At the foot of Mount Hengill in Þingvellir National Park, lies a modern 45-room, boutique hotel, which offers more than just mints on your pillows...
Located on top of the convergence of two tectonic plates (you know, those things from geology class that cause earthquakes and create mountains when they bump into each other), is a hotel unlike any other. It sits upon two continents, North America and Europe.
It's the only hotel to do so in the entire world. Every year the plates drift further and further apart.
The Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland also provides a luxury stay surrounded by hot springs and next to an active lava field. Previously the building was used to house workers from the nearby geothermal power station. So, yeah, it's pretty much the world's most badass hotel.
"ION makes use of Iceland's unique geography in two ways: the biothermal energy is harnessed in a spectacular outdoor natural hot spring; and a glass building - the Northern Lights Bar - allows guests to admire the frequent aurora borealis displays." - The Daily Mail
According to The Daily Mail
Owner Sigurlaug Sverrisdóttir, who was born and raised in the region, knows all too about extreme weather, and said the Northern Lights never get old. She says: "This respect for Mother Nature is in our blood; our parents and grandparents certainly 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 fascinated about the lava, moss landscape around ION."
So, we're talking tectonic plates, bubbling hot springs, an active lava field AND an incredible view of the Northern Lights. Seriously, this place sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The hotel is beautifully-appointed with reclaimed materials, including wood, lava and Icelandic wool. Virtually everything is locally-produced from the Icelandic herbal bath products to the bed linens and organic and fair trade restaurant (which also aims to become Iceland's first Michellin-starred eatery).
And for those of you who prefer the extreme adventuring side of things, the hotel also provides mountain horseback riding, glacier tours, hot springs hikes, rafting and...probably coolest of all...snorkeling and diving trips to Silfra, where you can see the tectonic fissure yourself. How many people can say they saw, with their own two eyes, where the North American and European continents touch?
Lastly, an excursion that should be on everyone's bucket list...a sighsteeing tour of one of the world's most breathtaking waterfalls, Gullfoss. Oh yeah, and you can also check out Strokkur geysur, which erupts every 5-10 minutes.
This hotel is what bucket lists were made for.