ION Adventure Hotel
What We Love
- Spectacular Northern Lights views from the hot-springs-fed hot tub, situated on the purpose-built deck
- There’s a real effort to be eco-conscious, from the driftwood furniture to the water-saving showers
- Everything from the art to the music to the beers is locally made, and even the Sóley Organics toiletries are prepared with Icelandic herbs
What To Know
- Rooms are spartan but do have coffee machines and Fairtrade organic bed linens
- Bathrooms are small
- Free WiFi
- Thanks to the isolated location, there’s nowhere else to eat within walking distance
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The hotel’s brutalist design – angular, big on concrete and glass, supported by pillars – is made even more impressive by its setting: it juts out of the side of Mount Hengill in southwest Iceland, which overlooks the nearly empty lichen-coated lava fields and rolling hills that border Thingvellir National Park. Once an inn for workers at the nearby geothermal plant, the hotel was re-formatted by Minarc Design Studio into a chic, minimalist hotel. Each room, though small, is decorated in typical Scandinavian style, with wooden floors, concrete walls, and a black-white-and-grey palette—but there are homey touches like throws made from Icelandic wool and the occasional wall-sized close-up photo of horses. The Northern Lights bar has floor-to-ceiling windows made with aurora borealis viewing in mind, but the scenery is worth lingering over at other times of the year, too, when there’s 24 hours of daylight. The Lava Spa adjoins the heated pool, and – “local” and “sustainable” being bywords here — the products are made from volcanic ash and locally sourced clay.
In the Area
While the hotel has an isolated feel, Rekyjavík is just an hour away. We’d suggest taking advantage of the hotel’s proximity to Iceland’s top natural attractions, though. Besides the Northern Lights, winter spells ice climbing and skiing, while in the warmer months, it’s possible to dive in Lake Pingvallavatn, which is just ten minutes from the hotel. Here, divers (wrapped in warm wetsuits) can swim in the seam between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. There’s also hiking, fly-fishing, day trips to hot springs and lots more, all arranged by the hotel.
How to Get There
It's the first hotel we checked into after landing in Iceland, driving straight from airport. The hotel's location is excellent for viewing aurora so I would suggest to stay a few nights here if budget allows. Their Northern Lights Bar has high glass panes that allows you to view the aurora without the need to brave the cold outside. They serve all 3 meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner but will require reservation for dinner. We were served two glasses of champagne as our welcome drink which was quite nice after a long and frightening drive in snow from the airport. If you are there, should go for a dip in their geothermal pool which is at the lowest floor.
Stayed 2 nights at this hotel. Very nice Spa and hot tub. Next to the Geothermal Plant. Great hiking trails from the hotel. Close to the Geyser and Waterfalls. We had the best views of the Northern Lights while staying here.
The Ion Adventure Hotel is a perfect spot to experience Iceland. Yes, it is remote and yes, it is VERY expensive. And yes, it is worth it. We have traveled extensively all over the world and only stay in 4-5 star properties. After reading many of the reviews on Trip Advisor we had some concerns about staying here after we booked. We should not have been concerned at all. It is a lovely setting. If you stay on one side of the hotel you look at a lake in the distance. On the other, a snow capped peak and the geothermal power plant. The power plant is not a big deal at all. Kind of neat actually. The rooms all have blackout curtains, so there is no fear of any light from the plant, which dim at night anyway, bothering you. The sulfur smell that some have commented on is in many places in Iceland and you can only smell it at times. We were greeted warmly at the front desk and offered a glass of delicious bubbles. Great way to begin a stay. Our rooms were not quite ready so we hung out in the lobby for a while. We got our rooms and were quite surprised at how charming they were. Yes, they are on the small size, but this is not a place to hang out in a luxurious room all day. The bathrooms are also small but really cool. I will say that the rooms could use a tiny bit of maintenance/updating. Our window sill was a little worn as was the bench for the suitcase. Also, our bathroom sink did not drain and it dripped. Easy things to overlook. But should be addressed for a property where the room rate is so high. The Northern Lights Bar is at the far end of the hotel and it is really cool. The cocktails are very good, albeit, VERY expensive. The food at the restaurant was absolutely delicious. Very nice selection and prepared with a lot of attention to presentation and flavors. Again, the food is VERY expensive. Breakfast, which is not included with your room, was a typical European buffet. Good selection, including fresh fruit. You can order a coffee at the bar for which there is a charge or if you have the buffet, coffee is included. There is also a Nespresso machine in every room. The breakfast not being included was a little odd, given that all over Europe, it is. The spa is small but the hot pool was more than adequate to hang out in. It's shallow so you just sit on the bottom. The surrounding area has some really good hiking trails and we did a 7 mile hike up and around the power plant. Great vistas and some surprises along the trail. The front desk staff was always kind and helpful. If you are looking for a place to stay that will truly give you the feel of being out in the Icelandic countryside, this is the place. Just try to forget about what you are paying and enjoy the experience. And yes, if money were no object, we would most definitely stay here on a return trip to Iceland.
My 15 and 8 year old and I ( single mom) stayed 2 nights in early November and loved it. I will come back with friends but found it great for kids as so easy to do portions of Golden Circle at your own pace. Kids ( and I) loved soaking in the geothermal pool at end of day. If your kids can ‘ do euro’ then they will love it . But if they will only eat American food and can’t get excited by amazing natural attractions and the hotel dog hanging with them - then may not work. Staff is amazing and we got to see the Northern Lights. Hotel called the bar, the restaurant, and every room and we all walked out to the lava fields and watched. Was so fun. I’m coming back
The hotel has a beautiful design. Our one night stay was comfortable. Front desk staff was very pleasant. Bar staff wasn’t very attentive and the pool area is much smaller than appears in the advertising. Overall our stay was nice but after spending 10 days in Iceland at a different hotel every night, I don’t feel this was the “wow” I was expecting after reading the advertisements.