Off the Beaten Track in South Iceland: Hotel Ranga


It’s 10pm and I have been driving for over 12 hours, but glancing out across the lava fields in South Iceland I could easily believe it was the middle of the afternoon.

It is early May and the midnight sun is ablaze, and with around 20 daylight hours who wouldn’t be out exploring Iceland’s vast wilderness at this hour?

A road trip through South Iceland is the reason I am in this part of the world and the Hótel Rangá acts as the perfect base for an exploration of all that South Iceland has to offer.


Northern lights at Hotel Ranga

Northern lights at Hotel Ranga. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Ranga)


Located between the towns of Hella and Hvolsvöllur, just 90kms from Reykjavík, Hótel Rangá provides exclusive accommodations amidst a wild Icelandic landscape. This 4 star resort boasts both exquisite accommodation options and an award-winning restaurant, packaged into a location that will take your breath away.



The Royal Suite: My room at Hotel Ranga (Photo courtesy of Hotel Ranga)


The resort has 52 rooms including a deluxe suit, and 7 world-themed rooms. These ‘World Pavillion’ suites are designed and themed after each of the seven continents and offer both an iconic and luxurious experience.

Picturesque views overlooking the Rangá River and across to the Mount Hekla volcano are at your doorstep and during the months of September through April, Hótel Rangá is renowned as one of the best locations to view the Aurora Borealis.


South Iceland_009

Jokulsarlon: Glacial lagoon in South Iceland


An evening of fine dining and culinary adventure awaited at me the hotel’s gourmet restaurant. The exciting menu boasts the best of local produce with typical Icelandic delicacies such as smoked puffin (Lundi) and reindeer carpaccio with truffle oil. I particularly enjoyed the wild salmon sourced from the River Rangá, and the mouth-watering roasted Icelandic lamb.

Icelandic lamb is like none you’ve ever tasted. It is incredibly lean and literally melts in your mouth.


Icelandic lamb

Icelandic lamb. Photo: Flickr creative commons



So why on earth does it taste so good? Iceland has been one of the leaders of sustainability for some time. The pristine environment and geographical isolation of Iceland means there is no need to use any harmful chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics or hormones on their livestock.

And as if it couldn’t be any better…the dish I had was served with lobster tail.


Heated spa at Hotel Ranga, South Iceland

Outdoor hot tub at Hotel Ranga, South Iceland



I swore I wouldn’t let the cold stop me in Iceland. And while I wasn’t quite as cold as I expected  the temperatures are still well below what I am used to. It is still completely worth the semi-naked dash outside to soak in the hot tub near my suite which, after 14 hours of driving….is exactly what I need. The hotel’s outdoor hot tubs are an excellent way to unwind after a day of adventure, in preparation for the next.

After each exhausting but exhilarating day of driving through the surrounding area exploring waterfalls, mountains, volcanoes and glaciers, a return to this retreat in South Iceland provided me with the ultimate in relaxation and respite.


Many thanks to Hótel Rangá and Great Hotels of the World for accommodating me during this incredible journey through Southern Iceland. Any opinions expressed about this new-found love for Iceland are entirely my own.


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