The Blue Lagoon Is Opening a New Retreat in the Icelandic Highlands — and Some Rooms Have Geothermal Hot Tubs

Take a first look inside the most-anticipated hotel coming to Iceland this year.

Adventure-seeking travelers flock to Iceland to climb glaciers and traverse the black-sand beaches of Vik, plunge into geothermal hot springs on the Reykjanes Peninsula, and hike around the waterfalls of the Golden Circle. And starting in July, the Nordic country is slated to add one more destination to the list. The team behind Blue Lagoon Iceland is unveiling Highland Base - Kerlingarfjöll, a new retreat located at the base of the Kerlingarfjöll mountain range in the country’s central highlands. 

Brown hills with snowy spots in the landscape of Iceland Highlands

Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

The Base is a roughly three-hour drive from Reykjavik, but in the winter months, it’s only accessible via a 4x4 super jeep driven by a professional.

“Full of adventure — from the journey to the experiences while there — Highland Base - Kerlingarfjöll will be unmatched for those looking to explore the remote, central highlands of Iceland,” Grímur Sæmundsen, founder and CEO of Blue Lagoon Iceland, said in a statement released to Travel + Leisure.

Aerial view of Iceland Highlands Base Hotel and Lodge surrounded by green hills and snow capped mountains

Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

Surrounded by rugged mountain vistas, the property will feature a range of accommodations, including the year-round Highlands Base Hotel, with 46 rooms and two suites (each with its own private terrace and many with geothermal hot tubs), and six stand-alone luxury lodges. Seasonally, guests can also stay in the A-frame Highland Base Huts or a riverside camp with shared kitchen, restroom, and shower facilities. 

Interior guest room at Iceland Highlands Base Hotel and Lodge

Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

Iceland highlands landscape view from large windows inside lodge at Iceland Highlands Base Hotel and Lodge

Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

The sustainably developed structures were envisioned by Blue Lagoon Iceland’s in-house design team alongside Basalt Architects and Design Group Italia, the same firms behind sibling property the Retreat at Blue Lagoon. Hotel rooms are outfitted with wood-paneled walls and Scandinavian furniture, and feature expansive windows showing off the surrounding nature reserve. 

For nearly a century, generations of Icelanders regularly returned to Kerlingarfjöll, first for mountaineering classes and hiking tours. Eventually, the area became a haven for summertime skiing, with a ski school, rustic cabins, and a dining hall. By 2000, the ski school was shuttered, but the destination remained open as a base camp called Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort. 

At the new Highland Base, visitors will find a range of activities throughout the year, from hiking across a network of trails, mountain biking using one of the resort’s electric bikes, snowshoeing, back country and cross country skiing, and snowmobiling. Also on-site is the 80-seat Highland Base Restaurant and Lounge, where adventurers can refuel with vöfflur — traditional waffles, served with cream — and other Icelandic cuisine. And, since this is Iceland after all, they’ll be able to soothe sore muscles at Highland Base Bath, the on-site geothermal hot springs.

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