Iceland’s Top Attraction Finally Has a Luxury Hotel
Kim Kardashian swam in its clear blue waters. So did Justin Bieber and Beyoncé. But the celebrity crowd never had a five-star place to stay at the Blue Lagoon, the world famous, manmade geothermal spa just a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik. Until now.
The Retreat, a 62-suite luxury hotel within the complex, is finally welcoming travelers, and it’s poised to be a game-changer for both the Blue Lagoon and Iceland. The contemporary rooms all offer floor-to-ceiling windows so that travelers can best take in the destination’s sweeping landscapes. The suites on the lower level have private terraces facing the lava fields and surrounding waters. A few even offer direct access to the lagoon itself — so you can capture that ultimate selfie, away from the crowds.
No surprise, but wellness is a big component. The Retreat Spa offers a slew of amenities: a steam room, in-water massages, a cold well, and a full-service restaurant serving sushi, shots of thyme and crowberry, and cold-pressed beetroot juice. Smoothies use skyr, a local yogurt, alongside almond, honey, and chia. Spa guests at the Retreat can participate in a Blue Lagoon Ritual, whereby guests enter a series of interconnected rooms and cover their bodies with healing silica, algae, and minerals. Beyond the lagoon, complimentary yoga classes are also available, as are guided hikes and Northern Lights viewing tours.
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Though Iceland may not have the culinary renown of Denmark or Sweden, its restaurants are no less impressive, focusing on farm-to-table cuisine and innovative technique just like the rest of Northern Europe. Moss Restaurant at the Retreat highlights the area’s natural bounty: scallops from the west, reindeer sourced from the east, and fresh lobster and cod from the south. For a truly special experience, you’ll want to reserve a space at the 10-seat Chef’s Table, a seven-course menu that fully immerses you in the flavors of Iceland.
Built on an 800-year-old lava flow on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon complex also has another 35-room hotel, Silica Hotel, in addition to the Retreat and public bathing area. The facilities were recently expanded and renovated to accommodate all the added visitors, which now number over one million a year.