Here, we experienced Icelandic quirkiness at its very best. At the heart of the vast and spellbinding countryside and perfectly located for the delights of the Southern Shore, we found the unique Hotel Rangá – an authentic way to take in the Northern Lights, and a homely place to experience Nordic hospitality … albeit with a big dose of humour.

At first glance, the four-star, experiential hotel fits right in to its raw, outdoorsy setting – a hunting lodge, or upscale log cabin, set in unrivalled nature, on a majestic river plain where you can experience the views at its best. The giant stuffed bear and taxidermy arctic fox that greeted us when we entered seems perfectly in place, as did the reindeer-antler chandeliers and giant, brown snooker table.

But when you’re asked to pick your suite, you’ll soon realise that you have to go all continental – Africa, Antarctica and North America even. The hotel’s top-end rooms are spacious and retro-nostalgic, each whimsically themed. There are country-specific ones too, Japan and Australia for example – chosen and decorated personally by the hotel’s enigmatic owner.

Our favourite by far though, was one with a true sense of place, and that’s the “Iceland” junior suite, with its indoor basalt hot-tub and sofa set on a giant, electric turntable, so you can enjoy the best of Iceland indoors, or at a push of a button, gaze out at the tremendous landscape and wait for the Aurora Borealis to do its dance.

Perfect forFly intoRight on time
The AdventurerKEFGMT
While you’re Out There
Book an evening in the hotel’s private observatory, set on its own, away from the main hotel, coming complete with a roll-off roof and two top-of-the-range astronomical telescopes: a 14 inch Celestron Edge HD Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector and a TEC 160ED APO refractor on an Astrophysics 900 mount, computerised and set on a permanent pier — perfect for the budding astrophotographers out there.

www.hotelranga.is

Photography courtesy of Hotel Ranga