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Origins of the Blue Lagoon

Some people came to the water for healing. Others for pleasure. But all who came, left with a profound sense of wonder.

Chosen in 2012 as one of National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a place where the interplay of nature, design, and science brings forth a world of wonder and wellness. The lagoon’s unique abilities were first discovered in the early 1980s when local residents began to bathe in the warm blue reservoir that had formed in the lava field beside the Svartsengi Resource Park—a geothermal power plant. Engineers at the facility had expected the water to seep through the lava and return to the earth’s volcanic aquifers. However, owing to the fluid's high concentration of silica, proper drainage did not occur and a beautiful body of water took shape. Some people came to the water for healing. Others for pleasure. But all who came, left with a profound sense of wonder. And word of the lagoon’s transformative powers spread across Iceland. In 1987, a doctor from Reykjavík—Grímur Sæmundsen—began to envision a more formalized future for the enchanting site. He imagined a place of health and wellbeing galvanized by the bioactive properties of geothermal seawater. The lagoon soon became the focus of intense scientific study, giving birth in 1992 to Blue Lagoon Limited, a company started by Sæmundsen and dedicated to the research of the water’s primary elements: silica, algae, and minerals.

In 1995, with research confirming the healing, nourishing benefits of geothermal seawater, Blue Lagoon Ltd. launched a renowned line of skin care. This was followed in 1999 with the opening of the modern-day spa facility and, in 2005, a clinic hotel for the treatment of psoriasis. In 2018, the company opened the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, a luxurious geothermal resort encompassing a luxury hotel, a subterranean spa, a terraced lagoon, and a restaurant that reinvents Iceland’s culinary traditions. Named one of the World’s Greatest Places by Time Magazine, the Retreat embodies the harmonic convergence of nature, design, and science. Today, many decades after the first inquisitive souls began venturing into the water, the Blue Lagoon has blossomed from a humble curiosity into a wonder of the world. Indeed, the story of Blue Lagoon Iceland continues to be written with every guest who enters the radiant waters.

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