Amid a terrain abundant with lava fields, legends, waterfalls, geysers and volcanoes, I sit on a rocky ledge in a cave, part of a sprawling, subterranean, five-star spa with other sludge-sheathed souls, waiting to dry.
Just moments before, I had slathered myself with finely crushed, black-hued volcanic rock, rubbing and scrubbing every inch to exfoliate in advance of the mud. My next step will be a shower, then a full body smear of rare, green algae. In the end, I’ll douse myself with ice-cold water, put a hydrating mask on my hair, don a bathrobe and go about my business with visibly glowing skin.
I’ve been partaking of this 45-minute, all-included, self treatment, called The Ritual (which uses ingredients foraged and made on site) every day of my stay at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s premier hotel. I’m addicted.
Set amid the inky lava fields of southern Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, the Retreat reigns as an exquisite, design-centric resort, uniquely located on the shores of the storied Blue Lagoon, named one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic. While most visitors to Iceland take a relaxing dip in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon sometime during their stay, most schedule only a few hours at the mineral water complex before heading to points further afield in Iceland to hike, bike and pose before waterfalls, Iceland style.
As an answer to the many tourists who longed for an overnight stay at the lagoon, the Retreat opened in 2018, adjacent to the Blue Lagoon facility. The swish resort is an upscale wellness hideaway with private access to the healing waters for discriminating travelers.
What we love:
- Private lagoons that undulate like rivers, just steps from your suite.
- The yoga room with panoramic windows.
- The backdoor entrance to the public Blue Lagoon.
- The curative subterranean spa, with its cave-like rooms and underwater facing walls.
- The regional restaurant Moss, with gourmet regional fare.
- The unexpected wine cellar, where top vintages rest on moss-covered rock ledges.
Need to know:
- This hotel is ideal as a splurge stay for couples, as a base for exploring southern Iceland and as a safe haven for solo travelers.
- People can experience the Blue Lagoon without staying at the Retreat, as well as purchase a day pass for the Retreat’s exceptional spa and private lagoons.
- Visit from March to October if you hope to glimpse the Northern Lights.
- Icelandair is the best way to fly to Iceland.
- The Blue Lagoon produces its own beauty products from the silica, algae and black lava. Don’t hesitate to take some home to continue your bliss. Also, sign up for an in-water massage, which will likely be the best treatment of your life.