Located in the Fljot Valley on the Troll Peninsula in northern Iceland, Deplar Farm is the ideal getaway for those looking to go off the grid. The property is situated on a converted sheep farm and provides the ultimate home base to experience the area’s many outdoor activities, such as fat biking, hiking, skiing, sea kayaking, whale watching, and even surfing. After a jam-packed day of adventure, guests hightail it to the lodge’s inviting spa with its three treatment rooms, geothermal indoor/outdoor pool with swim-up bar, sauna and steam room, Isopod flotation tanks, gym and yoga studio, and outdoor Viking sauna. Those with luck on their side may also get a front-row seat to view the mystical Northern Lights from the pool.
With nature at the heart of the Deplar Farm experience, the lodge features floor-to-ceiling windows, which frame the surrounding peaks. In fact, in the spa, guests can kick back while enjoying epic views of the landscape. It’s also not uncommon to view sheep outside the yoga studio. Offering yoga classes, gong meditation, and massage, the spa, which has no official name, is a haven for relaxation. “Most of our guests go to the spa to relax and unwind after an exciting activity-filled day,” says experience manager Ingunn Sigurpálsdóttir, who manages the spa. “The outdoor thermal pool with its beautiful view is a great place to relax, and the Viking sauna combined with dips in the cold plunge is a great way to recharge.”
All guests at Deplar Farm are assigned a guide for the duration of their stay. The guide then crafts a truly unique experience for each guest based on the activities they want to experience. For some, that could even extend to time in the spa. Promoting the health benefits of the Viking sauna, guide Jack “Griff” Griffiths devised an experience with his fellow guides and the spa staff to encourage guests to take advantage of the sauna and pools for longer periods of time to reap the true benefits. “We know that people have been practicing hot treatments in Iceland and across Europe throughout history and due to the access to hot water underground,” says Griffiths.
“We also know there were rituals and treatments using cold waters in Celtic and Gaelic culture as well in Wales where people relied on the ocean and its healing properties.” According to him, the idea behind the Viking sauna is to incorporate different types of sauna styles, varying from cathartic screaming and revving up the circulation with branches to enjoying the silence and darkness. “This is all combined with a focus on cold water therapy, moving away from the Scandinavian focus of shocking the system and working towards focusing energy and sustaining time in the cold water,” he says. “It is a mind over matter concept, and it worked for me.” After alternating among the geothermal pool, sauna, and cold plunge, guests are given a shot of Brenavin, an Icelandic spirit; followed by a lemon and ginger shot; and finally, peppermint tea. The fire and ice theme corresponds to the elements that make up Iceland. Not surprisingly, the Viking sauna is a guest favorite. “The outdoor thermal pool also has a built-in bench, which is great for stargazing or watching the Northern Lights,” says Sigurpálsdóttir.
Inside, the spa features a minimalist design that helps guests feel closer to nature. With two full-time therapists and one yoga instructor, the intimate spa is focused on providing individual attention to each guest. According to Sigurpálsdóttir, the most popular treatment is a full-body massage ($150, 60 minutes). “Guests also love our gong meditation,” she says. This year, Eleven, the owner of Deplar Farm, will also be launching destination wellness experiences.
- Owner: Eleven Experience
- Spa Manager: Ingunn Sigurpálsdóttir
- Opened: March 2016
- Client Base: 50% female, 50% male
- Most Represented Countries: U.S., UK, Germany
- Space: 5,000 square feet; 3 treatment rooms
- Products & Equipments: Aesop, Mister Steam, Oakworks, The White Company, Tylo
- Architect: Kollgáta (Akureyri, Iceland)
- Interior Designer: No. 12 Interiors (London)