Hótel Kría: Get to know Iceland inside and out
Text: Louise Older Steffensen | Photos: Hótel Kría
I t is almost a pity to besmirch images from Iceland with text: the stark, beautiful landscape of the North Atlantic island speaks for itself. In the middle of Iceland’s popular south coast, famed for its black-sand beaches, glaciers and waterfalls, lies the little town of Vík. Easy to reach from the capital Reykjavík all year round, it has become a popular place for Icelandic and international visitors even in winter. The warm, modern Hótel Kría gives visitors a taste of Iceland that perfectly accompanies the gorgeous countryside just on its doorstep.
Hótel Kría is named after the thousands of Arctic terns that make their way to Vík from the Antarctic every summer, the greatest migratory pattern of any animal. The terns nest and rear their young on the stark coast just outside the hotel, making for a cute and lively spectacle that can be enjoyed from many of the hotel’s 73 rooms. When the birds fly south again and winter comes, the aurora borealis instead puts on a show for the hotel’s guests (yes, the hotel provides a frequent and very popular northern lights wake-up service). “Of course, we can’t guarantee that you’ll see them, but we do frequently see the northern lights. They’re never the same from night to night, but always magical,” says hotel manager Melkorka Ragnhildardottír.
Surprisingly, perhaps, the town of Vík is highly international, like most of the employees at Hótel Kría, who speak English and usually cover many of the guests’ languages. The experience at the hotel is thoroughly Icelandic, however. The hotel’s highly praised Restaurant Drangar serves up an exquisite selection of fresh, seasonal Icelandic ingredients, including Icelandic lamb and fish from the sea outside, while the staff have been highly praised for their warm hospitality and friendliness, which Melkorka attributes to Icelandic equality. “We have a really nice atmosphere at the hotel – everyone is well-respected and enjoys their job, which is something that guests always notice. Everyone feels welcome here.”
While the north-side of Iceland tends to get cut off from the international Keflavik Airport and Reykjavík, Vík is on the main road and within reach all year round. “We can book both travel from the airport and tours of the area for our guests, and people often appreciate our personal recommendations. In winter, I love the glacier hikes, and the nearby caves, mountains and famous Reynisdrangar basalt sea stacks are beautiful any time of year.”
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