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In the heart of downtown Reykjavik, with views of the surrounding mountains and bay, sits Ion City Hotel. A boutique bolthole close to the capital’s many bars, restaurants, shops and cafés, the hotel’s central location makes it ideal for travellers wanting to soak up Reykjavik’s creativity and culture, as well as those looking to venture into the surrounding landscapes.
Well-thought-out interiors echo Iceland’s natural beauty with a neutral grey and white colour palette brought to life by wood panelling, glass inserts and splashes of colour, resulting in an atmosphere that is at once cosy and contemporary. Touches such as “bird’s nest” lighting from award-winning design studio duo Minarc and chic woollen curtains throughout elevate the hotel in the design stakes and set it aside from other accommodation options in town.
Each of the 18 rooms continues in the comfortable Scandi feel set out from the lobby right up to your classic room or “panorama suite” – which offers striking views over the Reykjavik city centre. Pale oak flooring, modish mid-century furniture, comfortable beds and leather touches make it an inviting place to rest following a day of pavement pounding. Unique features – think lava-covered walls in the bathroom – extend the “outside-inside” theme of Ion City while serving as a reminder of the wilderness waiting to be explored beyond the city’s confines.
What’s for breakfast?
A continental breakfast is served every day from 7am-10am in Sumac, a restaurant attached to the hotel. Ion City and Sumac’s owners are great friends; you’ll be treated similarly and made to feel very welcome. Breakfast typically consists of a generous bread basket, yoghurt and eggs.
How about lunch and dinner?
Sumac serves lunch from 12pm-4pm on weekdays only, and dinner from 5pm-11pm everyday. Head chef Hafsteinn Ólafsson won Chef of the Year 2017 and conjures up creative Icelandic cuisine with a North African and Lebanese twist in dishes such as local lamb ribs with lentils, grapes and almonds. Interiors are inspired by Beirut’s heady mix of cultures; exposed concrete, distressed wood and industrial light fittings meet burnt-orange banquettes, stylish greenery and an enviable wine cellar.
If you’re looking for something that bit more special, head to the tiny “restaurant within a restaurant”, ÓX, tucked away at the back of Sumac.
Is there are bar?
Yes, Sumac’s bar is open from noon until midnight. Popular among both locals and visitors, pull up a pew for imaginative Mediterranean cocktails served with an Icelandic slant.
Every suite has its own own sauna, while deluxe rooms cater to wheelchair users. There’s a gym for hotel guests and room service is available.
Things you should know
Although breakfast is easily available from Sumac, there are plenty of other options nearby. If you’ve got more than a day in hand, head to Sandholt Bakery just a few metres away on Laugavegur Street or or Bread & Co., which is equally close by.
It’s worth noting that the lower rooms can be a bit noisy, especially at the weekends. Bring earplugs or request a non-street facing room on a higher floor – the fifth floor is the best. Smaller rooms don’t have desks for those travelling on business, there’s no AC in summer and no assigned parking (though there’s often space behind the hotel on Grettisgata Street).
Within a short walk you will find…
Reykjavik is a very walkable city and The Ion City Hotel is located on the main street. Look out for Fish Company (a fine-dining restaurant), Bread & Co (for the best sourdough and pastries), Valdis (delicious ice cream) and Húrra (a boutique clothing and jewellery shop). The hotel is about a 40-minute taxi ride from the airport.
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