If you’ve come to Iceland to relax and have found the Reykjavík nightlife a little overwhelming; or even if you live in the capital and need a quick retreat, you need only drive two hours east to the country’s most charming and accessible 4-star hotels, Hotel Rangá. At an extremely reasonable 10,000 ISK a night, and at such a short distance from the capital, this is the perfect location for a romantic weekend, or perhaps a mid-week getaway.
Rangá is located in the shadow of Hekla, arguably the most visually stunning active volcano in the country, and the valley of the Rangá River presents such a bold green as to make Ireland look monochrome… And, of course, Rangá country also happens to be Njál country, home to the most celebrated of Icelandic sagas. Yeah, the location is impressive. And the amenities, including both private whirlpools and many large hot tubs outside the hotel, overlooking the valley, are deserving of the hotel’s four-star rating.
In addition to the location, the rooms and the hot tubs, Rangá has outstanding cuisine and service. I chalk a lot of this up to Björn Eriksson, the hotel manager, who makes it extremely clear that his hotel is for everyone. He and his staff not only run a flawless hotel and restaurant, but, and this deserves attention, the staff make visitors from every country and social strata feel welcome—something you won’t see at most other hotels here.
Breathing in clean air, sitting in a hot tub, and just being outside the city, you develop an appetite. At least I think that’s what happened. All I know is, I sat down for an eight course meal, consumed Icelandic lobster, mountain lamb, Arctic char, wild goose and many many other gourmet foodstuffs, and got up from the table three hours later.
On the night I stayed, a local troubadour was playing at the bar upstairs. This was a perfect setting for a digestive of scotch before I headed out to once again enjoy the hot pots.
Hotel Rangá, Ph# +354 487-5700, IS-851 Hella, www.hotelranga.is