The headlines tell the story: “How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus” (The New Yorker) and “Iceland now feels like the coronavirus never happened” (CNN). The country is part of the EU and so (ever-changing) restrictions apply. But Iceland itself is nearly back to what it was like for me when I slipped in and out last winter, just before the world shut down.
By that I mean I spent several days being pampered at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, where milky-blue geothermal waters lapped against the resort’s high, imposing walls of glass and concrete—when they weren’t warmly caressing me into a state of ecstasy. The only masks in sight were of the creamy, skin-softening type made of silica, algae and a lava scrub concoction.
The experience made me soft. Hydro-massages, guided flotations and walking around in a robe rendered me especially susceptible to the libations from the Wine Cellar—a cavern of lava rock walls lined with selections from Bordeaux (like the 2016 Alto-Cantenac Brown Margaux), the Loire (2012 Blanc Fume de Pouilly), and Burgundy (2012 Batard Montrache Grand Cru).
Local flavor came courtesy of the expertly mixed Tómas Collins and a Marberg & Tonic, both anchored by Marberg Icelandic Gin, “made with Icelandic glacial water, wild botanicals, fruits, and spices from distant shores.” Crafted in small batches by Thoran Distillery in collaboration with the resort, the gin was as bracing as the Icelandic air; Iceland Air, by the way, flies nonstop direct from New York/JFK to Reykjavík in partnership with JetBlue. Travelers in other U.S. cities need to cobble together itineraries via other carriers (FinnAir comes up a lot) and cities like London—though connecting through JFK is the most direct.
When we get moving again, Iceland merits your earliest consideration.