The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
Nordurljosavegur 11, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
| +354 420 8700
The Retreat at the Blue LagoonWhy we love it: An exclusive oasis, sheltered from the crowds that have descended on Iceland
- Access to a new, private area of the Blue Lagoon reserved just for hotel and spa guests
- Rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and lagoon views
- Custom toiletries made with geothermal seawater
As Iceland’s popularity exploded over the last decade, the Blue Lagoon gained a bad rap for being a crowded tourist trap. However, the spring 2018 opening of The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon transformed a corner of the UNESCO-recognized Reykjanes Peninsula from a tourist attraction into an intimate hideaway, perfect for those who want to experience the mineral-rich waters in a cell phone–free private lagoon away from the selfie stick–wielding crowds next door.
It’s easy to spend the entire day here floating in the three newly created geothermal pools located within 800-year-old lava rock (don’t miss the unusual—yet deeply relaxing—underwater massage), but when you eventually have to go indoors, floor-to-ceiling windows allow the bright blue waters and the surrounding volcanic landscape to take center stage. Minimalistic-yet-cozy communal spaces, designed by Basalt Architects and Milan-based Design Group Italia (DGI), are equally pleasing to the eye, especially the living room–like lobby, which is decorated with oversized leather chairs and a 1,600-piece collection of ceramics from the Icelandic Museum of Design & Applied Art. Sixty-two guest rooms—all with deep stand-alone tubs and rain showers—look onto the lagoon or the surrounding lava fields (though don’t try swimming in this part, as it’s been intentionally left unheated so that you can enjoy the view with complete privacy). Before you check out, follow our lead and swipe the toiletries made with geothermal seawater sourced from the on-site volcanic aquifers.
When hunger strikes, guests can enjoy casual, healthy meals at the spa restaurant, or head upstairs to Moss for a seven-course meal at the chef’s table, hewn from lava rock quarried on site. It’ll likely still be light outside when dinner is over, so change into your swimsuit for a dip in the lagoon, which stays open until midnight for hotel guests (in winter, you might even catch the northern lights). After a breakfast of Icelandic skyr and house-made gravlax, venture farther afield to the nearby town of Grindavik to ride an ATV through the volcanic landscape. Retreat hosts can also take guests on guided hikes up the dormant volcano behind the property.