Retreat to luxury lagoon


The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa best known for its healing properties, offers a thoroughly enjoyable experience

BASKING IN soothing, warm water with plumes of steam rising up into a cloudless sky, it’s bliss to luxuriate in the healing power of the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Iceland.

From trendy inner-city sanctuaries to holistic rural retreats, I have had more than my fair share of pampering. But nowhere has been like this.

Located about 15 minutes’ drive from Keflavik airport, the Blue Lagoon spa is situated amid miles of black lava fields stretching as far as the eye can see. Not a blade of grass or any evidence of wildlife can be seen on the approach to the lagoon – the only signs of activity are the silent streams of steam punctuating the rugged landscape.

The entrance to the spa is hidden in the volcanic rock; after being deposited outside the door, I catch my first glimpse of the amazing hue of the geothermal waters.

If it is possible to be both milky white and turquoise blue, then this is the exact shade of the pools, in sharp contrast with the surrounding black rock.

At reception, I am greeted by a team of efficient staff and provided with towels, robes and various wristbands which I am instructed to hand over in exchange for treatments, drinks and face packs.

Following the other newcomers, I go to the changing area, put on my swimsuit and head out into the lagoon. I am not disappointed by the sight awaiting me.

The iridescent water laps gently against the jagged rock formations surrounding the pool. There are about 100 heads bobbing about in the water, but there’s plenty of space.

I put a tentative foot into the water and find that despite the cool Icelandic air, the water is deliciously warm. The ground underfoot is uneven in places and I carry on until the water reaches my waist, then hunker down to ensure my shoulders are covered.

The Blue Lagoon has been voted the world’s best medicinal spa for the healing properties in the water.

This mineral-rich water is renowned for helping to restore healthy skin particularly for people with conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

I have suffered from psoriasis for a number of years and have given up on conventional medicine as nothing really seems to make a difference.

On a short visit, like mine, you don’t get the full benefit of a healing programme, but I am still anxious to see if it makes any difference.

In keeping with the rich natural environment, most treatments at the Blue Lagoon make use of the resources available and signature treatments include algae wrap, salt glow and silica massage.

Tubs of silica mud are located around the lagoon for guests to help themselves. Following the instructions provided, I lather it on my face while I wait for my in-water massage.

This takes place in a roped-off section of the water, where therapists work on clients who are lying on floating beds and covered with a blanket.

The combination of cold air on my face, warm water lapping around my feet and hands, the weightless feeling of floating and the firm pressure of a massage is a surreal experience.

For 30 minutes, I am “moored” on my floating bed to relax and unwind and whenever I feel ready, I return to the main part of the lagoon.

I make my leisurely way back to the poolside bar which serves juices, water, smoothies, Blue Lagoon cocktails and for one lively bunch of Scandinavians, locally brewed beer.

Handing over my remaining wrist bands, I order a smoothie and a frozen face-pack containing live minerals which I slather liberally on my face. The crowd at the bar (including me) hold our drinks aloft while the mud hardens on our faces.

After a couple of hours I shower off. I have been warned the water would play havoc with my hair, but I had been intent on getting as much mineral-laden moisture on my scalp as possible so my head had been dipped into the water several times. And afterwards, as instructed, I cover my hair with a liberal amount of the conditioner provided.

The two-hour stint in the lagoon hadn’t eradicated my psoriasis (a week-long programme is recommended for any noticeable improvement to take place), but my skin was definitely smoother and the red patches much less angry looking. And I feel revitalised and ready for more.

Blue Lagoon is an extraordinary mixture of spa luxury amid ancient, rugged surroundings.

It was relaxing, restorative and thoroughly enjoyable. But with a million visitors a year, you would be well advised to steer clear during the busy summer months.

Entry to the Blue Lagoon costs € 30 and the price of treatment varies. Blue Lagoon products are available to buy from the resort store – this allows spa-goers to continue feeding their skin with the volcanic minerals long after the visit has become a distant memory.