Seek out a new and authentic holiday experience this summer. With vacation season almost here and international travel plans getting charted up, the seasoned Indian traveller seems to be gravitating toward off-beat holidays. From the non-commercialised ancient towns to virgin sandy beaches, travellers are looking for uncharted, experiential travel opportunities to explore different cultures and newer destinations from Fiji, Peru and Madagascar to Malawi, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Amidst these unconventional destinations on the rise, is one particular piece of gorgeousness – Iceland.
Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is a treasure trove of natural wonders, from volcanoes, mountains and lava fields to glaciers, geysers and hot springs. A visit to Iceland has always merited a soothing dip in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon – a geothermal pool located in Grindavik, just 15 minutes outside of Keflavik Airport. But the reason just got more compelling for indulgent holiday seekers, as the Lagoon just got a new address for luxury.
Opening this summer is Iceland’s first five-star hotel and spa resort, ‘The Retreat’, promising the nomadic luxury-traveller, the best of Iceland – The Blue Lagoon and The Northern Lights.The 62-suite luxury resort is built atop and into a private 800-year-old, moss-covered lava flow on the southwest side of the lagoon that traces its origins to the 13th century, snugly hidden away from any tourist stopovers. This daring cliffside resort is carved into Icelandic rock, designed as a contemporary all-glass façade and built with a certain naturalist minimalism that merges with the surrounding craggy landscape.
The Retreat checks all boxes for an avant-garde haunt, exceptionally planned with the highest standards of environmental consciousness at the core. Built as a sustainable development, the neatly designed resort will work on clean geothermal energy and is elegantly planned as a four-part complex. The Lagoon itself is integrated as the central design element with a private swimming hole extending out in one section and a subterranean spa in the other.
The interior is designed with a spare Nordic aesthetic which easily blends with the texture of the lichen-coated lava flow on the other side of the glass walls. Guests are certain to be completely enthralled with the mesmerising valleyscapes through the gigantic floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Each chamber is also designed with a balcony to bring in more nature, and has standalone bathtubs at the edge, peering over the horizon. You can enjoy watching a terrain come alive with activity with its fissures, mud pools, craters and hot springs while you relax in your swanky suite.
This resort has all the trappings of the opulent, with your own private lagoon topping that list and the ground floor chambers having a private access to the icy lagoon's fabled healing waters, rich in silica, algae, and mineral salts to rejuvenate your senses. Aside, there’s the cosy lounge and the library; a restaurant to sample the diverse Icelandic cuisine over a seven-course tasting menu, and yes, a personal waiter.
The jaw-dropper, however, is the unbelievable subterranean spa, cut down into the lava bed with a glass top to see some dancing Northern Lights in the sky and a steam room heated by lava built right into the rocks, along with a sauna and fire pits. The interconnected massage chambers run through to the lagoon waters for incredible in-water massage therapies with salt glows and silica scrub downs or algae wraps with seawater cleanses. The milky blue waters of this huge geothermal pool are heated to a toasty 37 degrees.
In the true spirit of the indulgent, ‘the retreat’ is conceived for both day and night experiences, offering a harmonious stay with nature and the timeless wonders of the revitalising warmth of The Blue Lagoon. Shall we go and pack then?