Far, far away amid the mountains in a remote part of northern Iceland known as the Troll Peninsula lies this enchanting boutique retreat, which we might just think is one of the best places we've ever stayed. A sheep farm in the 18th century, Deplar was transformed into a family-owned adventure lodge in 2016, allowing visitors to experience the thrill of the great outdoors before returning to their lodgings for unparalleled five-star service.
Take advantage of the roster of activities on the farm's doorstep, from heli-skiing to "tölting" (more on this later), accompanied by some of the best guides around. After a satisfyingly tiring day, with rosy cheeks and aching limbs make your way to the sauna, recuperate in a flotation pod, or pick up a drink from the bar en route to the heated outdoor pool. We chose the latter, and were surprised by the Northern Lights as we took the first sip of our G&T.
Designed in a charming farmhouse style, each of the 13 bedrooms (the hotel sleeps 32) is spacious and elegantly considered. A muted colour palette complements the surroundings, with snow-white bed linen, wooden furnishings and exposed stone, softened by faux-fur throws and creamy rugs. Large windows open out onto views of the valley and the 3000ft snow-capped peaks that circle it, making your room an idyllic sanctuary in which to unwind and reflect on the day's achievements. Lounge in the in-room hammock, fall into your sumptuous bed or ascend the ladder from the main room to seek out the extra queen hidden in a nook queen upstairs. Don't forget to peek inside the minibar either, where you'll find treats such as hummus and bread crisps, all included in the price of the room.
What's for breakfast?
As with all things at Deplar Farm, breakfast is very personalised. Before arrival, guests are asked to fill out a form detailing their food preferences. Choose from a selection of yoghurts, homemade granolas, skyr (a popular Icelandic dairy food similar to yoghurt), various breads (including an excellent gluten-free option) and the obligatory cod liver oil laid out in a buffet. There's also the option of eggs any style or a cooked breakfast.
How about lunch and dinner?
Deplar Farm's chef, Garðar Garðarsson, won Iceland's 2018 Chef of the Year award, so expect some of the best locally sourced food and fine dining that Iceland has to offer. Lunch consists of one course with superb wine pairing while dinner is a longer affair; chef's choices include seared arctic char, seafood risotto, lamb with berry sauce and skyr mousse with chocolate crumble.
Is there are bar?
Yes, there are two. In the cosy living room, a bar stays open until the last guest hits the hay - this really is a home away from home. Order any drink you fancy then head to the "jam out" area, kitted out with electric guitars, a piano and various other musical instruments. While reliving Take That's glory days (aka when Robbie was around) is tempting, the bar by the heated outdoor pool is hard to beat, and stays open until 1am.
Although situated in one of the remotest corners of the world, there's no shortage of things to do and see at Deplar, both inside and out.
On the farm, soak up the scenery and catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights in the winter months from the comfort of the outdoor geothermal pools (floating helmets and arm pads are provided for extra comfort). Guest can also luxuriate in the Viking sauna and flotation pods filled with 500 kg of epsom salts (we advise not shaving just beforehand or you'll be in for a stingy surprise). For those looking to really zen out, free yoga classes and gong sessions are available every morning. Additional on-site facilities include two helipads, a gym and a media room for movie nights.
Beyond the farm, tester your risk-taking threshold with heli-skiing, snowmobiling, snow-shoeing, fishing, hiking and go-karting. Traverse the often tricky terrain by horseback and try your hand at tölting, an accelerated version of walking whereby the horse's body remains static while its legs move very fast. It's quite a sight.
Things you should know
With twice as many staff as guests, you will be exceptionally well looked after. In true Icelandic style, community spirit is celebrated at Deplar Farm; guests are encouraged to eat together but are by no means obliged to - ensure you make your preference clear at the start.
There's also no need to worry about any hidden costs - from meals to activities, everything is included in the price of your room unless otherwise stated. While this means that a stay does come with a somewhat hefty price tag, we've earmarked Deplar as a fantastic wedding location - and at £23k for 26 guests in a private lodge, it works out as cheaper than your average London wedding.
Within a short walk you will find…
Glorious mountain views and some of the freshest air imaginable, as well as easy access to all activities. Stífluvatn Lake is a 20-minute walk away and the country's northern coastline can be reached in just under 15 minutes by car.