There’re only two places on earth where tectonic plates are visible above sea level “Kenya's Rift Valley”, and in the south west of Iceland. A Hotel on the Edge of North America and Europe collide, which is the only hotel in the world where you can sleep on the edge of two tectonic plates. Iceland's Ion Hotel is magnificently positioned at the foot of Mount Hengill on the edge of Þingvellir National Park where luxury accommodation is set in an area where North American and Eurasian plates drift further apart each year.
The boiling water bubbles just 25feet underground here, so when it was built on the site of a geothermal power plant, its creators had to use building materials seven times stronger than standard materials used in Reykjavík. The luxury 45-room hotel is an extension and renovation of the old workers' quarters of the Nesjavellir geothermal power station, bought in 2011, with the intention of being the only hotel in this isolated and lovely part of the country. ION makes use of Iceland's exclusive geography in two ways: the bio-thermal energy is harnessed in a remarkable outdoor natural hot spring; and a glass building – “the Northern Lights Bar” - lets guests to admire the frequent aurora borealis displays.
Owner Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir, who was born in this region, and wanted to see flourish his area, so, he knows very well about extreme weather, and Northern Lights never get old. She says this respect for Mother Nature is in our blood; our parents and grandparents definitely knew not to mess with her. One month before I was born, in January 1973, there was an eruption on the Westman Island, a small island south of Iceland. Overnight almost the entire island was covered in lava. The rescue to move the islanders to the mainland was successful mainly due to the fact that all of the fishing boats were in harbour as these as were too rough for the locals to fish.
The first boat left with habitants to reach the mainland only 30 minutes after the volcano erupted. Even though I was born here, I’m still spellbound about the lava, moss landscape around ION. I still feel astonished when I see the Northern Lights dancing in the sky on one of my late returns from work. Even though you have experienced it numerous times before it is different when you’re outside of the city, it's much more intense. I also thrive from the energy; I find immense power in the Icelandic nature. Hence the reason we chose ION for the hotel's name.'
Everything about the hotel screams Iceland. Inside, lava, reclaimed wood and Icelandic wool are used to furnish rooms, bathroom products are made from Icelandic herbs and everything from the bed linen to the restaurant is organic and fair trade, in line with the island's robust emphasis on preserving its natural beauty. To experience the tectonic plates up close, the hotel offers snorkelling and diving trips to Silfra, the world's most easily accessible tectonic fissure, where visibility exceeds 330ft. It is here that you can touch the continents of America and Europe at the same time.
The restaurant - aiming to be Iceland's first with a Michelin star - serves up such delicacies such as reindeer, onions, spruce and bone marrow, smoked bone marrow ice cream, sea buckthorn and malt molasses and Icelandic langoustine, locally caught Arctic char and skyr often called “homemade yoghurt”. Venturing into the wilderness, visitors are offered a range of different activities from horse riding in mountains around Öflus, fly fishing on Lake Þingvellir, Sólheimajökull glacier tours, rafting and hot spring hikes. As well as excursions to the Golden Circle south Iceland's most famed exploring route, which consist of waterfall Gullfoss and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, containing the Strokkur geyser which erupts every 5 to 10 minutes, guaranteeing an 'ooh' or an 'ahh' from an ever captive audience. The restaurant - aiming to be Iceland's first with a Michelin star - serves up reindeer, Icelandic langoustine and Arctic char. Source: Charismatic Planet