The ION Adventure Hotel started with humble beginnings. The core of the building was originally built in 1991 as the staff building of the OR Green power plant. It had 18 usable rooms and a kitchen – and a breathtaking view. To turn the former industrial space into a hotel, Tryggvi Thorsteinsson and Erla Ingjaldsdottir of Minarc were hired. (Both are Icelandic, though their practice, Minarc is located in Santa Monica, CA.) The pair added 1000 square meters including 24 rooms, the spa, and the northern lights bar, all inspired by Icelandic nature and history.

According to Tryggvi and Erla, “The hotel property features one of Iceland’s most breathtaking natural settings. Near Thingvellir National Park, it is beautifully situated on the multicolored slopes of Mt. Hengill, with a dramatic view of Lake Thingvallavatn and the mountains surrounding the lake. With respect for nature, the hotel incorporates innovative materials, sustainable practices, and the natural features of Iceland into its design—an understated design that allows the extraordinary landscape to take center stage.”

While remote, guests at the hotel do tend to get plenty of “Adventure” time. ION Adventure’s owner, Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir, says, “We offer anything from hiking from the doorsteps of the hotel to the dormant volcano Mt Hengill, going inside of a volcano, diving between the two continents where the tectonic plates drift apart, ice climbing, snowmobile tour to the glaciers and the golden circle in a Super Jeep.”

The best season to see the northern lights just started in September and runs through April, and the remote location of the hotel is ideal to view them without light pollution interfering. In fact, Sigurlaug says, “The name ION is drawn from atoms or molecules linking us with the power in the surroundings (active hot springs, lava, volcanoes) as well as the northern lights. The Aurora Borealis is a combination of positive and negative loaded ions that creates the electrical ions and the lightshow.”

The popularity of ION Adventure has lead Sigurlaug to open the ION City Hotel in Reykjavik. See more of the ION Adventure’s Icelandic style in the slideshow!