"Adventurers" seeking untouched beauty of highlands leave destruction, incur hatred of locals
The National Geographic recently picked Hótel Húsafell in West Iceland as one of a few dozen Unique Lodges of the World. Hótel Húsafell is the only hotel in the Nordic countries and just one of four hotels in Europe to make the list. National Geographic explains that the 57 hotels on its list are "world-class hotels" which emphasize a dedication to environmental conservation, "offering guests intimate encounters with parts of the world not many get to know."
"A hidden gem"
National Geographic is not the first major magazine to recognize Húsafell as a hidden gem. in September the Forbes Magazine identified Húsafell as a "hidden gem" on the edge of Iceland's uninhabited interior "where Icelanders escape city life."
National Geographic agrees, describing the area around Hótel Húsafell as an off the beaten path destination surrounded by landscapes sculpted by lava and ice, yet an easy drive from Reykjavík. The hotel's emphasis on sustainability and design only adds to its allure, National Geographic argues.
"At a time when new hotels are popping up in Iceland’s most well-trodden places, Hotel Húsafell is delightfully homegrown, the creation of a family whose roots in the valley go back seven generations. It was built conscientiously, from the sustainable design and excellent craftsmanship of its furnishings to the rare birch forests that surround it, cultivated over many years by the owners.
Hotel manager thought it was a big joke
The hotel manager told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that the recognition is important for the hotel. The hotel opened in July 2015. Shortly thereafter someone from the National Geographic first contacted the hotel manager, who thought it was some sort of prank or joke, and decided to ignore the requests for information.
"I felt they were a bit aggressive, continuously sending messages and requests. I thought it was some sort of joke, so I just ignored the whole thing. It was only when I got a phone call from them, criticizing me for failing to see the value of responding to the National Geographic that I realized I should take this seriously."
Since then the hotel has been working with National Geographic to complete various assessments and reports to ensure that the hotel meets the requirements outlined up by the National Geographic.
A beautiful area
Hótel Húsafell is located in a wooded lava field in Borgarfjörður fjord in West Iceland on the very edge of the Central Highlands. Langjökull glacier is only half an hour's drive away, as well as some of Iceland's most spectacular lava caves, Viðgelmir and Surtshellir. Hraunfossar waterfalls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland are less than 15 minute drive away.
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