The breathtaking, seemingly alien landscapes of Iceland have transformed the country into a major tourist destination, perhaps none more so than the turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon. Nestled amidst the 800-year-old hardened lava flows of the Reykjanes Peninsula, 45 minutes from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, the lagoon receives roughly one million tourist visits each year — three times Iceland’s population.
Opened in 2018, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland (from $1,325/night; www.bluelagoon.com) offers guests unparalleled private access to the lagoon and its restorative properties, along with luxurious spa experiences from an in-water massage to The Ritual, a multistep exfoliating-and-rejuvenating treatment utilizing silica, algae, and minerals derived from the geothermal waters.
Overnight guests are encouraged to relax and take in The Retreat at leisure — morning yoga, breakfast in your robe and slippers, perhaps an afternoon hike up the nearby volcanic mountains. Rooms have no TVs but are instead impeccably appointed with sleek, chic hygge-style furnishings that encourage long gazes out the floor-to-ceiling windows at the rolling, moss-covered volcanic fields or the steam rising off The Retreat’s private sections of the lagoon. (In season, place a wake-up call to see the Northern Lights.)
Meals are without a doubt a highlight of a stay at The Retreat. The Spa Restaurant is a welcome respite between treatments, while the fresh lamb and seafood — Icelandic specialties — at the resort’s two in-house restaurants, Lava and Moss, are as transcendent as the scenery. Tasting menus are available at both, each course expertly paired with wines by sommeliers pulling from the resort’s well-stocked cellar, carved deep into the lava flows beneath the property.
Were it not for the dread scourge of pruney fingers, you might never leave.