EARLIER THIS MONTH I WAS IN ICELAND. JAW-DROPPING NATURAL BEAUTY, SIMPLE PARED-BACK DESIGN, AND A BLEAKNESS THAT SURPASSES EVEN THE REMOTEST PARTS OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS. NATURALLY I LOVED IT.
The Ion Hotel has got to be one of the most surreal places in the world to stay. An abandoned workers' inn turned luxury hotel, located in a barren, moss-covered landscape, so remote it might as well be on the moon. The interiors are all wood, sheepskin, concrete and lava, designed by the heroes at Minarc Design Studio. It's cool, calm and has a cosy, contemporary, Nordic vibe.
Next stop the Haukadalur Valley, home to several hot springs, including the Strokkur Geyser which erupts every few minutes, sending jets of boiling water up to 30 metres in to the air. Unsurprisingly this is quite a draw for tourists. Shame for them that the majority are herded back on to the tour bus without spending a night at the Hotel Geysir.
Housed in a low-slung corrugated iron building, the hotel isn't much to look at from the outside but inside are polished stone floors, wooden beams, battered leather sofas and twinkly hanging bulbs. The perfect place to curl up with a book and look out at the stars. And in the morning you can get up and hit the Geysir shop for hand-knitted Icelandic jumpers, oilskin jackets, sheepskins and furs.
We spent our last night in Reykjavik, at the Kex Hostel - an old biscuit factory furnished with vintage industrial and granny chic. It's a brilliant use of space and the hipster-filled, brick-tiled bar would give any place on the Lower East Side a run for its money.
GET THE LOOK
From left to right: Black Tipped Natural Icelandic Sheepskin £109, The Swedish Wooden Horse Company| Antique Books Wallpaper £185/roll, Abigail Ahern | Zaragoza Dip Dye Cushion £47, Rockett St George | Filament Bulbs, Heals | Soho Bar Stool £75, Rockett St George.