A Dream Come True
Hotel Varmahlíð – from Dream to Reality
Once there was a little girl who lived next to a big, beautiful hotel. She watched the people come and go from Hotel Varmahlíð in awe. One day she snuck over to the post office with some friends and pretended to mail a letter so that she could get a closer look. Peering through the window, she saw a huge dining room and people happily eating their meals and celebrating a special occasion. “Someday,” she promised herself, “this place will be mine.”
The girl, Svanhildur Pálsdóttir, has now grown into the woman who owns and manages the hotel. “I always saw the potential for transformation,” Svanhildur recalls, smiling at her good fortune. “I grew up just across the street and dreamt of making this hotel my own.” Svanhildur has worked hard to transform Hotel Varmahlíð into her own, down to the minute details such as which colour of flower to place on the table.
The dining room that Svanhildur once peered into as a girl now serves dishes using game or livestock brought in by her husband and brother-in-law. Smoked goose carpaccio, wrapped around small scoops of date chutney arranged on a bed of lettuce grown at a nearby greenhouse, piques salty and sweet taste buds. Warm rhubarb cake with vanilla ice cream and mango rhubarb chutney ends the meal with a melding of local and exotic. The menu belongs to Skagafjörðurʼs food chest, an effort by restaurants to use food that is around them rather than looking far from home. Summer dishes will focus on shrimp, cod, local cheese and/or lamb.
Each of the nineteen rooms at Hotel Varmahlíð has an en suite bathroom, television, alarm clock, and hair dryer. Its three-star rating ensures that nothing will be lacking and all overnight stays include a breakfast buffet. Hotel Varmahlíð is ideal for conferences and special occasions with the restaurant catering to the unique needs of each group and the hotel comfortably sleeping almost forty people.
Svanhildurʼs enthusiasm and knowledge of the area aids guests in discovering hiking paths that lie just up the sloping hills surrounding Hotel Varmahlíð. Tree-covered paths provide pleasant hiking on windy days, while short, yet rewarding walks are said to reveal nine churches standing tall on Skagafjörðurʼs horizon on a clear day and will enchant visitors to Hotel Varmahlíð, just as it enchanted its owner years ago.
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