Blog 14: Ice Hotels
With the summer season now in full swing and the urge for drinking icy drinks increasing every day, I thought it would be a good chance to write about some of the best ice hotels of the world. Maybe looking at their photos and reading about them will make us feel less hot!
Ice lodging is not a new concept with igloo construction ranging back to the 20th century. Traditionally, built as accommodation only for a night or so, some ice-hunters and Inuits started staying in them for longer. Now, you can book as many available nights at the best ice hotels across the globe. Here are some of my suggestions.
1- Norway's largest and the world's northernmost ice hotel, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, has been welcoming guests since 1999. As the first-ever ice hotel in the world, the igloo hotel has twenty-six bedrooms, four decorated suites, an ice chapel, ice bar and a lot of art-work. Completely built by local artisans every year, the 2500 square meter hotel uses nearly 250 tons ice and 7000 cubic meters snow. The hotel has a different theme every season like the Vikings, Nordic legends and myths, Wildlife of Alta valley and Arctic life. The hotel also offers activities like snowboarding, snowshoe hiking, guided Northern Lights tours, ice-fishing, reindeer rides and igloo sculpting.
The entrance to the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
2- Accessible only by cable car, in the heart of the Fagaras Mountains, the Hotel of Ice, Romania, features everything (yes, everything!) made up of ice. From the walls, beds, doors, furniture to plates, glasses and everything else in between is made of ice. It is like living in a glacier. The only crowds you will see at this 2000ft location sees are the flocks of migrating birds that sometimes fly in the clear air above the Fagaras Mountains. The average temperature inside the hotel is -2 degrees and it is about -15 degrees outside, but you need not worry about keeping warm. The hotel provides super insulated beds with double mattresses covered with reindeer fur and thermal sleeping bags. The hotel also has a Church of Ice!
The Hotel of Ice as built this year
3- Of course, the glass-roofed igloos at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland are downright awesome and the perfect place to watch the Northern Lights in the warm of your blanket, but the snow igloos are what you should go for when you visit this resort. Combining an authentic igloo experience with luxurious hospitality, this four-star resort is one of the world's most renowned igloo parks. The resort also houses the world's largest log cabin restaurant, Aurora. Unlike most ice hotels, this one isn't difficult to get too with an airport just 30 minutes away.
Thermal glass-roofed igloos
4- The SnowCastle of Kemi has been hand built every year since 1996 with a new design each time. It was first built as a gift to children by UNICEF. The annual build happens when the best snow architects come together to create one of the great signals that humanity is not lost. The complex is divided into the SnowHotel, SnowRestaurant and SnowChapel. The construction of the Snow Castle is a work of art in itself. Due to its huge size and complexity, it takes five weeks to build using snow held together with frozen seawater from the neighbouring Gulf of Bothnia. Very few people know that the SnowChapel is a fully licensed wedding chapel and has gotten couples from around the globe married!
The SnowCastle- where all fairytales come true
5- The only one of its kind in North America, the Hotel de Glace changes its theme every year and enchants tourists and locals alike. All the 44 rooms are decorated with exquisite ice sculptures and some rooms even boast of a fireplace inside. The model and architecture takes after the original Ice Hotel, Sweden (next on my list!). The hotel offers indoor and outdoor hot tubs. The hotel runs a behind the scenes tour where guests can learn about how the hotel and sculptures are made and long it takes. One can also learn how to make their own ice glasses and cocktails.
Snow clad Hotel de Glace
6- I saved the best one for the last. ICEHOTEL, Sweden is the world's first and largest ice hotel. 20 rooms, 15 art suites and a wedding ceremony hall make up the hotel along with the original ice bar and restaurant. The lighting design is the most prominent feature of the hotel, impeccably used to highlight the ice-work. All the ice used to build the hotel is loaned from the Torne River and then returned when the hotel melts in the spring season. As a result, the hotel is certified sustainable. Icehotel 365 is a permanent structure, offering the experience of sleeping on ice year round. Maintained at sub-zero temperatures by solar power during summer, its domed roof is covered in wild-flowers. While in winter, it blends seamlessly with the adjacent winter structure.
The recreation of Santorini at ICEHOTEL
While this year's season to visit any of these ice hotels is over, you have plenty of time to book your stay for early next year. Don't wait too long before every igloo is sold out. I can guarantee you that staying a night at any of these will be a once in a lifetime experience!
Ice you later,