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
Thanks to the isolated location, there’s nowhere else to eat within walking distance
Parking on site
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Minimalist, design-forward triumph of modern architecture surrounded by the lava fields and mountains of Iceland
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.