A stay at the Hotel Rangá sums up the best that Iceland has to offer. Rooms at this luxury lodge are appointed in a typically Scadinavian minimalist style, using plenty of pinewood and furs, but with global tribal touches to make for an eclectic mix. Most importantly, though, this is one of the best places to see the aurora, far from any light pollution, and the thermally-heated outdoor hot tubs make perfect viewing spots, steam rising from the surface in hypnotic ribbons that mirror the celestial ballet.
The bulk of the food served here is from the Nordic repertoire, so expect a diet of hearty stews, fresh salads and harðfiskur, the local dried fish delicacy. Rangá source their lamb from the breed that grazes the surrounding mountainsides, and this, along with their seafood soup has received rave reviews from visiting gourmands, while a few zesty French and Italian flavours complement the Icelandic fare on the menu.
The minimum to expect at Rangá is a cosy, spacious Standard room, with all mod-cons and with views over the salmon-stocked Rangá river and the looming snowy cone of Hekla, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes (don’t worry – it’s at a safe distance!) Suites are an even more exciting affair – themed according to the world’s continents – creating the surreal experience of gazing out over the tundra from a room adorned with zebra hides, dreamcatchers or colourful rugs.
The list of things to do is endless: this is Iceland! One can of course enjoy the usual aurora-viewing, hiking and so on but, in this land of extremes, surprises and extreme surprises, why not try your hand at shark fishing, a helicopter ride over some of the world’s most epic scenery, a folk museum and saga centre showcasing the richness of the local culture, or a jeep safari that hugs the contoured terrain tightly.