Located on the “Golden Circle” route of Iceland inside Thingvellir National Park is one of Iceland’s best resorts – ION Adventure and Luxury hotel. The ION is a perfect base from which to explore Iceland’s rich heritage, hardy flora and fauna, and myriad opportunities for adventure. We were staying at the ION while hiking, chasing waterfalls and exploring the areas around Þingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The hotel is a perfect combination of Adventure and Luxury, it has access to so many adventures around the area that the staff can arrange including horse rides and helicopter rides. After a day of adventures, you get to come back to the beautiful and well-appointed rooms featuring the gentle and friendly Icelandic horse images, endless views of the lava moss rocks to relax!
We had dinner and breakfast at the Silfra during our stay but heard that people drive all the way from Reykjavik for a meal here. We were there during summer so we didn’t have the opportunity to peruse the award-winning Northern lights bar which is perfectly positioned for viewing the dancing lights in the sky. But we enjoyed the midnight sun and endless view of moss rocks across the lava fields towards Thingvellir(Þingvellir) National Park.
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Rooms at ION Adventure & Luxury Hotel
Originally the barracks for geothermal power plant workers, the ION Adventure and Luxury Hotel was transformed into a concrete-and-glass Nordic-modern showpiece. It enjoys one of the best locations and views. ION Hotel is committed to using local products, everything from the artwork to the bath products to the food is sourced from the area.
The hotel prides itself on being sustainable – like using geothermal cooling for power and has earned a number of awards. The 45 rooms are sleek but comfortable featuring fair-trade organic linens and floor-to-ceiling views of Lake Thingvellir or Mount Hengill, an active volcano. We spent one night here during our 7 days in Iceland Itinerary.
Simplified Nordic Food at Silfra
The chefs at Silfra emphasize in what is called “slow food” that can be simplified as food made from the freshest ingredients available that is originated in the neighborhood of the hotel. The restaurant’s name derives from the Silfra rift in Lake Þingvellir. The rift is the most popular diving site in Iceland, it is the crack between the American and Eurasian continent with magnificent visibility.
The Nordic countries have a food culture that is pure, simple, fresh and seasonal. Noma, one of the top restaurants in the world has raised the profile of Nordic food. The New Nordic Cuisine served at Silfra embodies that Nordic principle and artfully combines new ingredients with the traditional fare. While hubby tried the Glazed lamb shank with cauliflower puree and pickled cauliflower, I had the crushed potatoes with homemade tomato ketchup, a side of sautéed kale with pine nuts and Sautéed tomatoes with a cheesy sauce made from skyr.
We learned the fish that is served at Silfra is from the rivers around the area and even smoked in the trees on site. The whipped butter and ice creams are locally sourced as well. What a wonderful feeling to eat locally where you can name the farm from which you butter, Skyr or Ice cream comes from. Skyr (pronounced skeer) is a remarkable dairy product unique to Iceland. It is smooth, high in protein and rich and has a tangy flavor and a creamy thick texture like Greek yogurt.
What I learned, is Skyr actually, is not yogurt. It’s a fresh skim-milk cheese, strained to a whipped-custard consistency. Because it’s strained to such a density, it requires about three times more milk to produce than yogurt, meaning it’s higher in protein and calcium. I had my Skyr every morning in Iceland with a spoon of jam to sweeten it.
They did not have a whole lot of vegetarian dishes except for one so I decided to eat around the side – which means I order all the sides and make it my meal. Kids had the chicken with crushed potatoes. The vegan dish on the menu was Roasted onions, napa cabbage, parsnip puree, beer and oats, I was just not in the mood for oat or beer, wish they had one more choice but I did like my sides and wiped my plate clean.
We had homemade waffles with local Icecream and berries for dessert. It was a wonderful feeling to eat clean, organic food made with simple ingredients.
Adventures at ION Luxury Hotel
Given the location and the comforts of the ION Hotel you probably wouldn’t want to leave. The glass Northern Lights Bar juts out toward the horizon, providing a perfect viewing spot when the elusive aurora borealis appears. Right beneath it is a large rectangular hot tub with views of the moss rocks and mountains.
The staff can arrange for a number of excursions, including fly-fishing, horseback riding, helicopter rides, kayaking and snorkeling in the Silfra fissure. Click here to make reservations for a stay inside the ION Adventure and Luxury hotel.
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