Following the success of Hotel Rangá’s Royal Suite back in 2006, hotelier Friðrik Pálsson, his fellow owners and staff realized guests wanted a wider selection of luxury accommodation. After deciding to build seven more they settled on a theme: the continents.
Having already determined the four junior suites would represent Asia, Oceania, South-America and North-America and that African and Icelandic (in place of European) influences would be on display in two of the master suites, Friðrik and his comrades couldn’t decide how the last master suite should be decorated.
“Tinkering with the details makes everything more personal and special.”
“There was this idea of a religious theme but we weren’t sure that would fit and then someone came up with simply making the suite black-and-white,” Friðrik says.
“As we are discussing this someone realizes we haven’t made an Antarctica suite yet!”
And so, the continent that was almost forgotten became a reality as the seventh suite.
The black-and-white idea still worked though. The team found black and white couches and rugs, painted the windowsills black and decided on alternating black and white lamps and light fixtures.
Friðrik emphasizes that there’s no single architect for any of the suites’ interior. Each one is designed through a group effort involving owners, daily staff, carpenters, friends, family and more. For example, he remembers discussing the bathroom – shaped to look like an Antarctic pod house – with the electrician.
“We are working on it at one point and the electrician said: “Aren’t you picturing this as a hut out on the ice? Then you need to have outdoor lighting above the doors.” He got to decide, and that’s why we have two small outdoor light fixtures there.”
While much of the decorations in the other suites come from the corresponding continents, there aren’t many furniture makers in Antarctica so the interior is from all over. The couches are Italian, the two life-size Adélie penguins guarding the bathtub were carved in Canada and the futuristic class cabinets and chessboard were made by the Samverk glass manufacturer in Hella, a village 10 minutes from the hotel.
The pièce de résistance however, is the Wandering Albatross mural on the ceiling by English artist Derek Mundell, which watches over guests with its wingspan of nearly 12 feet.
It’s such details of design, that can be seen throughout the rooms and common areas, that elevate the Hotel Rangá experience.
“We try to travel the unbeaten path and allow ourselves the things that bigger hotels can’t,” Friðrik says. “Tinkering with the details makes everything more personal and special.”