Iceland’s most-visited tourist attraction and perhaps the most famous spa in the world has just added 62 rooms. The brainchild of Grímur Sæmundsen, CEO and founder of the Blue Lagoon, The Retreat brings the serenity back to this Reykjanes lava field and is seemingly miles away from the thick tourist soup that lies next door.
Super-sharp contemporary architecture fuses with the 800-year-old bubbling lava field. Floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights flood the hotel with stark white daylight, sending a shiver down your spine when looking outside (especially during colder months). Guest rooms are decorated in charcoal grey with moss green Icelandic sheep’s wool throws and dusky blue rugs picking up on accents from the electric-blue lagoon.
Less than an hour from Reykjavik and only a 20-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport, the Blue Lagoon is either your entry point to Iceland, or your last stop before home to rejuvenate.
International couples and families with older kids: some rooms are unsuitable for children under eight and under-12s can’t use The Retreat’s private lagoon.
By all means book a helicopter ride over the lava field, gaze on glaciers from the top of Mount Thorbjörn, and sample reindeer steaks, scallops and smoked Arctic char at New Nordic fine dining spot Moss Restaurant. But set aside most of your time to enjoy the hotel’s underground spa, built into exposed lava rock and moodily lit. Pampering treatments incorporate geothermal seawater, algae moisturiser, volcanic scrubs and silica mineral cleanses.
Away from the tourists in a private lagoon, you get the volcanoes all to yourself.