The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland

Basalt and Design Group Italia collaborated to realize the luxurious expansion to the world-renown Blue Lagoon, a timeless retreat meant to give guests a sense of true relaxation and escape at the iconic Iceland oasis.

  • area / size 107,639 sqft
  • rooms 62
  • Year 2018
  • Location Grindavík, Iceland,
  • Type Hotel,
  • Encompassing a subterranean spa, a geothermal lagoon, a restaurant that reimagines Iceland’s culinary traditions, and a 62-suite hotel encircled by the Blue Lagoon’s mineral-rich waters, the Retreat is a place where guests can leave the world behind and enter a timeless realm of relaxation, rejuvenation, and exploration.

    The beneficial powers of geothermal seawater were first discovered in the early 1980s when local residents began to bathe in the warm blue reservoir that had formed in the shadows of the Svartsengi geothermal power plant. Engineers at the facility had expected the water to seep through the lava and return to the earth’s volcanic aquifers. However, owing to the fluid’s high concentration of silica, proper drainage did not occur and a beautiful body of water took shape.

    The lagoon eventually became the focus of intense scientific study, giving birth in 1992 to Blue Lagoon Limited, a company dedicated to the research and development of the water’s primary elements: silica, algae, and minerals.

    In 1995, with research confirming the healing properties of geothermal seawater, Blue Lagoon Ltd. launched a renowned line of skin care. This was followed in 1999 by the opening of the modern-day spa facility and, in 2005, a clinic hotel for the treatment of psoriasis.

    Today, many decades after the first inquisitive souls began venturing into the water, the Blue Lagoon has blossomed from a humble curiosity into an extraordinary destination that was chosen as a wonder of the world by National Geographic. Indeed, the story of the Blue Lagoon continues to be written with every guest who enters the water

    Preserving the bond between man and nature was at the forefront of the Retreat’s design and construction process. The architects were guided by the principle that building and geology should become one—unified by the convergence of form, function, and the volcanic earth.

    In some cases, features mandated by the design were not supported by the type of lava laid bare by the construction. Conversely, some lava was so unique and captivating that it compelled the architects to halt work so that they could devise a strategy for incorporating it into the masterplan.

    Channelling the shapes, colors, and patterns of the surrounding frontier, interior design throughout the Retreat adheres to the principle of timeless sophistication.

    At heart, timeless sophistication strives to establish a human connection to an extraordinary environment. When you enter the Retreat, you do not exit nature. Rather, you go deeper into nature.

    The atmosphere at the Retreat is informal and welcoming. For the duration of your stay, your host is your guide and your attendant—instilling in you a sense of belonging: you are at home here, although here is unfamiliar, otherworldly, and likely a place you’ve never been. Whether managing your itinerary, confirming your tour bookings, or alerting you to the imminent arrival of the Northern Lights, your host is at your service and the Retreat is a place of timeless comfort.

    Design: Basalt and Design Group Italia
    Photography: courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland