The Story of Hrammur the Polar Bear - Hotel Rangá


Hotel Rangá reception with a stuffed polar bear named Hrammur.

The Story of Hrammur the Polar Bear

One of Hotel Rangá’s most popular staff members and certainly the fuzziest is Hrammur the resident polar bear. Hrammur, who’s originally from Greenland, has the special role of greeting each and every one of Hotel Rangá’s visitors as they enter into the lobby. Hrammur means “paw” in Icelandic, he stands with his two front paws and huge grin in Hotel Rangá’s lobby He´s not shy, but he is quiet, so we asked hotelier Friðrik Pálsson to share the story of how Hrammur came to live at Hotel Rangá. It all started with a visit to Manuel’s Taxidermy Parlor on the outskirts of Reykjavik.

The Search for Hrammur

“As we are looking around at birds and foxes and so on, I notice a picture of the polar bear from the Nanoq in Kringlan mall,” says Friðrik. He is referencing the outdoor sporting goods store that opened in 1999 but went bankrupt in 2002. At the time, the polar bear was one of the mall’s main landmarks along with a 49 feet tall, fully functioning climbing wall.

“I asked Manuel if the polar bear was his work. He said yes so, I asked where he was now, but he didn’t know,” Friðrik says. “I can’t remember how I found him, but I finally learned that he was holed up in a warehouse somewhere. What’s more, the warehouse was owned by Baugur Group, the investment company behind Nanoq.”

Christmas is Hrammur’s favorite holiday

Finding a Home for Hrammur

He contacted one of the company’s directors, Finnur Árnason, who said the bear was not for sale. However, Friðrik would not budge. He had made up his mind and had to have the bear. So he pleaded with the director to at least let him borrow the bear.

“Finnur asks me if I even realize how big it is. I reply that of course I know he is quite big. I end up going to the warehouse to see him in the flesh,” Friðrik says. “I’ll admit, his height was a bit of a shock, but I got to measure him. Itook the measurements back to Hotel Rangá.”

This was before the west end of the hotel, where Hrammur now lives, was built. According to Friðrik’s measurements, he would just barely get into the foyer where the Iceland Quilt now hangs, and he would almost touch the ceiling.

Originally, Hrammur the polar bear was supposed to stand in the foyer where the Icelandic Quilt now hangs

Where Did Hrammur the Polar Bear Get His Name?

“So, I went back to Finnur and said: I have to have him.”

In the end, Friðrik got his wish. The bear arrived in a large moving truck and even though the staff had to remove a ceiling light to get him in, Hrammur found his new home at Hotel Rangá. But of course, he wasn’t named Hrammur then – in fact, he didn’t have a name at all.

Hotel Rangá decided to get the local children involved and invited them to partake in a naming competition.

“There were dozens of excellent suggestions and one girl suggested Hrammur,” Friðrik says. “There was a very distinguished panel of judges and we invited all the kids to come to celebrate with us.”

Hrammur means “paw” in Icelandic, and today Hrammur stands with his two front paws and huge grin in a new part of Hotel Rangá’s lobby, specifically designed for his 13 feet stature. He’s happy to be photographed and especially enjoys selfies. If you share any on social media, remember to use the hashtags #Hrammur and #HotelRanga so he can add them to his own collection

Hrammur posing with @the_vacationista
Hrammur in his christmas clothes with @Passionlovepursuite
@blacktomatotravel and Hrammur relaxing in the lobby
@stuartbrazell and Hrammur

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Breakfast in bed in Hotel Rangá's Icelandic Suite.
Breakfast in bed in Hotel Rangá's Icelandic Suite. Photo by Brent Darby.
Couple enjoys a romantic meal at the Rangá Restaurant.
Book a romantic dinner at our Rangá Restaurant and enjoy gourmet dining in the heart of south Iceland. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir.
Classic Icelandic Hospitality and Service

About Us

For over twenty years, Hotel Rangá has been at the forefront of the hotel industry in Iceland. Our focus has always been on classic Icelandic hospitality, gourmet dining and personal service. We offer everything from cozy Standard rooms to large and spacious Master Suites. All rooms are decorated with unique art and comfortable furnishings so that our guests can enjoy the utmost in well-being, relaxation and luxury. We look forward to welcoming you to Hotel Rangá and helping you to discover Iceland’s remarkable beauty.

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