This Iceland Hotel Is Offering One Traveler a Month-long Stay If They Can Photograph the Northern Lights
The hotel is searching for its first-ever official "lights catcher," a photographer who will spend a month capturing photos and video of the night sky's colors in exchange for room and board.
The chosen photographer will also receive airfare to and from Iceland and must be available for three weeks from mid-September to mid-October, with the ability to provide high-quality content, of which the hotel will retain the license.
Located about a 90-minute drive south of Reykjavik in Hella on Iceland's southern coast, the countryside property is such a prime viewing spot that it has its own observatory with two high-end telescopes and a retractable roof (as well as high walls to keep out the wind). Local astronomers join the guests on clear nights to help point out the sky's spectacles.
In addition to the Hotel Rangá, the lights catcher will have access to its sister hotel, The Highland Center Hrauneyjar, in the Icelandic highlands, an even more remote location in the middle of the island nation.
To apply, photographers must fill out the application, which includes questions about social media reach, photography experience, previous travel in Iceland, and vaccination status. Applicants also need to answer why they should become the hotel's lights catcher.
Hotel Rangá has long had innovative incentives to draw visitors. Last year, it offered free stays to women who proposed to their significant others on Leap Day, and during the pandemic, it sent 700 free postcards to those who requested them for Valentine's Day and offered weekly waterfall photos to keep homebound travelers inspired.
While current travel restrictions to Iceland don't apply to foreign citizens with proof of a vaccination or prior infection, preregistration is required and current guidelines should be monitored at island.is. The U.S. Department of State currently has Iceland at a Level 3 warning, advising folks to "reconsider travel to Iceland due to COVID-19 related restrictions."