The Ion luxury adventure hotel, I think the name says it all. A fine cottage, out in the beautiful Icelandic countryside, a place I'll be coming back to for sure in the coming months.
We arrived late, it was already dark in this country where the light of day takes up only 4 hours every 24 during winter. The key was ready and we were shown to our rooms. A small room indeed, but very cozy and warm, with a view of the gardens covered with snow.
The lobby is vast, cozy and offers a warm feel. A large LCD screen, lots of wood and relaxing sofas, some of which are covered with fur.
At the end of the lobby, to the left is the restaurant with lanterns hang from the ceiling, long rectangular black wood tables, a ceiling covered with wood, long wood tiles on the floor... It's a beautiful restaurant.
Dinner was planned after a long afternoon of driving through heavy snow to get to Ion.
- Reindeer carpaccio with sweet onion purée and Jerusalem artichokes
- Grilled beef with pomme purée, leeks, celeriac and onion jus
- A selection of Icelandic cheeses
- Creme chiboust with fresh berries and ice cream
- Wines: Malandes Chablis Vielles Vignes and red Vidal fleury Cotes du Rhone.
Dinner started with warm brown bread and a homemade cream cheese spread. Tasty bread that was condensed and full bodied with lots of yeast and a cream that was smooth with a feel of lightness.
The culinary trip:
- The reindeer carpaccio was a first for me and surely a plate that made me fly over the clouds. A rich, pure red meat laid on a spread of sweet onion purée and topped with crunchy slices of fried artichokes, like chips, while some rocket leaves decorate the mountain. A crunch, smoothness, a sweet aftertaste... That's redefined finesse.
- Two slices of beef, juicy and red without being bloody, tender like you've never seen before, a grilled hard envelop alongside a potato purée, cubes of fried potatoes and an onion juice for flavor and a light sweetness. Simple and tasty, exactly what's needed.
- Icelandic white cheeses with thinly cut fried crispy bread, honey and walnuts, all served on a wooden board. Cheeses with a white envelope like Brie and Rochefort and a honey that flows smoothly without being too sweet. I loved the walnuts and peanuts mixed with sugar.
- The cherry on top, dessert was breathtaking! A bed of pastry cream topped with a pure white lemon sorbet, fresh berries and a mountain of flat meringue like an erupting volcano. Perfect to say the least. The textures, the crunch, the sorbet and the cream. Bravo a hundred times.
After dinner, we were invited to the Notre Therm Lights Bar, a high ceiling with large glass facades where you can experience the wonders of those famous skies with the changing lights. Unfortunately for us, that night it was snowing and the experience couldn't be enjoyed.
Back to the room, comfort is guaranteed. A coffee machine, a relaxing bed, locally made amenities and soaps, a hair dryer and a mini musical sound system that you can connect an iPhone to.
The minuses of the night:
- The room is heated from the small unit in the toilet, so you can't close the door, and not to mention the fact that the fan gives out a super annoying sound.
- The bed covers are too thin and too small for a Nordic country with a temperature of -5 outside
- A large bed indeed, but two small blankets, I didn't understand that.
A hot shower... Prepare yourself to smell the water. The strong sulfuric smell is something you'll get used to; don't be scared because this is the water they drink here.
Breakfast is served in the same restaurant, where a calm music enchants the space. Fresh smoked salmon, salmon with dill, the three Icelandic cheeses we had for dinner, cold cuts, sliced cheese, fruits, fresh juices, milk, nuts and cereals. I loved the croissants, enjoyed the bread, extremely tasty cheeses and an apple strudel topped with crunchy walnuts and filled with warm apples. This is something extremely tasty which I'd put in a Top 10 list of pastry items if we were in Lebanon. Puff pastry, crumbling like a mountain of cards, lightly warm and filled with a smooth apple purée that's not sweet and, on top, the sugared walnuts. A perfect start to the day.
A pleasant stay I'll be repeating sooner than you think.