While the use of geothermal energy and recycled materials would normally be starting points for Gizmag's look at a new holiday destination like the ION Adventure Hotel, there's one element here that stands well above the pack – location. The hotel is nestled amidst the diverse Icelandic landscapes in the heart of the Mt. Hengill region, offering guests the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the spectacular aurora borealis or midnight sun, depending on which time of the year it is.
The ION Adventure Hotel opened its doors earlier this year and was built with the environment in mind.
"The fact that we are in a water protected area and the nature around the hotel is so rich we wanted to connect the hotel with the nature rather than have it stand out from the nature," ION's Assistant Hotel Manager, Katrín Ósk Sigurgeirsdóttir tells Gizmag. Local hot springs provide the hotel with geothermal energy and hot water, local wood such as driftwood was used to furnish most of the building's interior and all of the beds, lounges and chairs were built from recycled materials. Corrugated cardboard was used to make many of the hotel's lamp shades and recycled rubber was used for the restroom basins.
The hotel features 45 guest rooms, panoramic restaurant and bar, corporate and private event facilities, spa and heated outdoor pool overlooking the surrounding lava fields. The Northern Lights Bar is a highlight of the hotel, featuring double height windows and sweeping views over the landscape and starry night sky. And yes, as its name suggests the bar is an ideal spot to view the aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
"Guests can see the lights from the hotel," says Ósk Sigurgeirsdóttir. "The time period is from October to March and it changes each year for what month is the best."
Situated close to the popular "Golden Circle" tourist route, the ION Hotel provides a launching point from which guests can access local hiking trails, hot springs, horseback riding, snowmobiling, glacier walks. The hotel also offers specialized Jeep tours, white water rafting, fishing and snorkeling/diving at Silfra Frissure. Between May 20 and July 20 guests can experience the midnight sun, with the night skies remaining light as the sun never actually sets more than six degrees below the horizon.
The ION Adventure Hotel is 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Reykjavik and is open all year round, with prices starting from US$165 per couple per night.