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
- Handicap Accessible
- 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
We came in June - it felt like adventuring to the great beyond up in the volcanic lava fields of Iceland where spring was awakening and then there it wad - the futuristic-looking Ion Adventure hotel. We arrived just after 9 pm but they kept the restaurant open for us - and several other tables of buoyant adventurers newly arrived back from a day of exploration. We had a late dip in the outdoor thermal pool and back at the room opened the window and were sung to sleep by a cacophony of birds up all night in the land of the midnight sun. Need I say more? 10 out of 10.
Part of the charm of this hotel is the remoteness! Rooms are small; industrial design; minimalist; beds are comfortable; and very clean. The breakfast buffet was tasty, as well as our dinner meal. The natural warm water pool was delightful, after a day of hiking!
This hotel is a must if you are staying in Iceland. Fair warning, it's remote! Don't expect to have a plethora of food options or things to do locally. This is truly an eco-resort. The staff are wonderful, the rooms are nordic chic and the intimate feel makes it feel like you are truly the only guests in the hotel.
Beautiful place to stay, in the middle of nowhere requiring a trip down one of Icelands notorious gravel roads but definitely worth the effort. Staff very welcoming and the bubbles were a nice treat on checking in . Beautiful rooms .
Staff at front desk and the bartender was top notch.
The good: Location and the outdoor pool was memorable
The Bad: This is not like a Marriott AC Hotel. It is more independent. The restaurant had an issue with our service. Seems that after we were seated for dinner a VIP ( Aren't we all VIP's?), our server stopped our service so he could fawn all over the new guest. They all seemed to forget about us and no server could figure out how to handle who should take over. Since you don't tip, you have no recourse.
It was a very solid meal and the ambience was top notch, it was just such a shame that the servers became so flustered by someone else. Also, the mens locker room was closed due to repair, but these things happen when traveling, cest la vie