Location: Golden Circle
If you are a hotel snob like me, you really need to plan early. There are three luxury hotels in all of Iceland. The Icelandic tourism industry is working hard to meet the increasing demands but rooms book quickly. Rejykavik has a decent selection of hotels but to truly appreciate Iceland you need to stay outside the city. My family loved the Ion which is a 50 minute drive from Rejykavik.
The Ion Adventure Hotel is set on the edge of UNESCO-Thingvellir National Park, in the region of Nesjavellir in southwest Iceland. It’s a modern structure located in moss covered lava fields. The location in the Golden Circle allows for an ample amount of activities: hiking, super jeep tours, glacier climbing, hot springs, fishing, snorkeling and diving and much more.
A highlight of the property is the Northern Lights Bar glass walls. It’s the perfect lounge to view the view the Northern lights or midnight sun. After our days hiking and exploring, we enjoyed a local beer or spirit, played cards and loved watching the sheep wander right outside the windows. The menu feature fresh local ingredients as well as beers, liqueurs and spirits from Iceland’s many microbreweries.
My initial impression was that I had arrived on a movie set for the next James Bond film. The stark contrast of the building to the vast countryside highlighted the modern designed property within the beautiful Icelandic countryside. After a few days, I was amazed at how resourceful the property was with the design, restaurants and amenities. Everything is sourced locally from the geothermal water pumped in the showers and pool to the accents of locally salvaged wood, Icelandic wool and lava.
The hotel is built next to a geothermal plant which was a bit perplexing upon arrival. Somehow the stacks of steam fit the ambience. The rooms are minimalistic chic but inviting. It’s the location, design, views of Lake Thingvellir and fresh Icelandic food that make The Ion worth the visit and expense.