Sublime Soaking at Silica Hotel in Iceland

Icelandair allows transatlantic travelers to book a stopover in Iceland for one to seven days for no additional airfare. My husband and I took advantage of this offering after a month-long trip to Ireland and the UK. We flew from London’s Heathrow to Denver International Airport, with an overnight layover at Keflavik International Airport. We splurged on a stay at the Blue Lagoon’s adults-only Silica Hotel, just a 14-mile drive from the airport.

Milky blue lagoon next to modern buildings with floor-to-ceiling windows and lounge chairs

I found just 24 hours at Silica Hotel (and the associated Blue Lagoon) a perfect way to relax and revive after a whirlwind month of on-the-go travel. For our short stay at the one-story, 35-room property, we soaked plenty, ate and drank well, and slept soundly in the soothing surroundings. Here’s the scoop on the upscale Silica Hotel:

Rooms at Silica Hotel

Modern room with white and taupe decor and light-wood accents.

Rooms are unsurprisingly modern and minimally decorated in traditional Scandinavian style. All of the 35 rooms open to a small patio surrounded by lava rock or milky blue geothermal waters.

The large bathroom in our Lava Deluxe (least expensive) room was especially impressive, with a heated towel rack, big fluffy towels, and walk-in shower with a rain shower head. A minibar is stocked with complimentary sodas and sparkling water. There’s a kettle for morning coffee and tea as well as a complimentary bag of pretzel chips.

Guests also get a free welcome drink. We opted for pints of the Icelandic lager Eglis Gull, served from a fully-stocked bar. We enjoyed the drinks in our robes and flip-flops while seated in comfy chairs with blankets facing the hotel’s private lagoon.

There is no restaurant on-site, but guests can purchase refrigerated salads, sandwiches, and sushi, along with other canned and bottled drinks. The Blue Lagoon’s Lava Restaurant is a full-service, sit-down dining affair, and reservations are recommended. 

Breakfast at Silica Hotel

Frothy coffee in pottery-style cup and saucer with shot glass of cod liver oil

Breakfast is included in all Silica Hotel room rates, and the spread is excellent. Fresh salmon and cold-cut meats and cheeses were a highlight. Plus we indulged in fresh bread and pastries, waffles, eggs, sausage, and cereal. I probably had too many serve-yourself cappuccinos and sampled an Icelandic daily staple, a shot of cod liver oil.

Soaking at Silica Hotel

Bright milky blue lagoon abutting lava rock with blue sky overhead

A huge bonus of staying at Silica Hotel is the private soaking lagoon available only to hotel guests. The water here (and in the Blue Lagoon) is pumped up 2,000 feet from underground. The mineral content of silica and limestone creates silky white rings around the man-made pools surrounded by lava rock.

We happened to be at the Silica Hotel during a particularly sunny stretch, though the air temperature was a chilly 40 degrees Fahrenheit in late May. But that made the toasty geothermal waters even more inviting.  

Premium Access to the Blue Lagoon

Bright blue lagoon and blue sky

All Silica Hotel guests have premium access to the Blue Lagoon, a 10-minute walk through lava fields, or a quick 3-minute drive away. We checked out of our room at the Silica Hotel at 11 a.m. and packed day bags and toiletries to spend a couple of hours soaking before we had to get to the airport for our Icelandair flight to Denver.

Sure, we could have stayed at the Silica Hotel to soak in the private lagoon to avoid the masses of day trippers at the Blue Lagoon, but I’m so glad we spent time at the area touted as one of the 25 Wonders of the World. Despite the tour buses and groups of people entering the facility at the same time we were, I was able to find a locker in the changing area with no problem. The Blue Lagoon is big enough, that if you venture to the corners — particularly in the “quiet area” — it didn’t feel crowded to us at all.

Premium access (typically $81 for day trippers) gave us use of a bathrobe, unlimited towels, a free drink, and three different masks to put on and rinse off while soaking. I loved this amenity, and my face felt smoother after a deep cleanse, exfoliation, and moisturizing in the steam. (That said, my hair felt like straw, even after slathering on conditioner before soaking, as advised.) There’s also a sauna and a small steam cave next to the lagoon that all guests can use. 

Bottom Line

With its nice added perks, Silica Hotel is a great spot to splurge on an upscale stay in Iceland. Room rates at Silica Hotel start at $624 per night. You can check Booking.com to see if they offer better rates.

Review and photos by Kara Williams.

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