mountain cottage, circa 1992; although with more comfy beds.
A restaurant worth the trip.
This hotel recently made it onto a list called ”Top 10 Remote Hotels Worldwide” but I honestly didn’t feel it being that exotic, (probably my Scandinavian roots again). The Restaurant 4, however, is surprisingly ambitious and serves a very good set-menu where the lamb tartar and particularly the halibut both deserve an honorable mention. And if you’re doing the Grand Tour of Iceland (1335 kilometers; 830 miles), you may find that this is one of a very few decent wine lists along Hwy 1. Don’t drink and drive though.
Squeezed in between the sea and a volcano…
The ideal season for visiting the Hotel Rangá is probably late May/early June. Then the landscape has turned greener and the climate has become a little friendlier towards humans. During the colder months, the hotel management will suggest that the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, is a good reason to visit.
An equally good reason to visit, is that the Hotel Rangá is a well-working, friendly place to stay. It’s exactly not bustling with activity and the interior design could have been more… interesting, (the 10-foot stuffed polar bear, named Hrammur, who resides in the lobby can’t do the work all of his own).
Also, I can’t but wonder why it’s on that remote hotel-list? It’s located one hour from Reykjavik and you can park your car right outside! But the folks behind the list reside in Los Angeles, so I guess that makes the Rangá a little more exotic. And possibly even remote. Yes, that must be why. It better be.
GPS coordinates: 63°46´48,88 N and 20°18´04,66 W
How to get there:
Take Hwy 1 (Ring Road 1) all the way east from Reykjavik. Pass through the city Selfoss and continue east to Hella, which you also pass through. After driving 8 km east of Hella, you’ll see the hotel on your right side, (yep, that’s the garage-like building), approx 600 meters from the main road. The road to the hotel is marked by a clear sign.
Distances & driving time:
Keflavik Airport: 140 km north-east – driving time ca 120 min.
Reykjavik: 96 km east – driving time ca 80 min.