The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, Iceland

A short drive from
, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
offers jaw-dropping vistas and a luxury spa experience guided by
nature. Stay here to experience Iceland’s Blue Lagoon sans

Etched into the depths of an 800-year-old lava field, and with
direct access to the mineral-rich Blue Lagoon, The Retreat Hotel
lies a 45-minute drive south-west of Reykjavík. It’s the kind of
place where the natural wonders of the earth blend with stylish

Scandi design

In a setting as otherworldly as Iceland’s – volcanoes grumble,
glaciers carve and geysers pop and fizzle – the scenery from does
most of the talking here. The outside blends seamlessly with the
surroundings, while interiors draw inspiration from the landscape.
The result is a space where natural materials shine – think:
poured-concrete walls, slate floors covered with moss-coloured rugs
and fireplaces made from solidified lava. It’s all brought together
by huge floor-to-ceiling windows that let the endless light flood
in, while hypnotically blurring the line between myriad dazzling

Decor and jaw-dropping vistas aside, the primary purpose here is
to sink into a restorative, five-star luxury spa experience at the
world-famous Blue Lagoon, which is much easier to do when you’re
secluded from the hundreds of tourists that descend on it every
day. In truth, just being among this kind of sublime setting is
enough to put any problems into perspective – it’s hard to wallow
in a place as spectacularly stirring as this.


Brushed with tones of brown, grey and dark green, the suites are
bright and spacious with deliciously plump, comfortable beds that
face out towards the horizon. They’re divided over two levels – on
the ground floor they come with terraces, some of which provide
direct access to the water; while on the first floor there are
balconies offering panoramic views of the moss-topped lava fields
below. The showers have various spa-inspired settings and are
stocked with Blue Lagoon toiletries, which were developed at the
on-site science lab and infused with all the healing properties of
the geothermal pools.

What’s for breakfast?

Naturally, an abundance of skyr (Icelandic yoghurt), as well as
fruit, vegetables, salmon and cheese. There’s also an à la carte
menu offering some egg dishes and porridge. It’s a light, simple
buffet but presumably that’s because little fuel is required for
bumbling around a spa all day.

How about lunch and dinner?

There are a couple of lunch options. The Spa Restaurant has the
healthiest set-up with salads, sushi and juices, while the publicly
accessible Lava Restaurant serves heartier fare including meat and
fish dishes – albeit in a much more boisterous environment. Post
lunch, it’s all about the complimentary afternoon tea, an Icelandic
tradition showcasing a selection of cakes. Yet the best in show
undoubtedly goes to Moss Restaurant, where taste buds are serenaded
by an endless parade of flavours. Go for the seven-course set menu
and be wooed by the finest local ingredients reworked into
something truly memorable on the plate. A wise man would also take
the wine pairing.

Is there a bar?

There’s not a standalone bar as such, but drinks are available
from all the restaurants and, importantly, in the Blue Lagoon
itself. Ring a bell for service in the top pool and champagne (or
something less extravagant) is delivered through a cubby hole in
the wall. The novelty never gets boring.


There’s the Blue
itself, which is a much more restful experience when
you’re not battling with a queue of tourists to take the perfect
selfie. Plus guests benefit from the world-class spa, which has
lots of individual spaces designed to encourage relaxation, as well
as an underground cavern for enacting the Blue Lagoon’s unique,
four-step cleansing ritual, featuring lava salt and algae.
Treatments are also available – try the in-water massage for the
floatiest, womb-like rub down.

Things I should know

The hotel is a great place for admiring the sherbet pink hues of
an Icelandic sky at night – in summertime, the sun never sets. Come
it’s a fabulous viewpoint for the merry dance of the Northern
Lights – if luck is on your side.

Within a short walk I can find…

Seemingly endless black lava fields covered in olive-coloured
moss, and the highest hill in the area, Þorbjörn (Thor’s Bear),
which can be scaled every afternoon on a guided walk. Just don’t
step on the moss – it’s very, very sensitive.