Just a bit over an hour away from Reykjavik and a stone’s throw away from the famous volcano, Mount Hekla, Hotel Ranga is a great base for exploring the beautiful southern Iceland and proved to be an excellent respite.
As soon as I arrived, I was drawn to the predominant wooden décor. This cozy theme persisted throughout the hotel, from log cabin style rooms to alluring Canadian Red Cedar wood furnishings.
Modern amenities blended well with rustic countryside charm. We stayed in a deluxe room that faced the East Ranga River.
What was outside my room was pretty impressive as well.
It was soon dinnertime and we headed to The Restaurant, the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, which serves Nordic cuisine with Italian, French and Mediterranean touches. The menu featured a variety of fresh local ingredients.
We started off with the aromatic oregano, basil and Parmesan bread.Much recommended (with a well-founded reason) was the Wild Mushroom soup, which was served in style – local pickled mushrooms were presented in a bowl and creamy mushroom soup was poured on top, right at our table!
I was told that these mushrooms were grown in local greenhouses in the village of Fludir. If you are a fan of mushroom soup, you will love it, and even if you don’t usually have ‘mush-room’ in your heart for this soup, you will still love it – Honestly, one of the best mushroom soups I’ve tasted. The next dish was Reindeer Carpaccio served with Rucola salad, truffle oil and Parmesan. Reindeer meat was definitely a first for me, and it was quite delicious.
For the main course, it only made sense to order the Salmon as the East Ranga River is one of Iceland’s most popular and productive Salmon rivers.Slow cooked to a melt-in your mouth perfection, the Salmon came with mashed potato, root vegetables, strawberry with champagne foam plus sweet potato and white chocolate puree. Oh, and some lemon snow – Of course, there was snow on my plate; I was in Iceland after all. Tasty and tender was Icelandic Mountain lamb served with potato and drizzled with truffle snow. Desserts are an occasion on their own and I was glad to make friends with the warm chocolate cake, chocolate chip ice-cream and fresh berries.
Ready to call it a night, but the lovely staff tempted us into trying another local delicacy, the much talked about Hákarl, i.e., Rotten Shark! Deciding it would be unfair not to try some, we agreed. Gutted, buried and cured in sand, and hung to dry for several months, the Greenland Shark (which was kept frozen) was served as a small bite with a shot of the local liquor called Brennevin aka Black Death, to defrost and perhaps make the strong smell more tolerable.
It smelled very fishy indeed and quiet pungent, and tasted chewy. But I’m glad I got to try it.
Thanks to the wonderful staff for cheering on us as we tried it while making all sorts of ridiculous faces. And you are welcome for the entertainment!
Despite the minor ‘shark attack’ we slept well and headed for breakfast the next morning.
After breakfast, Mr. Ingi Þór Jakobssen, Hotel Ranga’s Operation Manager, was kind enough to sit and chat with me for a while about the hotel and their visions. He stressed on the importance of high standards of personal service, and about how the staff are encouraged to trust their intuition and make decisions as to what they deem best for guests. Serving excellent quality food with fresh seasonal ingredients that are not too complicated or messy, are also vital for Hotel Ranga .
Wined, dined, and recharged after a good night’s sleep in a warm and comfortable setting amidst vast stunning nature, I had a great stay and would love to return whenever I visit Iceland again.
* My stay and meals here were hosted by Hotel Ranga but opinions expressed are always my own. Many thanks to Hotel Ranga and their wonderful team for their warmth and hospitality. *