Ion Iceland Hotel aurora borealis

Just about any Iceland hotel sounds like an absolute dream, but this one is extra special. In fact, it might just be the most desirable winter getaway we’ve ever seen. Designed by architects Minarc, both of whom are natives of Iceland, the Ion Hotel is situated in the middle of some of Iceland’s most beautiful natural features.

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Ion Iceland Hotel
Ion Iceland Hotel sky

This isn’t a luxury spa getaway, however. This minimally decorated hotel doesn’t focus on creature comforts; rather, it allows each visitor every opportunity to enjoy the intense beauty of its surroundings.

Ion Iceland Hotel pool
Ion Iceland Hotel moss

The low building is situated on a hillside, with one end protruding out over the lower ground. It looks like a gigantic concrete shipping container which has been fitted with countless windows. It was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible to the breathtaking surroundings. Geothermal heating comes from surrounding hot springs, and other indigenous materials such as driftwood and lava were used in the hotel’s construction.

Ion Iceland Hotel cliffs
Ion Iceland Hotel cantilever

The Ion sits next to Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland, and among the slopes of the Hengill volcano. This terrestrial beauty is breathtaking, but from the Northern Lights bar one can even see the aurora borealis lighting up the night sky.

There are, of course, a few luxuries to make the trip even more memorable. The lava (magma, technically) from the volcano warms the outside pool, making it into an artificial hot spring, or lava spa. We would gladly give up television, room service and probably even a bed for a chance to stay in this haven of natural Icelandic beauty.

Ion Iceland Hotel guest room
Ion Iceland Hotel lounge

More from the architects

“The vision for the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel was truly holistic, requiring a design that reflects the natural beauty of the region with clarity and simplicity, in a manner that is environmentally considerate, while appealing to the desire for luxury that attracts the upscale adventurer—a desire that has been redefined by expressions of luxury that are smaller, more personal and intimate, and eco-responsive.”

Ion Iceland Hotel restaurant
Ion Iceland Hotel bar

“Knowing this, and understanding that a built environment often has a profound impact on the natural environment, our approach was to create a hotel experience as dramatic and otherworldly as the natural Icelandic surroundings, where the built and natural environments can coexist, integrate, even synergize.”