• 12.19.13

Gorgeous Arctic Resort Totally Puts Your Winter Cabin To Shame

Surrounded by lava fields, with views of the Northern Lights and Iceland’s largest natural lake? Yes, please.

Folks, it’s time to take a vacation. This gorgeous little resort set into Iceland’s lava fields is too much to resist. The ION Luxury Adventure Hotel, designed by Santa Monica-based studio Minarc, is set into the hillside just outside Reykjavík near Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park.


Minarc, a studio run by two natives of Iceland, aimed to incorporate some of the country’s natural features into the design. Hot springs surrounding the hotel provide geothermal heating, and driftwood, lava, and recycled rubber were repurposed for its construction. The unadorned building is meant to turn visitors’ attentions to the epic natural beauty around it, like Lake Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake, and the mossy slopes of the Hengill volcano.

This is a hotel for a “traveler who doesn’t want his creature comforts interrupting the experience of, in this case, Iceland’s otherworldly natural wonders: lava flows, drifting continental shelves, the Northern Lights, glaciers, waterfalls, and hot springs,” the designers write.

The low, simple building, jutting out above the hillside, looks like a particularly pretty shipping container refurbished for human living. It “emerges from the moss covered mountain base like an enormous post pile wrapped in a sheath of hardened lava,” as the architects put it. Oh, and there’s a lava spa.

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.