Iceland’s acclaimed Ion Adventure Hotel has opened a city outpost on Reykjavik’s main avenue, Laugavegur, with 18 Scandi-chic guestrooms offering moody views and ready access to the city’s cafes, bars and restaurants.
Housed in a retrofitted building, Ion City Hotel has been transformed by California-based Icelandic design firm Minarc, which has taken a traditional Icelandic sweater pattern and recreated it using textured aluminium panels fixed to the building’s facade.
The pared-back accommodation features a distinctly Icelandic palette of whites and greys contrasting with warm timber floors. Recycled wood-panelled walls serve as a backdrop to international design pieces and the latest technology.
Large windows afford great city views and flood the guestrooms with light (and in summer there’s plenty — about 22 hours each day).
The small standard rooms (20sq m) have a sofa by the window. The junior suite category features a balcony with private sauna and the premium panorama suite comes with an indoor sauna, separate living area and chef on call. Hotel facilities include a bar and a gym. Members of Design Hotels, both distinctive Ion properties have been developed by Sigurlaug Sverrisdottir, a former flight attendant who established an adventure travel company before opening the award-winning Ion Adventure Hotel in the southwest town of Selfoss in 2013. Committed to local design and environmentally sustainable buildings, Sverrisdottir decked out Ion Adventure Hotel in Icelandic rock, salvaged driftwood and local art; a Lava Spa deploys volcanic ash and clay collected nearby, while electricity is generated by cooling volcanic waters sourced beneath the geothermal landscape.
The landmark Perlan (Pearl) Dome, perched atop the city’s reservoir tanks; the fourth-floor viewing deck provides a 360degree panorama of Reykjavik and its mountain backdrop.
DINING IN: Iceland’s Culinary Olympics team director Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson helms the hotel’s in-house restaurant Sumac, where best quality local ingredients are given a North African twist.
DINING OUT: You’ll need to book ahead to nab a table at Dill, Iceland’s first restaurant to score a Michelin star. New Nordic cuisine and traditional Icelandic dishes get a modern, edgy twist by chef Gunnar Karl Gislason. For seafood try Arctic char at Fiskfelagid near the harbour, housed in a cosy 19th-century building. .
ASK THE CONCIERGE: If your only link with Icelandic music is an old Bjork CD, think again, the world’s northernmost capital claims a great music scene. Check out Hurra and Paloma.
CHECKING IN: From €459 ($685) including breakfast. More: designhotels.com.
ALSO TRY: Lyngen Lodge, Djupvik, Norway; Ion Adventure Hotel, Iceland; Fabriken Furillen, Stockholm, Sweden.
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