The harsh landscape and unforgiving surrounds provide a strong contrast with the bold brutalist aesthetic and stylish interior of the hotel, which has a contemporary, minimalist look featuring exposed concrete walls, salvaged driftwood, Scandinavian chic-inspired wooden furniture and giant murals.
Rooms, which are compact but stylish, continue the minimalist theme. Although sparsely furnished they have floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the rooms with light and provide spectacular uninterrupted views out onto the lake or mountains nearby.
The modern Silfra restaurant serves sophisticated Nordic cuisine; settle in for a sumptuous four-course set menu and look out for cured Arctic char, scallops and lamb. There’s a well-curated wine list to accompany the dishes. After eating, retire to the glass-walled Northern Lights bar to sip perfectly-prepared cocktails or Icelandic Schnapps and swap stories or listen to the Icelandic folk tunes being performed. Pause to paste your face against the glass as the Aurora Borealis break across the sky in a spectacular display.
You’re here for the outdoors though, right? And the nearby Thingvellir National Park provides it in spades. Tour the Golden Circle, stop to watch the Strokkur geyser erupt and catch the cascades plummeting over the Gullfoss waterfall. Sink between tectonic plates in the icy waters of the Silfra Rift, snug in a dry suit. Go glacier hiking, ice climbing and ascend a volcano – you can even descend into the crater of a dormant cone as well. Try horse riding, white water rafting and fishing. In the summer spot puffins on the coast.
After a day of outdoor adventure, sink into a thermal hot spring to recharge or return to the hotel where you can ease any aches in the partially exposed Lava Spa, where a languid sauna might lead to an Icelandic massage with herbs and ash from the notorious Eyjafjallajokull volcano and a long soak in the outdoor, naturally heated hot pool.