Grindavík, Iceland

Photo: Moss Hotel & Lava Cove | Blue Lagoon Iceland

Iceland has been one of your favorite destinations for years. You started traveling to the Nordic country long before the budget airlines offered tons of flights from the United States, the Harpa concert hall was built along the waterfront, or a music festival was set up during the summer solstice. You’ve found the best restaurants in Reykjavík, waterfalls along the Ring Road, and glaciers in the center of the island. But, during all of these trips, you’ve never stopped at one of the most popular spots in the country.

That would be the Blue Lagoon. The geothermal spa, on the Southern Peninsula, is just 12 miles from Keflavík International Airport. It easily could have been the first or last stop on any of your trips. You definitely considered it. The photographs—of its bright blue water surrounded by black lava—are impressive. The thought of relaxing in the 100-degree mineral water—heated by the nearby Svartsengi Power Station—was tempting. But you were turned off by the crowds. Bathing with practically every first-time visitor to Iceland just didn’t seem appealing. So you continually skipped it.

You’ll no longer have a good reason to avoid the Blue Lagoon starting this autumn, though. A luxury hotel, Moss Hotel & Lava Cove, is opening a private extension on its south shore. The hotel’s spa and library, restaurant and lounge all have views of the 800-year-old lava flows and the pool that started filling in around them in the 1970s. Some of the rooms overlook the moss-covered lava fields. Others offer direct access to the hot water. They all feature floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek Nordic design, and muted colors. The beds and cozy chairs face the lunar-like landscape. The free-standing bathtubs do, as well.

So, during your next trip to Iceland, you’ll drive to Grindavík before heading to Reykjavík. You’ll sip tea by a wood-burning fireplace, cocktails around a fire pit, and icy water after relaxing in the spa’s lava corridors. You’ll eat a seven-course dinner—featuring food from Iceland’s farms and mountains, the surrounding ocean, and an on-site geothermal greenhouse—at Moss Restaurant. Plus, you’ll open the door of your Lava Room and finally slip into the Blue Lagoon’s sulfur-scented water. Have you started looking at flights yet?

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