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
Staff was very friendly and welcomed us with glasses of champagne. The hotel and room are nicely decorated, but not sure if the room we booked was worth the price (over $500/night). Our room was located on the ground level that overlooked a yard and we had views of other rooms and dining room above, so we felt slightly exposed. The location is very close to Thingvellir National Park, which was convenient for us since we were driving from the south towards the park, and the hotel is en route. Overall, beautiful hotel but pricey rooms that didn't live up to the price tag for us.
We visited the Ion in February 2018. It was during a spell of very bad snowy weather. The hotel was hard to reach but certainly worth the difficulty when we arrived. The room was excellent and the hotel facilities matched. The outdoor pool was interesting in the snow and ice! Definitely luxurious and worth the visit - maybe in easier driving weather.
Our stay was not bad, reseption was friendly although the hotel was fully booked. We got champagne as a welcome drink.
We were ready that the hotel is situated in the area with sulfur smell. Hot water in the room also containes sulfur.
Outside hot pool is small, only 60cm depth. The pool, spa lounge area were not so clean.
We did not take breakfast, the choice was very limited. North lights bar was ok, but nothing special in summer.
Our room was in the old part of the building, without conditioner, very high level of humidity.
The hotel is expensive, and has no price/quality balance. The only benefit of this hotel is the location for those one who plans hiking.
We stayed at the Ion Hotel one night and were able to use our Starwood points for the room. The hotel is very nice & the room was clean & modern. It was a long, out of the way, drive to get there & for that reason alone, I would not recommend this hotel unless you are there to try & see the northern lights (which we couldn't do in July). There was only 1 restaurant and if you are fussy eaters like we are, you may have a problem eating there. We read the menu in advance on-line and brought a pizza with us when we arrived. As we exited our car, some sheep were crossing in front of us...I joke that they were checking into the hotel!!! Breakfast is only the buffet and since we used points, was not included. (I don't know if it's included when you pay for the room) It was very pricey, but we asked if we could just have a cup of coffee and a roll and they were nice and let us take it at no cost. There was a hot pool outside which we sat in and took in the view of the mountains surrounding the hotel. It was very relaxing after a long day of touring! If the location is fine with you & you like their menu, I would absolutely recommend this hotel.
If you’re looking for a really nice boutique hotel in Iceland away from the city but close to the Golden Circle, with friendly staff, absolutely beautifully prepared and delicious meals and a private hot pool, this is the hotel to try.