Guests visiting this winter can experience the spa’s newest treatment: Float Therapy, which launched in December. The in-water treatment, created by the aquatic healing experts at Flothetta, was designed to release tension from the spine and send bathers into a meditative state. Unlike your typical sensory-deprivation experience, the Retreat’s version pairs you with a “floating therapist” that performs personalized bodywork—from stretches and pulls to gentle massage and exfoliation—as you drift through the healing waters blindfolded. Thanks to the lagoon’s high concentration of minerals, algae, and silica, the treatment is as soothing for the skin as it is for the mind. With your ears submerged, the underwater sounds form a symphony that calms even the most high-strung bather. By the end, you may even be convinced to do like the locals and buy your own float set (complete with a helmet and leg floats) for solo sessions.
A nod to traditional architecture
More time in Iceland also means that travelers need not have to choose between the Blue Lagoon and newer pools like the Sky Lagoon, which opened near Reykjavik in 2021. Here, contemporary design is interwoven with nods to Viking traditions. The breathtaking 246-foot-long infinity pool, which overlooks the north Atlantic Ocean, is complemented by a traditional turf house and turf wall created using a centuries-old technique of stacking grassy swamp turf for optimal insulation. Even its circular cold plunge pool was inspired by the design of Snorralaug, Iceland’s oldest known natural pool. The original hewn stone basin is located in the village of Reykholt, where it’s believed that celebrated 13th-century literary figure Snorri Sturluson, who is credited for writing the world’s oldest accounts of Norse mythology, bathed regularly.
The social aspect of soaking was also heavily incorporated into the concept. “Hot pots are designed with inward-facing seating, so you can make conversation,” says Dagny Petursdottir, Sky Lagoon’s managing director. “We wanted to push this further by having one or two staff members in the lagoon for chit-chat.” That means after downing a refreshing glass of Töst, one of the many sparkling beverages served at the pool bar, the staff member who collects your plastic glass might share a few insider tips. Don’t be surprised if you end up staying longer than three hours—the average time spent at the Sky Lagoon tends to be double that of your typical pool, says Petursdottir.
Drawing travelers beyond Reykjavik
Travelers will also have a new reason for an extended sojourn in Akureyri, sometimes referred to as the capital of North Iceland, when Skogarbod (also known as the Forest Baths) opens in February 2022. With views overlooking one of Iceland’s longest fjords, the spa’s unique position surrounded by birch and pine trees provides shelter from the harsh winds that are known to cool down geothermal pools in the wintertime. And considering less than 3 percent of the island is covered with trees, it plans to make the most of its verdant surroundings by encouraging guests to forest bathe as well as soak in a 500-square-meter natural geothermal lagoon with two pool bars.