Sky Lagoon-the newest hot water experience in Reykjavik, Iceland and it's AMAZING!
The bathing culture is everything in Iceland.
It's easy to figure out why: hot water provide by the endless volcanic activity is plentiful and the weather, even in summer, hardly goes beyond 65°F, so of course you want to warm your bones on the regular.
As a result, you have many bathing, hot spring, swimming pools and lagoon experiences from which to choose when you book a trip to Iceland. I found there were so many good choices, it was hard to nail down which would be best.
Sky Lagoon is one of the nearest and closest to Reykjavik. Being just 10 minutes out of town, it is significantly easier to reach than the more famous Blue Lagoon which is a 40 minute drive from where you are probably staying.
It was hard to pass up the Blue Lagoon...those colors are enticing, the social posts are almost irresistible. I had also read on some places that the silica in the Blue Lagoon water could make your hair like straw and all that silica sits on the bottom of the lagoon like sludge which I just knew wouldn't be a great sensory experience. I was also wary of crowding.
Comparing the two, Sky Lagoon is significantly less expensive: $49 for the Pure Package which includes the 7-step Ritual where the basic Blue Lagoon package is $60 and gives you a silica face mask and a drink.
So I made my choice and loved it!
Everything about Sky Lagoon feels elegant, starting with the stunning architecture, low lighting and impeccable staff. It's very high tech too. When you check in you are given a wrist band attached to your credit card, so everything you want to buy just goes on account. When you leave, you drop your band into a scanner and walk through the exit gate. It's seamless. On our bands, we purchased drinks at the lagoon swim up bar (I also bought a plastic phone carrier. (You would have been surprised how many guests were in the lagoon with their phones!). We also bought lunch in the cafe.
Be mindful you need an advance reservation. Get your wrist band. If you are doing the 7-step ritual you get another band they collect when you enter the ritual area. Head to your dressing room. The Pure Pass gets you a locker and towel in the group changing room. The Sky Pass gets you the private changing room. Changing rooms provide blow dryers, towels, showers, plastic bags for wet swimsuits.
Enter the Lagoon:
You enter directly from the changing room...down some steps and into the warm water. The water is not overly hot so you can lounge a very long time. The volcanic rock is arranged in a grotto-like fashion. You meander through cozy spots, there are built-in under water seating, a waterfall, the bar and this amazing infinity wall out to the sea.
A good selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in available. Served in plastic ware, there is a staffer regularly circulating the lagoon collecting them in a bucket, so the lagoon stays pristinely clean. The bar tender even offered to hold on to my phone case so the phone would fit better in the plastic sleeve. I sorta wished I didn't feel the need to have my phone, but then I wouldn't have had all these photos to share with you.
The 7-Step Ritual:
I think this had the potential to be GREAT. However, there was a cruise ship docked in Reykjavik the day we went and it significantly changed the experience in a non-positive way. There was also some big company having meetings in town who brought tons of employees for bonding at the lagoon. TOO many people. Chatting loudly in the sauna and steam room, diminished what could have been a meaningful, meditative moment. I was personally annoyed. I would have like the staff to enforce some respectful quiet. Despite my frustration at the lack of consideration, it was still really nice.
There is a cold plunge pool outside by the lagoon (like the cold Iceland air wasn't enough! As an aside, there were people floating around in the lagoon wearing beanie caps) I LOVE a cold plunge. Me and my kids did it over and over again building our tolerance and good health, all while watching people hung-ho to give the plunge a try only to bounce out shrieking like jumping beans. It was hilarious.
The ritual has you start in the sauna, move through a cold mist, pick up some exfoliating scrub and rub it all over your body, sit in the steam room, shower, plunge, lagoon.
It was all a nice extra to simply langouring in the wonderful waters. All day afterwards I was still marveling how soft my skin feels.
After exiting the changing room, we met up with the boys and went for snack and cappuccinos in the Sky Lagoon cafe. The food was as good as it gets and we loved things like the dishwater and atmosphere of the space.
We stayed about 3 hours, then a quick drive back to our Reykjavik airbnb to change and have a delicious dinner at KOL. I went to Sky Lagoon with my husband and two adult kids and everyone had only good things to say about the experience. So we highly recommend it. I took some horizontal video, which I will put up on my Youtube Channel when I get back to the states so go check them out in a couple weeks.