Carved into an 800-year-old lava field less than an hour from Reykjavík, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon delivers the heady double hit of an otherworldly landscape coupled with serene Scandinavian design. The interiors show a stylistic handshake between what’s outside and in, borrowing the slate grey of the rocks and the earthy tones from the moss that covers them. And as for those funnel-like fireplaces in the restaurant – well, they’re nothing short of volcanic. After spending your days bathing in the lagoon’s mineral-rich water or undoing Time’s work in the underground spa, you’ll feel you’ve earned the right to indulge at Moss restaurant, where Icelandic tasting menus and a world-class wine list await. If you’re lucky, your meal might even be capped by the Northern Lights dancing over the lagoon.
Gourmet Icelandic cuisine
Less than an hour from Reykjavík
A bottle of champagne
In the know
Also need to know:
All of the common areas are wheelchair accessible; the building only spans two floors, and has lifts. Some Junior Suites are wheelchair-adapted, too. Because of their direct access to the water, children under nine can’t stay in the Lava View or Lagoon Suites.
Load up your phone with ethereal tracks to play over the Bluetooth speakers in your suite – there’s no better companion to the mystical landscape outside.
Take inspiration from the landscape, opting for something dark but arresting. No pressure.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this hotel in Grindavík and unpacked their Blue Lagoon Iceland skin creams, a full account of their spa break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Retreat at Blue Lagoon in Iceland…
When the everyday begins to take its toll, you sometimes need a place that takes the phrase ‘out of this world’ to its near-literal limit. Thankfully, such a place exists, and it’s called The Retreat at Blue Lagoon. Nestled in a stark landscape of centuries-old lava, long since hardened into jagged, moss covered fields, the hotel is carved into a landscape that looks a little like what we imagine the moon looks like up close. Then you see the water: bright blue, almost milky, and balmy enough to produce clouds of steam that roll over the surface, shrouding everything in mist. Every one of the 62 suites looks out over this extraordinary landscape, and the calming effect it has is such that the hotel could have skipped on their spa entirely, and people would still come here with the sole intention of relaxing. But they didn’t. Instead, the hotel went not quite out of this world, but under it, building a state-of-the-art spa inside the lava field. By the time you’ve been to the cavernous steam room or sampled an in-water massage, there’s one thing you can be certain of – you’ll feel a very long way from everyday.
Nordurljosavegur 11, Grindavík, 240
24.1 mi / 38.9 km from city centre
- Valet parking
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Room service
The rugged landscape takes pride of place at Moss, where every table has a clear line of sight through the floor-to-ceiling windows. That’s not to say the designers have any need to hide behind the landscape, however – the interiors are sumptous, scattered with dark-wood tables and chairs in mossy tones, all of it lit be golden pendant lights that dangle down from the ceiling. Head chef Ingi Thorarinn Fridriksson and his team work from an open kitchen in the midst of it all, creating modern Icelandic dishes that take diners on a culinary tour of the island. Rigorous about sourcing local and organic ingredients, the kitchen team ensure everything can be traced back to its origins in the local mountains, farms and Icelandic waters. Diners choose either from the à la carte menu (the catch of the day is a very safe bet), or the five- and seven-course tasting menus.
You can’t beat the chef’s table, where you’ll be served the seven-course tasting menu in full view of the kitchen.
Breakfast is served in the lounge and the spa restaurant from 7.30am to 11am, and an all-day menu from 11.30am to 10pm. Dinner at Moss is served from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.
Breakfast can be served in-room from 7.30am to 11am, and there’s an all-day menu from then until 10pm, seafood dishes, beef tataki and chicken with quinoa. A reduced menu is available overnight, including paninis and gravlax.
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