Stargazing just became more accessible in Iceland with the recent opening of a brand new observatory at the fabulous ranch-style, Hotel Ranga. Situated in the south west of Iceland with sweeping views of the surrounding Icelandic countryside, the skies have excellent clarity here with virtually no light pollution. The observatory itself has a retractable roof offering a 360 degree view of the night sky with no trees or large buildings in the way. This is the only public observatory in Iceland offering guided tours of the night sky by expert stargazers and it is also the most advanced. It houses two computerized eleven inch high quality reflectors (of Schmidt-Cassegrain type) by U.S. telescope maker Celestron. One is fork mounted and intended for visual observing only, while the other is on a so-called German equatorial mount for taking photographs of the night sky. Although Iceland does not experience 24 hours of darkness, the Sun is only visible for about four hours during the darkest part of the year, making it possible to observe the stars for about 20 hours non-stop! Hotel Ranga is also ideally located to see the Northern Lights – if the aurora appears, the stargazing experts are on hand to explain the science behind them. After your time in the observatory, you can warm up in one of the hotel’s wonderful outdoor hot tubs.
The Amateur Astronomical Society of Seltjarnarnes in Iceland has been instrumental in building the observatory advising on equipment, the observatory itself and even moving their own telescope from Reykjavik to the clear skies of Ranga. Members of the society will be there every clear night for observing spending from 2 to 4 hours with hotel clients and offering them guided tours of the night sky with the help of a laser pointer. They will point out the planets and even far away galaxies as well as talk about the myths, legends and history of the constellations. Scopes can be turned to view amazing detail on the surface of Jupiter, see Cassini’s Division in the rings of Saturn and resolve details on the surface of Mars. Even the distant Uranus and Neptune are within your reach. The chairman of the society, Saevar Helgi Bragason, teaches astronomy to children, teenagers and adults from playschool to University level. He speaks excellent English and will be at Hotel Ranga on a regular basis. He was recently selected as one of ten young Icelanders who performed outstandingly in their field and in fact Saevar was elected as the 2014 single most outstanding young person in Iceland: see http://www.unawe.org/updates/unawe-update-1421/
William Chua Photography conducted 2 photography workshops in Iceland in February 2014.
There was a total of 27 photo enthusiasts from both the groups; mainly from Singapore, and some from Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.
Each group spent 2 amazing nights in Hotel Rangá with great view of the Northern ligths right outside their rooms.
In these two videos you can see the outcome:
Here is a very nice time-lapse video made by Shannon Avery of Hoo Films. The video provides some great images of various locations in South Iceland near Hotel Rangá. The video includes magnificent images of the northern lights as seen from Hotel Rangá (min 0:53 and min 1:48). The northern lights can be seen in Iceland from late August until mid April every year. Check out our northern lights special offer, the Age of Aurora special on our website.
This list was posted last weekend by Suzy Strutner in The Huffington Post.
Have a look and please tell us if you have tried or seen the places on this list.
It’s time to announce the winners for the 2013-2014 Hotel Rangá Northern Lights Photo Contest!
We received entries from 46 photographers who submitted over 150 photographs. The jury, consisting of two professional photographers and three staff members, reviewed the entries and selected the “best photograph” and another entry as the “most original”. In addition there was one photograph that received the most likes on Facebook.
We would like to thank all the competitors for the participation in the photo contest.
Here below you can see the photos that won.
Hotel Rangá received seven awards including the World’s Best Resort Hotel from the International Hotel Awards sponsored by EY and Virgin Atlantic. Hotel Rangá competed against a number of hotels and resorts from every corner of the world to receive this top recognition. The finest hoteliers from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the UK and the Americas gathered at the glamorous Grosvenor House Hotel in London in November to attend a gala reception and award ceremony to hear the long-anticipated results of the International Hotel Awards global competition.
World’s Best awards are given out to the world’s most impressive hotels for a variety of categories. A highly experienced team of professionals who cover the whole range of hospitality disciplines judged entries and selected winners. The chairman of the judging panel is Sir David Michels, retired CEO of Hilton Hotels.
To obtain the World’s Best award, a hotel must first be successful competing against entrants in its own country and obtaining the regional award as well. Hotel Rangá therefore received the International Hotel Awards as Best Resort Hotel in Iceland and Best Resort Hotel in Europe prior to winning the World’s Best Resort Hotel award.
Other awards received by Hotel Rangá include the Best Sustainable Hotel in Europe and Iceland awards, but the hotel management has made sustainability a priority in recent years. Hotel Rangá also received awards at the country level as the Best Hotel in Iceland and Best Hotel Website in Iceland.
Everyone at Hotel Rangá is of course delighted and extremely proud of this recognition by the International Hotel Awards. This tells us that we are doing something right, and we see this as an encouragement to do even better in the future.
We are starting a photo contest and the subject is Hotel Rangá and the Northern Lights. The period of the contest is from the 1st of September 2013 to the 15th of April 2014. All photos taken on this period of time are valid in the contest. 1st of May the jury, that consists of 2 professional photographers as well as 3 staff members of the hotel, will announce the best photo. All photos must be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with information about the photographer and what date the photo was taken. We reserve the right to publish all photos on our Facebook page and our website with the name of the photographer.
The price for the winner will be gift certificate for 2 nights stay in a Suite with breakfast buffet and dinner both evenings. The winner will be welcomed with chocolate covered strawberries and pre drink upon arrival to the hotel.
We will also announce two other winners; for the photo that gets most likes on Facebook and the most original photo. Both of the winners will receive a gift certificate for one night stay in a Deluxe room with breakfast buffet and 4 course luxury dinner.
In the article they say:
Iceland, of course, has no borders, has remote locations, is stable as a country and has virtually no world enemies. Its people are happy and the nation always ranks highly on the Global Peace Index. If world conflict erupts, Iceland is one of the few stable nations in the world unlikely to get caught up in the middle.
Read the whole article here: 10 Best Places to Live for Escaping World Conflict Travel Article at Expatify.
Hotel Rangá is a popular destination for couples from all around the world. The hotel specializes in weddings among other things and is also a great honeymoon destination.
The Me & My Wedding page recently featured Hotel Rangá as a part of their coverage of the Great Hotels of the World member hotels that are great honeymoon and wedding destinations. See the article here.
Great article on the New York Times that reminds us that Iceland is an all year around destination. While the Iceland summer, with its almost 24 hour daylight is magical, the winter in Iceland certainly has its appeal. This article is mainly about what to do in the Reykjavik capitol area, but there are bunch of things to do and see in the countryside. Getting out of town, away from the light pollution, will increase your chances of seeing the magical Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis for instance. And exploring the waterfalls and glaciers of South Iceland in their winter costumes can be a great experience. Hotel Rangá specializes in the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights season runs from early September to April. Check out our current Northern Lights special offer.