Icehotel 365, Photo by Asaf Kliger
If you’re searching for a (literally) cool way to enjoy a wintertime destination, consider booking a room at an ice hotel. As the names suggests, ice hotels are built out of snow and ice, and are typically reconstructed every winter.
One thing they don’t lack is luxury: from fine dining to snow activities and hand-crafted rooms, this is an experience to remember. Ready to bundle up? Consider these five luxury ice hotels around the world for an unforgettable getaway.
HOTEL DE GLACE – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Hôtel de Glace was the first ice hotel in North America, and debuted in 2001. Open annually from January to March, this hotel features an ice bar, a chandelier, a water fountain, restaurants, a grand slide and a chapel. One highlight includes the Nordic relaxation area where guests who book an overnight stay can lounge in outdoor whirlpools as snowflakes fall from the sky.
Each of the hotel’s 45 rooms and suites feature a solid ice bed frame that’s topped with a bedspring, a mattress and a blanket. Deluxe Premium Suites are themed (previous year’s themes have included a hockey suite complete with carvings of hockey players in the snow) and include a Nordic sleeping bag, a fireplace, a private whirlpool and a sauna. Each person staying in the suite receives a cocktail—served in a glass crafted out of ice—at the ice bar.
SNOWHOTEL KIRKENES – Bjørnevatn, Norway
About two hours from Oslo, Norway’s Snowhotel Kirkenes is renowned for being the most- northernmost ice hotel. Look forward to checking out the hotel’s 20 themed igloo rooms. Master ice carvers craft images on the walls that have included the iconic shot of Marilyn Monroe’s white dress flying up and scenes influenced by Norwegian and Sami folklore, fauna and fairytales.
Adventurous guests can book a king crab safari, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing or even a two-hour huskie safari. The hotel is home to more than 180 huskies, who will pull the sled. You’ll be picked up from the hotel, and a skilled dog musher will guide you through the breathtaking wilderness of Norway. If you time your visit right, there’s a chance you could even see the Northern Lights.
Photo by Asaf Kliger
Photo by Asaf Kliger
Photo by Asaf Kliger
ICEHOTEL SWEDEN – Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
There literally is no other hotel like Sweden’s Icehotel 365. The property’s nine deluxe and 11 art suites are open all year. Located 124 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the hotel is home to cold rooms, an ice bar and a church. The Icehotel also features a restaurant, cabins, hotel rooms and a lounge—inside warm buildings. Every year 15 to 20 artists, selected from about 200 applicants, gather to make ice sculptures.
For a truly immersive experience, consider booking a cold room Deluxe Suite 365. The largest suite features a heated en-suite bathroom and an individually designed, and sculpted ice bedroom and sitting area handcrafted by an artist. The bed is topped with a reindeer hide and thermal sleeping bag. The temperatures in the room never fall below 23 degrees Fahrenheit.
After arriving, guests take a course that provides them with tips on how to stay in an ice hotel. In the morning, one of the hotel’s staff will wake you up with warm lingonberry juice in bed. When you check out, you’ll receive a diploma stating the temperature inside and outside the hotel as proof of your stay.
Seasonal activities also abound. In the summer guests can cycle, or go river rafting or ice fishing. During the winter visitors can ski, go husky sledding, take a Northern Lights tour and even learn how to sculpt ice.
SNOWVILLAGE – Kittilä, Finland
A staggering 44 million pounds of snow and 771,618 pounds of natural ice are used to create SnowVillage every year. SnowVillage’s theme rotates yearly—prior years have included scenes and characters from the TV show Game of Thrones carved into the walls. You’ll find snow and ice sculptures sprinkled throughout SnowVillage.
Guests can look forward to an ice restaurant, ice bar, an ice slide and ice chapel. Reservations are required at the on-site and acclaimed Ice Restaurant. The three-course tasting menu features local Nordic cuisine like king crab soup, reindeer tenderloin and roasted Arctic char. Post-meal, consider saddling up to the Ice Bar and ordering hot chocolate or cocktails made with local ingredients.
The hotel features snow suites (the temperature inside is between 21 and 26 degrees Fahrenheit) where visitors can rest on a bed frame made out of ice. Guests who book these rooms receive a high-quality thermal sleeping bag, hot juice and breakfast at the restaurant, and a certificate proving they spent the night there. SnowVillage is slated to open on December 12.
Photo by margostock/Shutterstock