Saturday, October 13, 2018
We took AA 328 to DFW then AA 232 to Reykjavik to begin our trip, both flights were smooth and easy. Yes, Iceland Air has a direct, but I choose to go for the miles since I’m so very close to 1 million miles flown with AA, you can thank Russ and Tim for this mileage bug.
We used Iceland Encounter for all ground transportation. They were prompt and cars where great and so were the drivers.
We spent two nights at the Hotel Borg, centrally located in Reykjavik. The staff is friendly, and hotel is clean and spacious. We arrived around 9am and our room was not ready till 2pm. Ugh. We went to a local coffee shop and had a bite to eat and a coffee. Then we went to the small but very nice spa located in lower level of the hotel. It had a nice big hot tub, sauna and steamer and four lounging chairs. The manager Veronica was super nice and brought us pillows so we could take naps while waiting for our room. She even offered to give me a massage and I gladly accepted, and it was very good.
We spent the next two days walking the streets of Reykjavik and seeing all there was to see. The church, named Hallgrimskirkja, a Lutheran Church was very impressive and very simple and super tall.
The food was really amazing. We were both taken by surprise on how good the food was. The service and knowledge of food was just as amazing. Expensive but good. We highly suggest the following restaurants and local eats while in Reykjavik.
Fish Market ( we suggest the tasting menu)
Shell Fish Market Restaurant -Skelfiskmarkadurinn (get the fresh, cold water Oysters and the fish stew)
Street Hot dog (just do it – it’s really good)
Te og Kaffi Micro Roast – (awesome coffee – Thank you Chase for the recommendation)
Saeta svino Gastropub – local food and fun and good
APO TEK – really good food with great service
Eat the bread everywhere, it is truly the best no matter where you are.
Tuesday, October 16th
Air Iceland – NY126 to
45 minute flight on a small plane but it was clean and well-staffed.
Arrive Akureyri and was greeted be the staff of Deplar Farms (Thor) and agent of Eleven Experience (Ally Kranz).
We met up with all the other agents who were also on the FAM and it was a fabulous group.
Our transportation was a Mercedes Sprinter with 48in wheels. It was very impressive. This vehicle allowed us to drive over the mountain to Deplar Farms than to take the long way that would have added another hour to our transport of 1hr 45 min.
It was a lovely sunny day in north Iceland, which is rare this time of year. So rare that the Artic Sea was super calm – flat, no breeze, all sun. We immediately changed our plans to go Whale Watching. And whales we saw. Everywhere you looked there where whales diving, surfacing, and spouting. Magical in every way.
Stopped at a local restaurant for lunch, named GislieirkurHelgi (basically a coffee shop and bakery) for soup and salad and local beer and fresh bread. All was delicious.
Next stop Deplar Farm over the mountain with unbelievable views of the sea, sheep, rainbows and waterfalls in every direction. We were all in awe.
Deplar Farm is so very unique with a grass roof and geo-thermal pools and top of the line spa facilities. Each room is equipped with a steam shower and really great amenities. All are very comfy and really well laid out. The common spaces are large, and all have a large fireplace. The bar area includes a ping pong table, a fuzzball table, a pool table, lots a side tables for chess, dominoes, cards, etc. They even have a loft with every instrument to have a jam session. The star of the show is you and anyone else who wants to join you. It’s pretty cool, it comes equipped with a disco ball too.
The spa area is very open with large windows everywhere and has the following rooms:
Gong Meditation Room
Bathrooms and showers
Outdoor saunas and cold plunge pool (Viking Style)
Indoor hot tub and pool that leads to the outdoor geo-thermal pool with a swim up bar that looks like Frodo Baggins hut.
They also have a great mud room with large closets that are personalized with your name. The lockers include thermal onesies, personalized water bottles, chap stick, Kleenex and over boots. It is great to have since, you only need to bring small down jacket, scarf, ski gloves and a hat. Your hiking boots are perfect for every adventure and they have boot covers to protect them.
During our stay we went snow shoeing hike in the mountains, horseback riding, four wheeling and of course a full spa day. Kayaking was canceled due to foul weather. We also visited the town of Siglufjordur, the area where all the Herring was fished and where the Icelandic people became rich. We did visit the Herring Museum, which was very interesting and a great part of history. Tim and I are pretty sure that very few people have the Herring Museum on their bucket list, but if they do, it will not disappoint. Before heading back, we stopped by a local brewery for a tour. Its name is SeGull 67. Good beer but tour was a bore and not worthy.
The food is served in the dining room with all guests in the house. The food is incredibly good and served like a 5-star restaurant. Wine pairing is offered at every dinner and lunch.
Deplar Farm has another building just at the foot of a mountain and on the side of waterfall called the Ghost Farm. It is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath cottage and full kitchen, all updated and super charming. They use it for lunches during the Heliskiing season. We had lunch there as a group after snowshoeing in the mountains.
Friday, October 19, 2018
We departed Akureyri to Reykjavik then transferred by car to The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon.
The Retreat is well ran with a very smooth check-in and personally ushered to the room. The rooms are all very modern and again well appointed. No TVs in rooms or anywhere in the hotel that we could find. The hotel itself is very industrial modern with lots of concrete and iron and windows. The views everywhere is the lava rock which is covered in moss and the blue lagoon.
The spa is huge and goes on forever. All massages are done in the water (private area of the blue lagoon) Lots of relaxation rooms with cute names and designs like Fireplace, Nest (hanging swings), refreshment room (flavored water variety). They also have a Ritual Room, where you go through three steps of exfoliating, moisturizing and then algae glaze. You do it yourself or assist your partner. Showers are everywhere so you are showering with many different people. The entire concept of the retreat is pretty cool, but we also found it a bit cheesy, and it is not in any way private or exclusive at all.