Located on a former sheep ranch, deep in the valleys of Iceland's Troll Peninsula, Deplar Farm promises a storybook stay in a myth-infused landscape. The property combines luxury wellness with adrenaline-fuelled adventures, spa treatments inspired by Viking wisdom and front-row seats to one of the world's best natural displays, the aurora borealis.
Stay away if you're one for low-key laziness - Deplar days are expertly crafted from start to finish, packed with activities personalised to your preferences, no matter what the Icelandic weather may have in store.
After a day spent exploring the icy realms beyond the door, return rosy-cheeked to decompress in the Viking sauna, take a dip in the geothermal outdoor saltwater pool - while gazing up at, fingers crossed, the northern lights - and impress your lodge-mates with tales of your adventures.
Designed to blend into the landscape, the black timber-clad lodge - complete with moss-green living roof - houses 13 rooms, each named after Norse gods and prominent figures in Icelandic folklore. They're a cosy counterpart to the surrounding wilderness, honouring the minimalist aesthetic of traditional Icelandic farmhouses, but adding opulent white linens, Moroccan wools and sheepskin throws.
Opt for Grettir, the largest suite, for a palatial stay with your own private deck (expansive in size and offering far-reaching views), stone fireplace and soaking tub. If you're looking for something a little more homey, the four Gallery Suites, though smaller in size, come with mezzanine living spaces, hammocks and dramatic mountain, lake and river views.
Luxury continues through the en-suites, where you'll find underfloor-heated stone, steam showers and enough Aesop goodies to leave you smelling of rosemary, cedar and mandarin long after you've left. Don't forget to raid the in-room mini fridge for your pick of Icelandic treats.
Travelling with the whole family? Álfahóll, the signature bunkroom, kitted out with four double beds and a vast bathroom, awaits. Icelandic slumber party, sorted.
What's for breakfast?
Days start bright and early, but you won't have any trouble dragging yourself out of bed with the prospect of a Deplar breakfast ahead. Choose the daily special, or from the à la carte menu, which is laden with local flavours. Everything is prepared to order - and accompanied by barista-made coffee. North Atlantic salmon, eggs any way you like them, blueberry-topped pancakes and homemade granolas are among the offerings. With neighbouring farmers and fishermen making regular deliveries, this is source-to-table dining at its finest.
Alongside your chosen dish, expect individual fruit salads, warm-from-the-oven bread (delivered with a wedge of creamy sea salt butter) and freshly squeezed juices.
How about lunch and dinner?
Lunch is the most relaxed of meals at Deplar Farm. You'll find a light (but filling) spread of soups, sandwiches and salads waiting to fill you up, post-adventure.
Dinner is a little more lavish, but remains imbued with the retreat's laid-back, comfortable energy. Expect a three-course affair, each dish paired with a wine from Deplar's well-stocked cellar. Guests break bread at a communal table, over which the day's stories are shared, with chef Garðar Kári Garðarsson (Iceland's 2018 Chef of the Year) sending out dishes made using locally sourced ingredients. Highlights might include lamb ribeye and confit shoulder - the meat coming from the family-owned farm next door - lightly smoked Arctic char, and white chocolate mousse made with regional mysuostur ("brown cheese" - a whey blend with a distinctive caramel flavour).
Is there a bar?
Yes, there are two. The first can be found in the living room, or hang space, and is positioned to enjoy the "jam out" area - a lofted realm equipped with everything needed for an evening of live music, or, should the night call for it, a round or two of karaoke. It's open until the last guest heads upstairs. Order from the menu, or tell your mixologist your spirit of choice and give them free rein to work their magic.
As much fun as the indoor bar is, little beats the outdoor, poolside bar. Pick your spot, order your drink and sit back for an evening of northern lights watching. If the temperature heads south, we recommend an amaretto hot chocolate. You can thank us later.
Despite its location in the remote Fljót Valley, there's no shortage of things to do throughout the seasons. Sign up for the Eleven Life Deplar Farm wellness programme, and you'll be given a personally curated schedule of activities incorporating spa therapies, outdoor adventures and more.
Strike out into the Troll Peninsula's windswept edges in winter to drive snowmobiles over pristine powder, snow-shoe under fir trees and traverse the landscape's otherworldly terrain.
On the farm's grounds, you can ogle wild landscapes and, in the winter months, catch a glimpse of the northern lights from the comfort of the outdoor geothermal pool. Test your limits with the snow-capped Viking sauna (and the recommended post-session cold-water plunge) or find your zen with a gong bath in the meditation room. For those still looking to squeeze in their morning workout, there's an on-site gym, plus a line-up of morning yoga classes, while, come evening, movie lovers can head to the soundproofed media room.
What about accessibility?
Despite its remote location, the team at Deplar will take care of all things transportation. From the moment you touch down, you'll be escorted to and from all your activities, and the airport.
The queen-sized room, Thor, is designed to allow for the easy flow of wheelchairs.
Things I should know
Deplar Farm has twice as many staff as guests, so you'll be well taken care of. Your stay is tailored to your needs, starting with a pre-arrival form covering everything from preferred activities and food preferences to health history. Prepare to be pampered.
In true Icelandic style, community is key at Deplar. Guests eat breakfast and dinner together at the communal table, while lunch is individual to each group. If you're an introvert, you might struggle.
Everything during your stay is included in the price of your room, unless otherwise stated, so there's no need to worry about the bill at checkout (although the final figure might make you gulp).
Deplar is also available for a full buyout: if you're looking to celebrate in style (and you're not worried about the hit to your wallet), it doesn't get much better than this.
Within a short walk I can find……
The landscapes of the Troll Peninsula. What else do you need? While most activities happen on the Deplar grounds, some will take you beyond the valley. Catch some swells at Ólafsfjörður, go whale watching at Eyjafjörður and find Stífluvatn Lake an easy 20-minute walk away.
This article was updated on the 26 April 2022.
Rooms, activities, all food and drink (except wines from the reserve list) and transfers are included in the rate, which start from £2,540 a night. Disover more at elevenexperience.com