Towering former Portsmouth star's unexpected retirement side hustle in homeland of Iceland

The former Pompey man's hotel offers views of the Northern Lights (Image: Getty Images)The former Pompey man's hotel offers views of the Northern Lights (Image: Getty Images)
The former Pompey man's hotel offers views of the Northern Lights (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

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The towering centre-back is known for crunching tackles rather than the blissful luxury that his side hustle offers in Iceland.

Former Portsmouth and Charlton Athletic star Hermann Hreidarsson followed many ex-professional footballers by moving into management after his playing career, but that's not the only professional exploit the 49-year-old commits his time to.

The centre-back, who made 123 appearances for Pompey between 2007 and 2012, returned to his home country of Iceland not long after his Premier League stint. He's still in the country now and involved in football as the manager of his hometown club ÍBV.

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However, it has also emerged that the former player has also made the unusual move into the hospitality industry in Iceland, with his own hotel around a one-hour drive from his team's ground. The Stracta Hotel is a family-owned business on the country's south coast, just an hour away from Reykjavik, and offers a luxury stay with the chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

The hotel's three-star rating perhaps doesn't do justice to its plush offerings in the 148 rooms. There are studio rooms and two-bedroom apartments also on offer with some rooms and suits boasting their own private hot tubs.

A night chez Hreidarsson will cost guests £112 for a standard room with more deluxe options seeing the price rise to £426. The hotel's website reads: "Stracta is a family-owned hotel located on the south coast of Iceland, about an hour's drive from Reykjavík and close to many of the most spectacular natural wonders on the island.

"Our Bistro is located on the ground floor of the hotel and on the second floor we serve the breakfast buffet, which is included for all guests, and our dinner buffet which we recommend for groups. From there, our guests can enjoy stunning views of the beautiful nature that surrounds the hotel such as Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla.

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"Guests are welcome to use the hotel saunas and hot tubs, located in the hotel garden, and we offer wake up calls when the northern lights show up. Many various activities are found nearby such as horse riding, hiking, kayaking, swimming, helicopter tours, golf and cave exploring."

A romantic hot-tub session under the Northern Lights offers a certain calmness that the physical defender was perhaps not best known for when plying his trade at Fratton Park. The hotel scores an average of 4.0 on TripAdvisor but recent reviews are mixed with two guests claiming a 'cold, rude reception' and 'worst service in Iceland', while others use words such as 'pleasant, very friendly' and 'charming hotel'.

Hermann Hreidarsson loved his time at Fratton Park (Image: Getty Images)Hermann Hreidarsson loved his time at Fratton Park (Image: Getty Images)
Hermann Hreidarsson loved his time at Fratton Park (Image: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Perhaps any visiting Portsmouth supporters would be afforded some special treatment in Iceland, given how much Hreidarsson enjoyed his time at Fratton Park. The defender has openly spoken about his love for the club and the people in the area.

While reflecting, he once said: "What makes Pompey special is the fans. The passion from the fans is second to none, they support you whatever. I was here for four years and all across the ride every game you know you have the backing of the supporters.

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"They are a different class. I loved my time here, they were amazing years. The pinnacle of my career was the FA Cup win, having all those trips to Wembley and celebrating with the people of Portsmouth."

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