Iceland: The ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland reflects the essence of the country and what Iceland is all about. I am happy to talk to Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir. She is a great representative of her country and tells me what Iceland is all about. She opened the ION Hotel in 2013 after extensive renovations to this former boarding-house for the workers from the nearby geothermal power station. And as the power station worked with less and less people, they no longer needed a place for them to stay.
IRMA: Sigurlaug, isn’t it unusual to have an adventure hotel next to a power station?
S.S.: Actually this place is very energetic; it is exactly here where two big tectonic plates come together. In Iceland we source all the energy right from the earth; and with the heavy winds and steam we create our own energy. The ION Hotel is almost in complete isolation and therefore we created a very special place for our guests so they can consume all the energy they can get. The power station runs with natural energy only, so there is nothing to worry about.
IRMA: How did you start your business?
S.S.: I worked as a flight attendant before moving to New York where I had a health education and got very interested in yoga and alternative health concepts. I was always extremely sportive and I do triathlon. Coming back home to Iceland was the perfect move to bring back everything I have learned and which could be useful in the combination with the resources we have in this country.
We have to work and live with everything we have in Iceland; we import very little, almost nothing, so people have to be very creative to find solutions.
When I found the former boarding-house, I had to think of a way to make it attractive to our guests and why they would come and visit us. We found the Los Angeles based architectural firm Minarc that was able transform an unremarkable building into something spectacular, where the outside, the surrounding landscape almost merges with the inside of the building.
IRMA: What are the things to enjoy while staying at ION?
S.S: We have a duo of Iceland’s most spectacular chefs in our restaurant. They are creating meals with seasonal ingredients from Iceland. We use the volcanic energy for our thermal spa, which is using only natural sources.
You can go hiking, for walks and we have closeby horse riding stables where you can ride with Iceland horses.
IRMA: Is it true that you are even not allowed to import any other kind of horse breed to Iceland?
S.S.: Yes, we like to live with what we have and make the best out of it.
IRMA: This is probably why I just had the best raw salmon I had in my entire life?
S.S.: Yes, thank you. We do not have to add much to our dishes, as the ingredients we use are so pure and fresh. We just add some of our volcanic salt and some Icelandicherbs and it is sure to taste wonderful.
Thank you, Sigurlaug!