Spa Business issue 4 2021

Page 84

Mystery shopper

Jane Kitchen, contributing editor, Spa Business

Out of the Blue

I

land in Reykjavik on a grey morning of drizzle and gusty wind, but even from the air, I can tell this is a magical country – a place of myths and legends. The coastline is edged in green, with wispy trails of volcanic rock disappearing into an unsettled ocean. The name Reykjavik comes from old Norse and translates loosely to ‘bay of smoke’ – so named for the steaming hot springs that are dotted across the landscape. Today, much of this thermal water is harnessed for energy, making Iceland one of the most sustainable countries in the

world. But the tradition of soaking in these healing waters runs deep in Icelandic culture, and as international interest in authentic experiences grounded in nature grows, Iceland’s winning combination of hearty outdoor activities combined with geothermal hot springs is making it a go-to destination for wellness. I’ve come to compare and contrast two recent additions to the country’s thermal offerings: the new Retreat at the well-established Blue Lagoon, and its new competitor – the Sky Lagoon – both of which are set within easy reach of Reykjavik and only 20 minutes’ drive-time from each other.

photo: retreat at blue lagoon

The land of fire and ice is heating things up, with an expansion at the iconic Blue Lagoon and a new thermal bathing experience in Reykjavik at the Sky Lagoon. Jane Kitchen paid a visit

The lagoon formed in the 1970s, but first opened as a wellness operation in 1992

photo: retreat at blue lagoon

84 spabusiness.com issue 4 2021