Here's what it's like to spend the night at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon.

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Vanessa Wilkins trip to Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Credit: Vanessa Wilkins

During my first trip to Iceland in 2019, the very first thing I did upon landing was head to the Blue Lagoon, located in the heart of the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark. I'd read about the natural wonder for years, and was ecstatic that I'd made it to a dream destination of mine. As I relaxed in the mineral-rich waters, blissed out at the mask bar, and sipped on a crisp glass of prosecco, I remember thinking, "I wish I could stay here forever." Unfortunately, while it's not possible to become a permanent resident of the Blue Lagoon, I did the next best thing this summer: I returned to the country as a guest of the attraction's luxury hotel, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel & cod from Lava restuarant
Credit: Courtesy of Blue Lagoon

The Retreat Hotel

There are 62 rooms at the Retreat, and I stayed in one of the junior lava suites. Walking into the suite, I instantly fell in love with the understated nature of the room. The suite was spacious, intentionally simple, and designed to draw your eyes to the breathtaking views of lava fields and the lagoon just outside the bedroom. The award-winning architectural highlights included sleek Nordic furniture, a gorgeous white bathtub that served as the ideal setting for a post-lagoon wind down, and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that led to a private outdoor terrace where I was able to take in the magnificent midnight sun phenomenon from the comfort of my room. 

After a jet lag-induced nap and quick shower, I changed into my swimsuit, grabbed a robe from the bathroom, and headed out into the Retreat. Guests roamed the property in fluffy white robes and flip-flops, ready to wade into the pearly-blue lagoon waters. I walked out of the building and into the brisk summer air, then quickly made my way into the Retreat Lagoon for the first of many serenity-filled soaks.

Vanessa Wilkins trip to Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Credit: Vanessa Wilkins

The Retreat Lagoon

Wandering around the Retreat Lagoon was like stepping foot onto another planet. In contrast to the large crowds and boisterous energy of the Blue Lagoon, the energy at the Retreat Lagoon was much more tranquil, with a no-phones policy in place to ensure maximum privacy and solitude. As I explored the hidden canyons and coves looking for the perfect place to lounge, I couldn't help but admire the astonishing beauty of the Blue Lagoon — and Iceland's dedication to preserve this natural landmark. When I finally found a prime spot to bask in the geothermal hot spring, I sank into the water and slowly fell into a state of what can only be described as pure bliss.

Vanessa Wilkins trip to Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Credit: Vanessa Wilkins

The Spa Treatments

While all Blue Lagoon visitors have the opportunity to try some of the purifying face masks (as I did my first time around), the Retreat offers an array of enhanced treatments to completely detoxify and rejuvenate your skin. The Ritual is the Retreat's signature wellness offering, and the three-step treatment showcases the Blue Lagoon's exclusive skincare products, made with ingredients from the lagoon itself. I started with a face and body exfoliation scrub, followed by a moisturizing silica cleanser, and then locked in the reparative moisture with a nourishing algae mix. I was left with smooth, glowing skin.

There are also saunas and steam rooms located throughout the spa, but it's a secluded area of the lagoon where the most special treatment can be found: the in-water massage. Created and perfected at the Blue Lagoon, the one-of-a-kind spa experience is aimed at unlocking new levels of well-being in the mind, body, and spirit while using the restorative elements from the lagoon itself.

Sandwiched between a yoga mat and blanket, I closed my eyes and let my massage therapist work her magic. I felt all of my stress and worries melt away in real time as she anointed my pressure points with mineral-infused massage oil and guided me through the private lagoon area on my floating mat. The in-water massage left me feeling light, and it's without a doubt the most unique therapeutic experience I've ever had. 

Blue Lagoon Retreat Hotel & cod from Lava restuarant
Credit: Courtesy of Blue Lagoon

The Food

Between my daily massages and dips in the Blue Lagoon, I grabbed a bite to eat at either the Spa Restaurant or Lava Restaurant, both located just steps away from the lagoon entrance and offering light and modern fare to keep my energy up during the day. The culinary highlight of my trip, however, was dining at Moss, the Retreat's acclaimed fine-dining restaurant. Recommended by the 2020 Michelin Guide, Moss is located at the highest point of the Retreat, boasting spectacular views of the volcanic horizon. It features an incredible seasonal menu highlighting the freshest ingredients that Iceland has to offer. My seven-course meal included flavorful tastes of local produce, meats, and seafood, as well as a delicious wine pairing to complement each dish.

My four days at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon were unforgettable. This oasis was the ideal place for me to rest, recover, and reset from the worries of everyday life. I don't know when I'll be back in Iceland again, but the memories from this wellness getaway will last a lifetime.

Vanessa Wilkins is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Los Angeles. Follow her adventures on Twitter or Instagram.