Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you guys; when you first arrive at Hotel Ranga you’re going to be overwhelmed… and also slightly puzzled by the interior. If you, like me, have been traveling inside Europe a lot of you probably got used to a certain minimalist aesthetic that’s super trendy in boutique hotels and interiors right now. Four star Hotel Ranga is… quite the opposite of minimal: lots of wood, art, a chandelier made of antlers, oh and taxidermy of a giant attacking polar bear to make you feel cozy in the hotel lobby.
But when the initial shock wears off, I think you’ll find that Hotel Ranga actually feels very homey. And if you’ve spent the last few days wrecking your back by sleeping in the back of a Land Rover Defender, praying you still have all your extremities by the morning and smelling like an Icelandic sheep in the rain, home is exactly what you need.
Make no mistake though, Hotel Ranga is still a 4 star hotel and one of the absolute best the marvelous country has to offer, so here’s what you can expect in that regard:
Everyone at the front desk is a native. Yes this is worth mentioning, because as you will notice when you visit Iceland, in most touristy places, there were more foreign employees than natives Icelanders. Being able to talk to people from Iceland at the front desk is a huge plus. They know their region the best and can advise you what to do, how much time you will need and what you can skip. In general, you can expect a discreet but very friendly staff.
Mr. Jakobsson, the operation manager of Hotel Ranga, came say hi over dinner. He didn’t do this because I was there on a media visit, he does this with everyone, which is something I can greatly appreciate. It makes you feel at ease and if you have a question to ask or maybe an issue to address, you can tell him straight away.
Roomwise, even a standard room is comfortably large, especially the bathroom. A nice touch is that all the bath product are eco-friendly, something that only seem fitting for Iceland. What really surprised me was the enormous bath tub with whirlpool function, where I gladly soaked my tired feet in.
Speaking of whirlpools, there are 3 of them outside for ultimate relaxation under the midnight sun in summer or aurora borealis in winter, with beautiful views over the river.
For dinner, I opted for the menu and I was pleased to learn that as much as possible is locally sourced. I recommend trying an Icelandic beer with that, or maybe Appelsin (Iceland’s take on Fanta). The breakfast buffet was what you would expect, with the addition of an American-style extra breakfast menu to order from, probably to cater visitors from that area.
Hotel Ranga is your ideal base for an pleasant stay in South-West Iceland. It’s the starting point to head out to explore the region, by yourself or by tour, why not by helicopter?
Overall I think this hotel is worth its 4-star rating and I would recommend it to tired roadtrippers and first-time-in-Iceland-so-playing-it-safe-people-persons like me. The combination of great staff, delicious food and decent rooms makes me hope to return one day.
Have you been to Iceland? Where did you stay?
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