Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
Looking for a cool place to lay your head? Then you can’t go wrong with an ice hotel. Here are some of our favourites…
1. Hotel De Glace, Quebec City, Canada
There are only a spare few ice hotels made of snow and ice in North America, and all of them are in Canada. The Hotel de Glace is considered to be one of the best ice hotels in the world. The hotel it is only open for a short window of time from January to March, so the rooms fill up months in advance. After enjoying a Scandinavian-style sauna or nuzzling up in a fur bed, it is rarely too cold for patrons.
2. ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Just 200 kilometres from the Arctic Circle, Sweden's ICEHOTEL is a harbour of grandeur in an area where there rightly should be none. People in the small town of Jukkasjarvi live a rugged life of survival, but the interior of the ICEHOTEL feels like a palace — albeit one made of ice and snow. Once you see how ornate the interior is, you’ll appreciate that it takes 4,000 tons of water to create this masterpiece.
3. Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Kirkenes, Norway
While every ice hotel is a manmade piece of art in itself, the Kirkenes Snow Hotel actually strives to create an individual piece of art in each room. Every year, an artist uses the 20 different rooms of the hotel as their personal canvas. Each room is different and each is a treat.
4. Hotel Of Ice, Balea Lake, Romania
Compared to the harsh Scandinavian winters, building an ice hotel in Romania might seem like a fruitless task. However, for the creators of the Hotel of Ice their dream was able to be realized – but only after building it at an altitude of 2,000 metres. Built from chunks of ice cut from local Balea Lake, this hotel is more akin to a small town. Within the chilled walls is not only a place to rest, but an ice bar, an ice restaurant and ice a church.
5. Lainio Snow Village, Lapland, Finland
The Lainio Snow Village consists of a complex of many different ice buildings and structures. There is a snow restaurant, snow bar and more than a few ice slides. This truly makes sleeping in this particular ice hotel an adventure. For the art enthusiasts, the complex hosts over 25 different ice sculptures. However, for those who need a reprieve from the snow, underneath the village there is a large fireplace, a sauna and a normal warm room.
6. Alpha Resort Tomamu, Shimukappu, Hokkaido, Japan
During the summer, the Alpha Resort Tomamu is a pleasant getaway from the bustling city, but when winter falls and the skiers start flooding in from around the world, the destination’s annual ice hotel appears.
Each room is a separate igloo-like affair, featuring a bed, shelf and several chairs that have been carved from the ice. Outside there are several open air hot tubs where guests can enjoy a hot soak.
7. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Alta, Norway
Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
Like most ice hotels, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel changes every year. However, each year the builders and artists who decorate it stick with a set theme – whether it is the Vikings of lore, the local Alta River or Norse Mythology.
The rooms have ornate fireplaces – but no fire. For guests who need a break from the cold, the heated service building offers bathrooms, changing areas, showers, a sauna and a restaurant. Being chilled for a while is fun, but people sometimes need a bit of a break. Plus trying to use a bathroom of ice is probably an unpleasant task!
8. Igloo Village, Engelberg, Switzerland
Amid the romantic scenery of the Swiss Alps lies the Engelberg Igloo Village, nestled snuggly in the snowdrifts. From Christmas all the way through Easter, this igloo village has accommodation for 52 people, with many six-person igloos. For those that do not like the idea of sharing a bunk bed in a frozen snow dome, they can get a taste of the ice life at the ice bar, which serves up chilled booze and bubbling hot fondue by the bucket load.
9. Schneedorf Snow Village, Oetz, Austria
Located 2,000 metres above sea level in the Austrian Alps, the Schneedorf Snow Village offers unforgettable accommodation in the middle of Solden Ski Resort. For those that think heated rooms made of wood and brick are overrated, they can head on down to Schneedorf to sleep among the ice and snow that they have skied all day long. Igloos can be specially created to accommodate any need, as long as reservations are made a month or so ahead of time.
10. Iglu-Dorf Andorra, Grandvalira, Spain
From the outside, the Iglu-Dorf Andorra may just look like another snow bluff in the Pyrenees Mountains. However, a random door framed in blocks of snow gives away the Iglu-Dorf's location. Inside the small, romantic two-person room, couples can cuddle up in sheepskin or wander outside on the abandoned slopes to stargaze at the beautifully clear night sky. In addition to the village of nearly hidden igloo rooms, there are also two bars nearby for those that need to warm up a little with a drink.
11. Snow Village Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Snow Village Canada
While art is a big part of every ice hotel, the Snow Village in Montreal takes it to the extreme. The snow carvings within the rooms are as captivating as they are beautiful. The New York style suite has the Statue of Liberty's face practically popping out of the wall, while one particular room has a giant snow monster busting through the crumbling bricks made of snow.
12. Bjorli Ice Lodge, Dovre-Sunalsfjella National Park, Norway
Sometimes the sheer majesty of a national park makes one want to stay the night there. Usually it means camping under the stars, but in Finland, that is often too cold of an option. However, now with Bjorli Ice Lodge located deep within Dovre-Sunalsfjella National Park, this is now possible. Surrounded by the picture-perfect mountain landscape, guests can stay the night in inviting ‘arctic-deco’ style rooms or enjoy an iced cocktail or hot coffee in the lounge.