Iceland’s otherworldly landscape made the perfect backdrop for the beloved Game of Thrones, which did some filming here. Iceland’s angry volcanoes, unbridled seas, ubiquitous rainbows, explosive geysers, waterfalls, glaciers, lava fields and jaw-dropping Northern Lights make it like no destination on earth.
You may have heard of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most oft-visited tourist attraction. It’s a man-made pool filled with mineral rich, warm water derived from 2,000 meters below the surface of the earth. The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, an upscale bijoux hotel, hewed into a vast lava field, is the Blue Lagoon complex’s newest addition. Located just 20 minutes from Keflavik Airport, the hotel lies on the lagoon’s southern shore. The Blue Lagoon and The Retreat are both the brainchildren of Grimur Saemundsen, a medical doctor.
The milky blue water is drawn from the center of the earth, filtered by the fields of lava. Pure and curative (especially healing for skin conditions, such as psoriasis), the H20 is the by-product of geo-thermal energy procedures. A high percentage of silica mud is responsible for its iridescent, creamy hue.
It is safe for swimming. It has been highly studied by top scientists. Residents began bathing in the pools a few decades ago, and noticed their skin ailments disappeared or improved. It turns out, silica isn’t the only advantageous compound in the H20. The water also hosts an algae unique to this specific water. Scientists find the algae can actually rebuild collagen damaged by the sun.
The Retreat has 62 suites, plus its own private lagoon pools. It’s adjacent to the Blue Lagoon itself, though — you can swim right over. Created with a Nordic sleekness that marries Italian chic, the design-centric hotel boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, which showcase the outdoors — including the Reykjanes Peninsula’s famous lava fields, spongy moss, mountains and, of course, a bevy of blue-toned pools and ponds.
A destination in itself for spa-lovers or ideal for bookending a longer trip to Iceland, this wellness haven immerses you deeply into the landscape. It offers three restaurants: Michelin-listed Moss with farm-to-table specialties, regionally inspired Lava and the spa café for light, healthy fare. There’s a free yoga class each day in a stunning, window-walled location, as well as a complimentary guided hike in the afternoon. But most guests will spend their days in the various, interlinking pools of water (entrance to the public lagoon is also possible) and in the immense, utterly relaxing subterranean spa.
The Retreat uses its own brand of Blue Lagoon products, developed and manufactured on site. Ranging from silica mud masks to lava salt scrubs, they utilize ingredients from the water’s largesse. A favorite for all guests, The Ritual is a do-it-yourself, 90-minute, three-part treatment, which takes place in a variety of dark chambers in the heart of the spa. Steps include exfoliation with lava salt, a silica mud body mask experience and an all-over algae finale. Also popular, water massages take place in a dedicated section of the lagoon.
Junior suites begin at $1,400. The price covers breakfast, unlimited access to the Retreat Spa and its pools, plus to the public Blue Lagoon. Also included: the Blue Lagoon do-it-yourself Ritual (as many times as you like), Blue Lagoon skincare amenities, free minibar (including wine and beer), butler-like personal host, resort fees, yoga and daily hike.
Nordurljosavegur 11, 240
tel 354 420 8700
Travelers interested in the trend of forest bathing have a new resource at their disposal. Forest Bathing Finder is an all-in-one website that connects forest bathing walkers with trained guides. Forest bathing guides list qualifications and venues, routes, walks and payment requirements for browsing forest bathers to then peruse.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Take a visual journey through Japan with us.
THERE’S NO DOUBT 2020 HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
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