Iceland’s Most Etherial Escape: The Northern Light Inn

All Images courtesy of The Northern Lights Inn

Article written by Isabelle Clark

As you drive in from the Keflavik airport or the capital city of Reykjavik, you begin to understand.  There is a sea of lumpy and jagged rocks and moss as far as the eye can see. These odd shaped rock formations are spotted with what appears to be seaweed which is actually mold-colored moss. It looks more like the surface of the moon or from another planet than anything most have ever seen on earth. These are the lava fields of Iceland and because of their inhabitable makeup, little development or farmlands is possible and, as a result, are a perfect place for dark skies. The region on the Southern Peninsula is a place for solitude, pitch black skies, and the ideal place to take in the aurora borealis at the Northern Light Hotel and Max’s Grill.

They say that no two displays of the Northern Lights are the same. The dynamic and enchanting spectacle plays out above a similarly unique and charming hotel below; the Northern Light Inn is a warm and contemporary family-run hotel only 45 minutes from Reykjavik. Situated close to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon – and in arguably one of the most breathtaking locations in the world – the Northern Light Inn is also the closest hotel to Reykjanes’ UNESCO Global Geopark. Beyond the well-trodden routes of these scenic locations is a quiet place where guests are encouraged to unwind beneath the ethereal sky that is nothing short of magical. Here, sumptuous rooms, exquisite food and relaxing spa treatments await.

The hotel has the feeling of a proper lodge. Casual, charming and everything one would require for a comfortable stay in Iceland, especially when the Northern Lights are visible, from September to April. During the summer months, you can observe the sunlight practically 24 hours a day while exploring all there is to see in this incredible and gifted by nature part of the world. There are several lounges with local artwork, and comfortable furnishings to lounge about reading a good book or chatting with other guests. As cold as it may be out of doors, the hotel is always warm and toasty courtesy of a geothermal plant on the property that generates electricity as well as heats the floors, rooms, and water with sustainable energy gleaned from the earth’s heat that emanates just beyond the surface.

The Northern Light Inn is a comfortable hideaway with 42 exceptional rooms. Adorning the individually styled spaces is chic decor and comfortable furniture with each guest room offering views of the striking landscape. There are six categories of rooms available, from Superior through to Family. All are equipped with geothermal showers, L'Occitane toiletries, access to the state-of-the-art fitness room, complimentary stocked minibars and a quintessential – but very welcome – coffee and tea station. Cosy Icelandic down comforters adorn the beds in the Superior rooms adding a touch of tradition to a delightful contemporary space. 

Dining at the Northern Light Inn is a sumptuous affair and is characterized once again by views of the hotel’s incredible surroundings. Floor-to-ceiling windows are portals to the outside world where jagged hills line the horizon and snow blankets the ground. However, the real treasure here is the unique culinary journey created by chef Rudolf Vaslaki.

At Max’s Restaurant, visitors will enjoy delicious Nordic flavors in dishes made from the best of local produce farmed fresh from the nearby greenhouses or seafood from the fertile seas that surround the island. Expect fresh from the sea prawn, scallops and fish on a bed of risotto or a succulent cut of traditional grilled lamb fillet.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to choose the Northern Light Inn is its namesake attraction that dances directly above; the hotel sits below the aurora annulus, making sightings of the lights extremely likely. Fortunately, the inn experiences its own microclimate due to the proximity of Thornbjorn mountain, which manipulates prevailing winds and often dispels cloud cover from above. 

Even when the rest of Iceland is cloudy, it’s highly likely that guests of the Northern Light Inn have the spectacular show all to themselves. For the best chance of seeing the lights, those staying at the hotel can even sign up for an ‘aurora call’ direct to their room. Iceland’s aurora season lasts from August to April. Guests may choose to venture outside to take in the sights or opt for a bit more comfort and watch from the warmth of the second-floor purpose build observation room in the center of the hotel.

The hotel’s location allows guests to visit the popular Blue Lagoon as well as take advantage of the natural beauty of Reykjanes’ UNESCO Global Geopark. The Northern Light Inn provides free shuttles departing every hour to and from the Blue Lagoon. Visitors can also walk to the geothermal spa via an exciting path through the mossy lava. The dramatic landscape is open for exploration and guests are encouraged to lace up their boots and get hiking; this will be the excursion of a lifetime with fresh lava fields and myriad craters within walking distance. For a bird’s-eye view of the volcano that threatens to erupt at any moment, guests can book a helicopter ride and get up close to the heat of the action from the skies.

The hotel’s spa is one of its most luxurious features. It offers a variety of signature treatments and services, including massage therapy, Reiki healing, and energy point equalization. It also boasts three saunas, two aurora floating isolation tanks and a vertical solarium. Saunas are a staple feature of many spas, but the Northern Light Inn’s aurora floating tanks lend an unrivaled element of luxury to the wellness experience. Here, guests can lie back in a futuristic-looking pod floating weightlessly in warm magnesium and salt-rich water, as if suspended in the womb. The treatment is based on the healing properties of the dead sea which alleviates aches and pains, leaving the body relaxed and covered in a healing mineral-rich coating to heal the skin. Holidaymakers will look forward to unwinding in style in this tranquil space after a long day exploring the best of what Iceland has to offer.


Visitors to Iceland can choose from hundreds of hotels. However, only one offers such a unique and exciting location and such a great chance of catching the Northern Lights. That, along with the sumptuous rooms, delicious cuisine and tranquil spa and wellness centre, makes the Northern Light Inn a stay that is sure to impress any visitor to the country.


Article written by Isabelle Clark

Glenn Harris

Glenn Harris is an accomplished journalist focusing on international travel, fine dining, and luxury lifestyle events. His wanderlust has taken him to over 105 countries where he is constantly straying off the beaten path uncovering new and exotic finds. He particularly enjoys seeking out lesser known travel gems and places to stay, dine, or experiences to capture. ...(Read More)

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