Deplar Farm hotel review: A turf-roofed farmhouse in Iceland that offer some of the world’s best adventures

This all-inclusive, luxury adventure lodge in Iceland's northern wilderness is a must-visit for active travellers — and if you're lucky you might just get to see the Northern Lights. Our Travel Editor, Rosie Paterson, checks in.

If you find yourself in Iceland when a wispy fog rides in off the Arctic Ocean and catches itself on the dramatic coastline, you might just snatch a glimpse of the huldufólk. ‘Hidden people’, or healers, who live in the fog’s shadow and are benign. Folklore seeps from the very fabric of Iceland’s being, born out of long, dark winters and a hostile landscape shaped and scarred by millennia of rumbling volcanic activity and thunderous waterfalls — a perfect stage for strange goings on. 

Iceland is also a stage for the Northern Lights and this year is a solar maximum, the period of greatest solar activity within a solar cycle (each cycle lasts about 11 years), which means more frequent and intense displays. 

A spot beneath the stretch of sky that runs perpendicular to Deplar Farm, held up on either side by pyramidal mountains, is the best seat in the house. The hotel, which doesn’t feel like a hotel at all, is situated on a remote peninsula in the country’s north. From the outside at least, it still looks like an 18th-century sheep farm, its black, corrugated-clad exterior an almost identical match to its neighbour, another farm, from which the kitchen source their goat’s cheese.

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There are no signs, no front desk and no uniformed staff; hardy grasses have been left to grow up in between the big paving stones; there are no keys to any of the understated 13 bedrooms—and no one bothers to ask for one — and no formal dining room.

Instead, everyone eats breakfast and dinner communally around a gargantuan table bookended by floor-to-ceiling windows. Lunch is eaten on the go, in between activities arranged in conjunction with your own sort of adventure consultant (activities and meals are included in the nightly rate).

There’s rafting and world-class salmon fishing in the summer, snow-shoeing in the winter and kayaking on the liquid onyx waters of the Arctic Ocean all-year round. Humpback whales, each one the size of a London bus, congregate in a nearby fjord — the biggest one in Iceland — in summer and autumn and can be viewed at close proximity from the deck of a former fishing vessel. 

After dinner — platters passed around the table alongside tales of the day’s exploits — everyone gathers in the vaulted bar and sitting room, or in the steaming, outdoor swimming pool, to wait with bated breath for the first glimmers of green.

They’re tauntingly faint at first, individual streaks of light that threaten to disappear if you blink. Come midnight, sometimes later, the performance reaches its crescendo, skittish waves of neon green pulsating across the darkest of skies as if in time to a silent tune.

Winter rates at Deplar Farm start from $3,560 (about £2,800) per room per night, based on double occupancy. Winter private buyout rates start from $51,750 (about £40,600) per night based on 26 guests.

This includes guide service offering customised adventure itineraries, all gear necessary for activities, pre-arrival planning with an Eleven Experience Manager, chef prepared breakfast, lunch, après and dinner, in-room minibar, house alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, scheduled round trip airport transfer to Akureyri.