#35 - Sounds Heavenly

Europe’s Most Sustainable Hotel Has Twin

Courtesy of ION

The land of fire and ice renders luxury difficult, and while most hotels in Iceland harness a rustic style, the Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel takes classy comfort to a new level: simple crème-de-la-crème beauty with a sustainable icing.

Award winning L.A.-based design studio Minarc completed the Ion Hotel in 2013, located just an hour’s drive from the city of Reykjavik. The firm brought to life the vision of hotel owner Sigurlaug Sverrisdottir, former cabin-crew member, and her husband Halldor Hafsteinsson, who previously held the position of CFO at the same Icelandic airline.

The hotel’s low carbon footprint, water-saving showers, organic fair-trade bedding and furniture built of sustainable materials allowed the structure to receive the 2014 World Boutique Hotel Award for Europe’s best sustainable boutique hotel, among many other awards.



Only a few years later and the Ion’s twin hotel welcomes guests within the city of Reykjavik. In March 2017, before the city version of the Ion reached completion, Minarc architect Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir and Sigurlaug Sverrisdottir opened the doors and offered a tour to ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

“You’re the first one to walk on this carpet,” Sigurlaug Sverrisdottir said.


The New Ion: Going In!


Before meeting Sigurlaug for our visit, we caught a few Icelandic artists working with spray bottles outside the building. Sigurlaug commissioned them for the outside wall motif as a way to augment the original architectural beauty retained after renovating the building. The result of their work has been attributed to their inspiration from traditional Icelandic weaving.

We left the artists and entered the construction zone, now the lobby in the completed hotel. Sigurlaug and Minarc architect Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir took us to the upper floors. Rooms on either side of the hotel offer incredible views of the city, and every detail within the room expresses Sigurlaug’s exquisite taste for art and design — the 18 rooms always boast of local artists.

One of our favorite aspects was the window reading nook with a view of the historical Hallgrimskirkja church.

Find a collection of hotel sofas on the virtual exhibition site ArchiExpo.


Courtesy of ION City Hotel

Courtesy of ION City Hotel




Check out more information on the hotel and enjoy images here. And why not book a room?

While walking down a long hall can often feel disturbing, or simply boring, the Ion City Hotel integrated classy design here too.


Courtesy of Ion City Hotel

Courtesy of Ion City Hotel




How to Design a Sustainable Hotel

The childhood friendship between Icelanders Sigurlaug Sverrisdottir and architect Erla Dogg Ingjaldsdottir, who co-founded Minarc with her husband Tryggvi Thorsteinsson in 1999, may have eased the design process between architect and client, but Erla reveals in an interview at their L.A. studio that designing a sustainable hotel:

“Is all about common sense.”

The ION hotel exemplifies the transition in hotel design to perfection, turning away from copy-and-paste and typical classic style typologies. Learn more about this transformation in our article “Disrupting the Hotel Industry“.

About the Author

American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of AgriExpo e-magazine and ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including her first novel.

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