Championed as a luxury adventure hotel, Ion hopes to target those visitors to Iceland that are looking for scenery, curated adventure, fine dining, and boutique accommodations. I don't know when or where, but sometime before I even was planning a trip to Iceland, I came across a photo of the Ion hotel and was understandably impressed - a modern building, seemingly jutting out into the Icelandic landscape beneath the dancing colors of the Northern Lights.
Flash forward a year or so, and there I am planning a trip to Iceland with my best friend. For most of the trip we opted for cute B&B and guesthouse type places, but for our last night in Iceland, I couldn't get the image of that damn Ion Hotel out of my head. I'm sure you know where this is heading...
Located just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik, the drive to the Ion hotel is an easy one. We had spent the day in Thingvellir so cruised down south in the late afternoon along the lake to get to the hotel. Winding roads surrounded by snow covered rolling hills, the lake, and higher peaks in the distance - it's safe to say the drive to the hotel is beautiful.
We arrived at the hotel, checked in and headed to our room. My first impression of the interior of the hotel, was that the hallways were cramped and they seemed to have cheaped out on the finishes, thus far not screaming luxury to me. The room itself was modern & clean, but we were immediately a bit dismayed by the straight on view of a geothermal power plant. Nice. Later, when using the shower, the entire bathroom flooded with water. Another questionable design choice.
Dinner was fine, but nothing special especially compared to a few other dinners we'd had on the trip. The service was slow and the overall ambience of the space was lacking. Following dinner we explored the bar area on the front end of the hotel, probably the nicest space in the entire hotel. They had to get one thing right.
Next stop, the pool. Another architecturally interesting space with nice views, but the pool wasn't quite hot enough to compensate for the chilly outdoor temps and was only about 3ft deep, so not much swimming could really happen.
In conclusion, it's impossible to have a bad time in Iceland, but this hotel is a far cry from luxury. I think as time progresses, the choices in finishes will age poorly and rehaul of the entire hotel will be in order. In terms of value, you can do a lot better at other venues and still enjoy the lovely scenery around Thingvellir.