Last year, a whopping 1.7 million people visited Iceland. In fact, the number of Americans alone who visited the country outnumbered Iceland’s own population. Now, two million visitors are expected by the end of 2017.
With so many tourists Instagramming their Icelandic hot-spring soaks, professional travel writer Trevor Morrow, who runs the blog “Trevor Morrow Travel: Dude-Approved Travel, Food, and Gear,” knew he needed to experience a different kind of Iceland once he finally made the journey there.
“I’ve been seeing more and more friends posting incredible photos from Iceland these days,” he told Business Insider. “They’ve all inspired me to go, but I really wanted to get off the well-trodden path, away from the usual points of interest, and find the idealized version of Iceland I’ve pictured in my head for years: remote, quiet, untouched, devastatingly beautiful, and all mine.”
While searching for that kind of experience, Morrow found Eleven Experience’s Deplar Farm. Located in Iceland’s remote, northern Troll Peninsula, he decided it was the perfect place to experience a different kind of trip. The hotel invited him to stay, and Morrow shared his experience with Business Insider.
After an eight-hour-and-forty-five-minute, non-stop flight from Los Angeles to Reykjavik, Morrow was picked up in a private car provided by Eleven Experience. Before making his way to Deplar Farm, Morrow spent an afternoon and night in Reykjavik.
During his brief stay, Morrow was taken around the city by an Eleven Experience tour guide. “I visited Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik’s most famous church, and toured Harpa, Reykjavik’s concert hall designed by architect Olafur Eliasson,” Morrow said.
He also got a taste of the local food, grabbing a bite at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a hot dog stand that’s been open since 1937.
The next morning, Morrow continued his journey to Deplar Farms with a short 40-minute flight northeast to Akureyri.
Upon arrival, he and his fellow travelers piled into the all-terrain Mercedes Sprinter. Made by Arctic Trucks, this specialized vehicle costs about $275,000.
With snowy conditions, the drive was about two hours northwest to the lodge.
Morrow described the remote valley location, tucked away in Iceland’s Troll Peninsula, as “magical.”
Deplar Farm gets its name from its past life as a sheep farm. The property still includes the original, but now refurbished, 1,500-square-foot farmhouse, which serves as the front of the hotel.
The hotel has 13 rooms. Morrow stayed in the “Gallery Room.”
“There are fun and thoughtful touches throughout the property — my room having a hammock being one,” Morrow said.
One of the many activities that Morrow participated in was heli-skiing. “Deplar Farm employs highly trained and certified heli-ski guides who know this region intimately and have also guided around the world,” Morrow said.
“Deplar Farm is surrounded by mountains in which to heli-ski. After taking off in a helicopter from the hotel’s front yard, guests can be at the top of a mountain and ready to ski in as little as ten minutes,” Morrow said.
Most of the runs are for experienced skiers. The helicopters take travelers to “terrain that would translate to an advanced blue to a double black,” Morrow said.
Since the area is so remote, some of the runs have never been skied. Guests who go down the runs first get to grant them names.
Deplar Farms provides heli-skiing adventures starting at the end of March and running through mid-June. The guides assess the snow and weather conditions to determine which mountain to land on next.
Between runs, skiers get a break with a gourmet picnic lunch provided by the hotel.
After skiing, visitors can dip in the hotel’s hot pool, which has both an indoor and outdoor section. There’s also an attached bar so that you can sip on wine, beer, or cocktails during a swim.
You can also stay inside and get a massage …
… or work out in the yoga room.
On no-fly days, when the weather conditions are too dangerous to heli-ski, visitors are provided with a plethora of other activities, including snowmobiling. “I snowmobiled down the mountain pass road that we drove in on a few days prior,” Morrow said.
Sites along the path included this beautiful waterfall.
You can also ride horseback along trails that lead to the beach.
While there, the hotel provided hot drinks and a bonfire to keep warm.
Back at the hotel, dinner was served next to a gorgeous view.
You can also play a game of pool after dinner in the main lobby ...
... or sit outside and enjoy the sunset.
There are also bikes provided for guests to go on their own adventures.
There's also skeet shooting behind the hotel.
For four days and nights at Deplar Farms with heli-skiing, the cost is $11,200 per person. The cost includes the room, transportation to and from the Akureyri airport, all meals, and alcohol.
Morrow recommends this type of vacation for a group of buddies, adventurous honeymooners, family reunions, and high-level corporate retreats. You can rent out the entire property if you need the space.