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Robb Recommends: Torfhús Retreat, Iceland

Here’s a nice cake-and-eat it scenario: reconnect with nature – but with all mod cons…

For even the most jaded traveller, there is something about Iceland that gives pause. Not least that otherworldly volcanic landscape of erupting geysers, endless plains of glaciers and towering waterfalls, so vast they seem to stretch towards the horizon.

Increasingly, though, it’s the country’s burgeoning hospitality scene: notably, resorts like the 124-acre Torfhús Retreat, whose quietly rugged blend of Icelandic architecture, interiors lined with reclaimed oak and pine, impeccable eco-credentials, imaginative local cuisine and a swag of outdoor activities make an indelible impression.

It might be fanciful to imagine that, when the late Vogue editor Diana Vreeland quipped “The eye must travel”, she was referring to Torfhús. But she would have been right.

Here, the eye drifts easily. From the estate’s 25 titular torfhús – guest cottages built of stone and reclaimed wood, and capped with insulated roofs turfed with wild local grass and powered by geothermal and hydroelectric energy – and basalt stone hot pools, to the nearby black sand beaches of the South Shore and lava caves that are twice as old as Giza’s Pyramids, the landscape fills the senses with unending layers of wild beauty.

The Langhús breakfast area 

The sensorial pleasures are equally evident in Torfhús’ dining room whose seasonal plates of langoustines glistening with garlicky butter and seared veal hit with truffle, have been described, rather vividly, as “Nobu-meets-Noma, via the rich Icelandic fishing grounds of the North Atlantic.”

But in the end, the lasting memory of the Torfhús Retreat is its sense of place. It’s a destination whose seamless blend of raw, wild nature and Millennial creature comforts is as memorable as it is unexpected.

Around £560 per night for a one-bedroom ‘torfhús’ minimum stay is two nights), BOOK NOW

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Palmi Bjarnason

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