BUZZ

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

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.

DON’T MISS:

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.

CHRIS­TINE McCABE Highly orig­i­nal Dutch de­signer Mar­cel Wan­ders will put his stamp on the strik­ing new Mon­drian Doha in Qatar, open­ing in July; ex­pect 270 gue­strooms, rooftop pool, night­club and eight restau­rants and bars, with celebrity chefs Wolf­gang Puck and Masa­haru Mo­ri­moto adding their im­pri­matur • Avani Ho­tels & Resorts has ac­quired Metro Suites in Auckland and will un­der­take a ma­jor re­fur­bish­ment of all 370 gue­strooms, re­brand­ing the prop­erty as Metropo­lis Avani Residences in Oc­to­ber • The clifftop Banyan Tree Un­gasan in Bali is of­fer­ing 40 per cent off its best avail­able rate for weekend stays un­til March 31; the deal in­cludes break­fast daily, Wi-Fi ac­cess, non-al­co­holic mini­bar and a neck and shoul­der mas­sage on ar­rival • Man­darin Ori­en­tal will de­but in South Amer­ica af­ter tak­ing over man­age­ment of a 310room ho­tel in San­ti­ago, Chile, in Au­gust; the prop­erty will be fully ren­o­vated be­fore be­ing re­branded late next year • Sanc­tu­ary Re­treats has un­veiled a new-look Yangzi Ex­plorer; fol­low­ing a top-to-toe makeover of all 20 suites and 38 cab­ins in con­tem­po­rary Chi­nese style, the river cruiser will op­er­ate a se­ries of three and four-night lux­ury cruises pass­ing through some of cen­tral China’s most stun­ning scenery; fam­ily friendly “sum­mer camp” sail­ings are avail­able in July and Au­gust.

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