Iceland’s tourism industry has surged in recent years. Visitors flock in increasing numbers to the island’s capital city of Reykjavik and now outnumber the locals by margins of up to 7 to 1 in some cases. The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa remains the country’s biggest attraction, now drawing over one million visitors per year — more than 2,500 per day.
An impressive feat, but those who’ve visited the world famous hot springs in recent years often found themselves in quite a conundrum. Stuck in a long line just to get through the ticketing queue, their visions of securing a private and peaceful spot to relax in the water were smashed before they even got into the locker room.
Visitor caps have been debated. Well-researched tourists have begun showing up hours before the facility opens in hopes of avoiding the lines, which depending on the time of year, often meant sitting in an idle car in the dark due to contracted daylight hours. But finally, the resort is optimistic of a solution — at least for those willing to pay for it.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland provides a sanctuary away from the crowds. The upscale hotel combines the natural beauty of the pools and the lava rock that surrounds them with an experience built to revitalize and rejuvenate. On-site amenities include back-door access to the waters, freshly made Icelandic cuisine, and of course, yoga classes. The steam room and cold well onsite mean that guests can partake in the Nordic spa ritual of hot and cold immersion, and afterward can wind down over a detox drink infused with local Icelandic elixirs.
Instead of showering in the common locker room, hotel guests can partake in what’s known as the Blue Lagoon Ritual — a process that involves immersing oneself in silica, algae, and minerals. All this feel-goodness promises ultimate relaxation before you take in the Northern Lights, which can be done via a private tour from the hotel.
Not too shabby — but you’d better be ready to shell out if this experience is calling your name. Rooms start around a cool $1,800 per night, and there’s a two-night minimum.