Hotel Ranga Iceland (Small Luxury Hotel)

Old Aug 22, 19, 1:05 am
  #1  
Original Poster
Hilton 25+ BadgeMarriott 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Homeless
Programs: M&M SEN; AC SE100k; Qatar Plat; HH Dia; SPG AMB100; Hyatt Globalist; Fairmont Plat
Posts: 2,233
Hotel Ranga Iceland (Small Luxury Hotel)

Hotel Ranga

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Hotel Ranga

Sudurlandsvegur Hella, Iceland IS 851

Hotel Ranga Iceland (Small Luxury Hotel) (23 Photos)

Hotel Ranga

Iceland does not have the reputation for being a hot bed of luxury hotels and when Small Luxury Hotels partnered with Hyatt it raised my interest in Hotel Ranga.  I stayed there 2 nights followed by another 2 nights at ION Adventure (Design Hotel / Marriott) which allows for an easy comparison.  My key takeaway of Hotel Ranga is that it’s not a luxury hotel based on international standards but I can nonetheless recommend it as a decent hub for people travelling to Iceland who do not want to exclusively stay in Reykjavik but want to be better located to visit sites on the south side of the country.

Since SLH and Hyatt joined forces, I noticed that the main problem with many SLH properties is that the price premium when booking on Hyatt.com is excessive relative to the price on SLH.com.  For Ranga I was surprised to find that the price on hyatt.com was the same as on SLH.com for my dates which is very unusual compared to the other SLH properties that I checked, so I was pleased that I would get Hyatt points and nights credits for this stay.  However as we got closer to my stay, SLH rolled out a “summer sale” 30% off and when I checked again, Ranga was sold out for one of my two nights, but the other night it was still available so I split my Hyatt booking in two, cancelled one night, and rebooked it on SLH at a much lower rate.  I ended up paying 300 EUR on SLH for one night and 400+ EUR on Hyatt for the other night.  

IMG_5943.jpegIMG_5953.jpegIMG_5955.jpegIMG_5956.jpeg

Location

Hotel Ranga is located off the south ring road #1 about a 2-hour drive from KEF airport.  I found the location quite good actually because there are many great tourist sites in the south or southeast of Iceland which are not as easily accessible if you are staying in Reykjavik.  From Hotel Ranga you can still hit lots of sites in one day and it made for a long day, but a 3-hour drive (one-way) to the Glacier Lagoon (for example) is more manageable than if you start from the Reykjavik where it will be 5 hours one-way, not leaving much time for several stops during the day.  The other advantage of Ranga’s location is that because it’s right off road #1, even in the winter the hotel would be accessible at all times and you would not need to worry about a road being closed during the winter.  In addition the hotel is between Hella and Hvolsvöllur which are two convenient villages with shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.  I found Ranga’s location significantly superior to ION Adventure where access during the winter would be more difficult and there is absolutely nothing around ION, plus the fact that ION is much closer to Reykjavik so I think Ranga allows you to see more tourist sites in a short period of time without having to change hotels as frequently.  

Room

For a hotel that calls itself “luxury”, Ranga is a nice log cabin, but the rooms are anything but luxury however at least it gives you a rustic feel which is suitable for the destination.  First of all most luxury hotels would normally not have rooms as small as 18 square meters.  In a city where space is at a premium I can understand it, but in Iceland and particularly in Ranga’s location with plenty of land available it is more questionable. Unfortunately size is not the only issue.  The room is starting to show its age, particularly the bathroom where the large quarter circle bathtub has a shower in it but no curtains and its wastes a lot of space that is already lacking to begin with.  The strip of paper “disinfected” on the toilet seat made me feel like I was in a motel rather than a luxury hotel.  Not only was some space wasted in the bathroom, but the entrance is oversized as well leaving little for the bedroom, and even more is taken away by the bulky closet and working desk.  On the plus side the room is charming with an angled wood ceiling and there was a small terrace with a view of the river behind the hotel.  However there is not all that much privacy if someone walks to the two hot tubs outside the rooms: we were directly exposed.  In addition I think we had one of the least private rooms in the hotel because if you sit by the window in the restaurant, our room was the only one you can see, the others’ view being blocked by the small wall on the terrace, unlike ours.  The bathroom had convenient heated towel racks which is very suitable for Iceland and we ended up using them for wet clothes as well.  The heating system for the rest of the room was old style “radiators” near the entrance and near the terrace door, not nearly as nice and convenient as the heated floors at the modern ION hotel.  Finally, the bathroom amenities left to be desired for a hotel in this price range – it was “Eco by Green Culture” from Germany which I did not particulary like and significantly inferior to the more upscale amenities used by ION Adventure (Soley Organics) which are more common of luxury hotels in Iceland, and I also preferred the Apivita products at the Canopy Hotel (Hilton) in Reykjavik.

IMG_5944.jpegIMG_5945.jpegIMG_5946.jpegIMG_5947.jpegIMG_5948.jpegIMG_5952.jpegIMG_6070.jpegIMG_6068.jpeg

Dining

Breakfast was ok but not great for international standards so I can easily imagine some travelers being moderately disappointed in Ranga, but after staying in 4 different hotels in Iceland and having some knowledge of the local standards, I can confirm that Ranga’s breakfast is not bad. For starters breakfast was free which is not something that can be said of our stay at ION Adventure, even with Marriott Ambassador Elite status.  The big positive of Ranga is the restaurant itself which has large windows on three sides and looks very nice.  In terms of food there is little that stands out: regular hotel fruits, pastries, raw veggies, etc.  Fortunately they had smoked salmon and for a local touch they had Skyr granola available which was nice, and there is a small a la carte menu to go along the buffet but once again fairly standard, we just had omelets.  They charge extra for cappuccino or other special coffee choices which I think is questionable practice for a hotel which considers itself luxury, but it was the same at ION and Canopy so Ranga does not stand out negatively; perhaps that’s just the way it is in Iceland.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, I was surprised to find free flow champagne available at the buffet – champagne is free, but cappuccino is not, go figure!  I would also note that breakfast timing is not the most convenient because it only starts at 7am which is a bit late for people who want to go out for a long day of sightseeing especially in the summer with early sunrise.  Breakfast ends at 10am which is also a bit too early for people who plan to have a quiet day not far from the hotel and wake up late. However it was the same timing at ION hotel so once again that might just be local standards.  Perhaps not surprisingly, breakfast early morning was peaceful and quiet, and breakfast towards the end was crowded and loud.

IMG_5966.jpegIMG_5967.jpegIMG_5968.jpegIMG_5969.jpegIMG_5970.jpegIMG_5971.jpeg

We did not have dinner at the hotel but I noticed that the room service menu was very weak – soup, burgers, sandwiches, etc.  If you want to have dinner in the hotel it will be much better to go to the restaurant rather than stay in the room and given the size of the rooms you may not want to anyway.

Bar

The bar is a strong point of the hotel.  The variety of drinks is impressive and you can have some top quality champagne or wines, including Dom Perignon.  There is a small room upstairs with couches to enjoy your drinks; all guests also get a free welcome drink on the day of arrival.  

IMG_5960.jpegIMG_5961.jpegIMG_5965.jpeg

Game Room

The hotel has a game room with a Brunswick billiards table and some other board games.  I think this would be quite useful particularly in the dark, long, and cold winter days.  However there is no fitness gym – this not ideal for the winter.IMG_6161.jpeg

Wifi

Wifi was excellent with speeds of 30-45 Mbps.

Service

Service in the hotel was ok but Iceland hotels cannot be compared to Asia or Middle East.  The staff invited us to sign up for a northern lights wake up call automatically from the phone in our room.  It was still early in the season but the week prior to our arrival staff told us that one night was successful.  This service was better than at ION Adventure where surprisingly they refused to provide this service, claiming it was too early in the season.IMG_5964.jpeg

Overall

In conclusion Hotel Ranga will not blow you away particularly not the hardware and the rooms where ION Adventure is several levels superior to Ranga.  However Ranga is normally cheaper, has a better location for sightseeing and easier to access in the winter, and has free breakfast which will make Ranga more price competitive than it appears just looking at room rates.  So which hotel is better between the two we tried, there is no single answer so it would depend what an individual traveller’s preferences are: hardware, price, location, etc.  If someone plans on spending a lot of time in the hotel then perhaps ION Adventure is better due to the more recent hardware, however I am not sure there are a lot of people travelling to Iceland to stay mostly in the hotel like one would do in a warm beach destination for example.  Possibly people spend more time in the hotel during the winter than during the summer, but accessibility in the winter would make me more hesitant about ION Adventure so even in the winter I might prefer Ranga despite intending to spend more time on the hotel premises.  For the summer I think to maximize the number of areas of the country you can visit it is useful to move around and change hotels if not overly cumbersome so Ranga can be part of an itinerary rather than the sole destination.

Hotel Ranga Iceland (Small Luxury Hotel)

Would you like to write a review on the Hotel Ranga?

No, thank you.
Yes
escape4 is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 8:12 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: WAS
Programs: UA 1K, WN A-List Pref & CP, AS MVP, Marriott Tit, Hyatt Glob, Hertz PC
Posts: 962
The Real Housewives of Orange County stayed there on a cast trip to Iceland.
bhrubin likes this.
Duke777 is offline  
Old Aug 22, 19, 10:20 am
  #3  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeHyatt Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,603
The buffet spread layout looks like a 3* property. Cannot believe they charge extra for coffees either.
Aventine is offline  
Old Aug 24, 19, 5:27 pm
  #4  
Suspended
Marriott 25+ BadgeAman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,754
Originally Posted by Aventine View Post
The buffet spread layout looks like a 3* property. Cannot believe they charge extra for coffees either.
Thanks @escape4 for the review.

Wow, the furnishings and decor/amenities all look 3* to me.

Color me most unimpressed. This is SLH? Perhaps they focused on Small but forgot the Luxury entirely. This makes the ION look like a StR.
escape4 likes this.
bhrubin is offline  
Old Aug 24, 19, 5:30 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: YVR, ZRH
Programs: *G
Posts: 5,641
Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
Thanks @escape4 for the review.

Wow, the furnishings and decor/amenities all look 3* to me.

Color me most unimpressed. This is SLH? Perhaps they focused on Small but forgot the Luxury entirely. This makes the ION look like a StR.
There really aren't a lot of Luxury Hotels in Iceland that would be considered "luxury" in any non-Iceland context. The Blue Lagoon hotels (Silica & The Retreat) are probably the only ones that come to mind. We loved our stay at Silica (Retreat had just opened when we went but I've heard it's excellent too).
Smiley90 is offline  
Old Aug 24, 19, 5:49 pm
  #6  
Suspended
Aman Contributor BadgeMarriott 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,754
Originally Posted by Smiley90 View Post
There really aren't a lot of Luxury Hotels in Iceland that would be considered "luxury" in any non-Iceland context. The Blue Lagoon hotels (Silica & The Retreat) are probably the only ones that come to mind. We loved our stay at Silica (Retreat had just opened when we went but I've heard it's excellent too).
No doubt in terms of service. But the hard product here is woefully unimpressive. The hard products of many other hotels in Iceland are much more impressive. Blaming it on Iceland doesn't quite work.
bhrubin is offline  
Old Aug 24, 19, 6:09 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: YVR, ZRH
Programs: *G
Posts: 5,641
Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
No doubt in terms of service. But the hard product here is woefully unimpressive. The hard products of many other hotels in Iceland are much more impressive. Blaming it on Iceland doesn't quite work.
Oh yes for sure. Especially for the price you pay (and THAT is definitely an Iceland issue...) Ranga seems... average. I can think of several non-self-declared-luxury hotels we stayed at that had a better-looking hard product. We considered Ion but were also woefully unimpressed by the pictures/reviews of the hard product (and the isolated location might be a draw for some but wasn't for us). I was merely saying that outside of Silica/Retreat, we didn't really encounter/see anything I'd call "luxury" outside of Iceland.
bhrubin likes this.
Smiley90 is offline  
Old Aug 25, 19, 2:43 am
  #8  
Original Poster
Hilton 25+ BadgeMarriott 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Homeless
Programs: M&M SEN; AC SE100k; Qatar Plat; HH Dia; SPG AMB100; Hyatt Globalist; Fairmont Plat
Posts: 2,233
Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post
This is SLH? Perhaps they focused on Small but forgot the Luxury entirely. This makes the ION look like a StR.


You are correct that besides ION being about the same size room as Ranga, everything else was hugely one-sided in terms of hardware. Ranga could use some renovations.
bhrubin likes this.
escape4 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread