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Stracta Hotel, Hella, Iceland

Stracta Hotel is a modern, stylish hotel in an ideal location for exploring the south coast of Iceland and the country's famous Golden Circle.

On entering the lobby we were immediately struck by the calm and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel's motto: 'Next door to Nature' is reflected not only by the hotel's superb location – with some of the most beautiful landscapes in Iceland right on the doorstep – but by the use of natural materials throughout the hotel, such as wooden furniture, hardwood floors, and soft woolen textiles.

From the hotel, guests can enjoy views to the Westman Islands in the south, and to mountains in the north and west.

Stracta Hotel offers several accommodation options. Alongside double and twin standard rooms, there are spacious superior rooms, and two luxurious suites. For families, there are also studios and two-bedroom apartments, which come with a small kitchenette for preparing basic meals.

All the rooms are decorated in classic Nordic style, with hardwood parquet flooring and relaxing, neutral colour schemes.

If you feel like a splurge, the suites are highly recommended. These are gorgeous – housed in separate, single-storey buildings behind the hotel, they come with a private hot tub on a secluded patio.

Inside, the suites are slick and stylish, with wood-panelled walls, and lots of lamps for creating just the right level of lighting.

There's a spacious, spotless bathroom, with shower – and also a freestanding bathtub, situated on a raised platform behind the bed. The bed itself is luxurious, with quality bed linen and comfortable mattress and pillows.

The suite has a lovely seating area, with a sofa that converts to a large bed – making this a good choice for families. There's also a bar area with tea- and coffee-making facilities and a fridge.

All guests have access to a brilliant outdoor relaxation area, with communal hot tubs and unique barrel saunas.

Because Stracta Hotel is in a rural area with minimal light pollution, there's a chance you might see the Northern Lights while soaking in the hot tub. You can also register with the hotel reception to receive a wake-up call if the lights are spotted while you're asleep – a great idea!

Food at Stracta Hotel is locally sourced wherever possible, and there is a pleasant restaurant serving a fusion of traditional Icelandic and international cuisine.

Breakfast was excellent, with a selection of hot and cold food served buffet-style. The make-them-yourself waffles were particularly popular – and delicious!

At breakfast, we were pleased to see a whole table of entirely organic produce – including cereals, teas, vegan milk alternatives and preserves.

Offering guests a choice of organic foods is just one way that Stracta Hotel is minimizing its impact on the environment. The hotel has a number of green policies – including reducing waste and energy consumption, environmentally friendly purchasing, and supporting the community by using local products and services.

Within easy reach of Stracta Hotel are a number of spectacular sights. Heading east along Route 1, you can visit the waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss – which you can walk behind – and Skogafoss. Both waterfalls are within a short drive of the hotel.

Heading further east you can see the remarkable Sólheimajökull Glacier – or even take a walk on it if you book onto a guided hike.

Continuing along Route 1 – about an hour and a half's drive from Hella – you arrive at Vik. This seaside town is famous for its black sand beaches and stunning coastal scenery.

Taking your time to explore this beautiful region of Iceland, then heading back to Stracta Hotel to relax in the sauna and soak in the hot tub, is a wonderful way to spend a day or two.