Review: ION Adventure Hotel, A Member of Design Hotels, Nesjavillir, Iceland

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Much of your travels through Iceland are going to involve remote mountain landscapes and accommodation that is outside of the urban metropolis of Reykjavik. Our exploration of the Southern Coast line of Iceland had us based at the comfortable and boutique ION Adventure Hotel in Nesjavillir, Iceland.


This post is one chapter on our trip to Iceland, the United Kingdom and Morocco. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: ION Adventure Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels, Nesjavillir, Iceland.

We ended up selecting this place to enjoy a little visit to rural Iceland. The fact the property happened to be affiliated with Starwood Preferred Guest (now Marriott Bonvoy) was a bonus.

The history behind this hotel is that it used to be staff housing for the sulphur plant. The sulphur plant happens to be right next door and is on full view when you arrive as the hotel shares a driveway with the sulphur plant. The marketing team conveniently left that part off the brochure and website! What this means for the visitor, is that aside from the view on the drive in, the ex-employee rooms are quite small and institutional. However, ION Hotels has attempted to jazz up the experience and they have done that quite well for the most part.

“The ION Adventure Hotel is an interesting hotel dormitory conversion that allowed visitors to stay in the wilderness of Nesjavillir. While not luxury accommodation, it’s one of the easiest ways to be close to nature, despite sleeping in an actual bed”

Getting to The ION Adventure Hotel:

The ION Adventure Hotel is pretty much accessible only by private car. While there isn’t much around the property (aside from the sulphur plant), it is more convenient to be based a few hours east of Reykjavik in order to provide better access to the Eastern parts of Iceland that you may want to discover.

We self drove to the property, courtesy of a Hertz Car Rental. The sulphur plant is very noticeable on arrival to the property.

Arriving to the ION Adventure Hotel
Beautiful Landscapes Around the Property
The ION Adventure Hotel
A Contemporary Looking Hotel Surrounded by Mountains
Pleasant Views in the Middle of Nowhere

As we arrived to the ION Adventure Hotel in Nesjavellir, We were given a glass of Cava at check in. We were assigned to room #205 – which is pretty much as good as can be hoped for. It faced the lake away from the sulphur plant, whereas some others on the opposite side of the building would face the plant. There are no suite upgrades here and no included platinum breakfast since Design Hotels is exempted from this arrangement for some reason (despite usually having restaurants in their hotels).

The Front Desk at ION Adventure Hotel
A Lobby Lounge Area with Views to the Outside

A small but quaint restaurant. If you find yourself to this hotel during supper hour, this is the only eating facility for miles around.

The Quaint Hotel Restaurant

The hotel seemed to have many tours booked in here as there were several white tour vans parked outside.

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The Room: A Standard Room

The rooms were small dorm like accommodations consistent with this property being employee housing for the mill. The facility was converted over to a hotel in 2011.

The room itself was quite dark for my tastes but perhaps that is the point when the stars are outside on full display.

A Standard Double Room
A Reasonably Sized Bed
An Occasional Chair

Very tiny with an espresso machine.

Compact Spaces with a Television on the Wall
A Coffee Maker
A Small Stand Up Shower

Food and Bevarage:

The hotel had a Northern Lights bar which was quaint and cosy. It featured a glass wall that had full view of the outside. There won’t be any late nights here since it closed at 11 PM.

The Northern Lights Bar with it’s beautiful atrium windows
The Northern Lights Bar
Great Sunset Views from This Spot

The on site outdoor pool:

We had already had dinner so we headed down to the lava pool for a nice dip while watching the sun go down.

The Outdoor Pool under the ION Adventure Hotel

Given the remote nature of this place, there is not much to do here at night. There is only the restaurant, the pool and the Northern Lights bar. The only other comments that I’d make is that it is super quiet at night sleeping here. Not a word of a sound. This is what comes of sleeping in the middle of nowhere.

In other stay comments, I had lots of challenges getting the Marriott points owed from this stay. In a post integration world, I had to write Marriott no less than 3 times through the period of October 2018. Even then over 28 days, this effort didn’t get any love on Marriott’s part. I ended up calling in and the call center agent manually added the points while I read back folio information from the paper bill. It was obviously not a seemless transaction and worth mentioning as this may be part of your experience if you stay here. I can’t say for sure how much this was related to the Marriott / SPG Integration experiences but it was a hassle nevertheless for sure.

The Bottom Line: ION Adventure Hotel

The ION Adventure Hotel offered some boutique accommodations in remote Nesjavillir, Iceland. While the hotel was reasonably situated closer to the Southern Shore attractions, there isn’t much around the property itself and there isn’t enough at the hotel to consider it as a resort property worth several days of stays. I’d easily return to this property if my travels took us through this area again.


If you’ve stayed at the ION Adventure Hotel, did the hotel live up to your expectations?

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