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Ice hotels: experience one of the coolest nights of your life

By , 12 September 2018

Why not treat yourselves this year to a winter wonderland trip of a lifetime and stay in an ice hotel for an experience you’ll never forget! We’ve chosen some of the coolest hotels that all offer a unique experience, plus all the comforts you’d expect from a luxurious hotel but with the added extra that the entire hotel is made of ice!

But won’t I be freezing in an ice hotel?

We hear you, and it’s a fair assumption to make, but each of these hotels go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable! Think sleeping bags made from high-tech thermal blankets, saunas, camp-fires and hot chocolate to warm you from the inside. Nevertheless it is important to dress warm, bring layers and thermals, and try to opt for fabrics that allow your skin to breathe. Have an oil based cream ready for your face and some lip-balm, a warm hat and plenty of thick woollen socks.

How to book an ice hotel?

It is advised to spend several nights in a warm room and just book one night in an ice room, perhaps your first or last night. Ice hotels book up pretty quickly so it is important to book in advance and play around with dates, you are most likely to find a room in quieter times such as January, March and April. Most ice hotels are only open from December til mid April, but also a lot of these hotels have permanent fixtures that you might also want to stay in, such as glass igloos where you can look up at the Northern Lights.


An ice hotel in Swedish lapland

★★★★ Icehotel | Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

The hotel is open year round, but ice rooms are only available December – April.

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In the northern Swedish town of Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometers from the Arctic Circle, stands the artfully built Icehotel. It is considered the world’s first and largest snow hotel and is made every year anew from the river of Swedish Lapland the “Torne älv”.

Choose one of the art, ice, snow or northern lights rooms depending on how you want to spend your stay. Cold rooms, aka ice rooms, come in all forms from a basic double room, to a art suite that includes ice sculptures hand carved by world renowned artists.

Spend your days taking sled tours, enjoying the ice art, feeding reindeers and cosying up by an open fire ready to watch the Northern Lights. The hotel’s restaurant and bar are warm and friendly and great places to relax and enjoy the best of Swedish hospitality.

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An ice hotel in Norway where you can see the Northern Lights

★★★★ Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel | Alta, Norway

Season starts: December 15th.

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In Norway’s Alta lies the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. It’s the Northernmost ice hotel in the world and is designed to impress with ice sculptures by international artists.

The reindeer fur blankets and sleeping bags are especially suitable for cold temperatures as low as -30 ° Celsius, so that you sleep cosily despite the ice beds. There are 26 bedrooms in total, and four decorated suites. It takes around five weeks to construct the hotel and each year they take on a theme such as Vikings, Nordic Legends, and Wildlfie of the Alta Valley, to give the place an atmospheric ambience.

Take a motor or dog sled tour and discover the impressive colour play of the Northern Lights. The ice hotel also has an impressive ice chapel in which lovers can say ‘I do.’

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An ice hotel in Finland’s Lapland with glass igloos

★★★★ Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort | Saariselkä, Finland

The hotel is open year-round with ice igloos available only in winter.

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In the Finnish village of Saariselkä, you can look out onto the clear starry sky directly from your hotel bed at the Hotel Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Choose from a range of room styles, whether you wish to stay in a glass igloo, an ice igloo or a cosy log chalet.

The snow igloos are a once in a lifetime experience. Even when the mercury drops to -40 degrees, the room temperature is a consistent -3 to -6 inside and they are almost completely sound proof.

The underground glass igloos have thermo glass ceilings, so you can enjoy a unique view of the northern lights of Finland. Out of privacy, all 40 igloos are built far apart, so you have a sense of being completely alone in the wilderness.

To warm-up, take an exhilarating husky or reindeer safari, try ice fishing, explore the surroundings on a snowmobile, try some cross country skiing or simply relax in the sauna.

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An ice hotel in the Austrian Alps

Iglu Village Kühtai | Kühtai, Austria

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In the Iglu Village in Kühtai, one of the highest winter sports resorts in Austria, you can not only spend the night in igloos, but also help to build your own.

With hands, shovels and saws, you can participate in igloo workshops and build teams of traditional snow houses. Afterwards, spend the night in the Basic or Romantic Igloo Suites. A basic igloo includes all the basics plus access to a heated bathroom with hot showers, marshmallows around the bonfire, and a cosy dining area where you can enjoy a cheese fondue.

After exciting snow walks and husky tours, you can end the evening relaxed by the campfire in the iglu village.

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A budget-friendly ice hotel in Romania’s Transylvanian Mountains

[stars number="3"] Hotel of Ice | Cartisoara, Romania

Season starts: December 17th

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An ice hotel in the Transylvanian mountains that sits on a frozen lake reached by a ski lift, in a mountain range littered with medieval towns, forests teaming with wolves and bears, and the odd homage to Dracula (Draquila anyone?). What more could you want from an ice hotel?!

You can book a double ice room, an igloo for families or a deluxe room for an ultra chic experience. Each season the hotel takes on a different theme which then influences the decor so you will have ice sculptures carved into your wall depending on what they choose.

The rest of the hotel includes a restaurant serving up delicious gourmet cuisine, a bar where you can order a whisky to warm the cockles of your heart and an ice church where you could potentially tie the knot should you wish to.

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Stay in an ice hotel in Canada

Hotel de Glace | Quebec City, Canada

Season runs: January to March

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Just minutes from downtown Quebec City, Hôtel de Glace is located in the French-speaking province of Canada. Every year, this iconic ice hotel hosts guests from all over the world, for a stay of a lifetime.

The rooms and the accompanying ice sculptures are partly designed by Disney artists which gives them a fairy-tale atmosphere.Some of the premium suites include a wood burning fire place in the centre of your igloo so you can warm your fingers and toes, and if you opt for the premium deluxe suite you get a fireplace plus your own private spa!

In the ice bar, you can enjoy alcoholic drinks from sculpted ice glasses. But to make sure you do not feel too cold, you can also relax in a hot tub in the spa.

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