A cutting-edge, extreme wellness programme called Eleven Life has been launched at Deplar Farm in northern Iceland. Designed by luxury, boundary-pushing, adventure company Eleven Experience, guests will be encouraged to take on mental and physical challenges that get them out of their comfort zone. By Jenny Southan
Set in the rugged, natural environment of the Troll Peninsula in northern Iceland, turf-roofed Deplar Farm combines hyper-stylish interior design with intense engagement with nature.As well as salmon fishing, sea-kayaking and heli-skiing, activities that are part of the new Eleven Life programme include “sensory-deprivation” torch-free night walks under the Northern Lights (if you’re lucky).
People will also be able to experience a Viking sauna, which is built in typical Icelandic style inside its own hill. Unlike other saunas that are just about sweating it out, this combines drumming, breathing techniques, and hot and cold plunges to stimulate the immune system.
To improve alertness, focus and endurance, group games such as axe-throwing and competitive laser tag will take place in the wilderness.Not everything is about the extreme, though, which is wise. Eleven Life also incorporates a realistic method for lifestyle changes by way of “habit stacking”, which focuses on “manageable tweaks to daily routines to ensure they become long term practices”.
For example, this might include using a daily commute to perform easy breathing techniques that are scientifically proven to relax the nervous system.
These “marginal gains” are what athletes, for example, focus on in their training. And as Malcolm Gladwell wrote in The Tipping Point, “small changes can make a big difference”.
Available all-year-round, for both individuals, couples and groups, Eleven Life will be personalised to each guests’ needs and requirements, and will suit anyone seeking a “challenging, innovative and science-based approach to achieving their wellness and fitness goals”.Much more than a spa holiday, transformation is achieved by pushing participants to their limits with outdoor adventures such as cross-country skiing, fat biking and snow-mobile races. Mental resilience is a key teaching point. Nutrition, body treatments and fitness also play an important part.Offering some of the purest air and water in the world, Iceland ranks fourth on the United Nations’ global happiness scale. To appreciate the serenity of the region, periods of silence are encouraged to experience a deeper sensory connection to nature.Functional fitness classes in the Eleven Life programme include yoga flow and cardio, with expert instructors working with clients to teach them how to maximise their limited time and inspire good exercise habits.
In the spa at Deplar Farm, participants will undergo soothing evening gong and breathing sessions help to reduce stress and aid sleep. Organic facials and massages are designed to support skin in extreme temperatures. The Viking Float is a sensory deprivation therapy used by top athletes to develop a winning mindset. Food, of course, is essential to enjoyment and wellbeing. Here, executive chef Garðar Kári Garðarsson, winner of Iceland’s Top Chef award in 2018, has designed a menu using only the region’s freshest produce and local practices such as ice fishing and foraging for mountain moss and wild blueberries.Rates for Eleven Life start from £2,350 per room per night (based on two people sharing). This includes an in-depth consultation and wellness programme, guide services, all gear necessary for activities, pre-arrival planning, daily housekeeping, meals, organic fresh food minibar, house alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and round-trip transfers to Akureyri airport.