Not one for a beach holiday in the tropics? Well, how about a night in an extravagant ice hotel instead? These frozen coves are more like palaces than hotels. But they’re probably best for the adventurous type who don’t mind a chill… These hotels will leave you shivering with glee thanks to their stunning architecture as you bundle up under the blanket and settle in for a night on your bed of ice (literally). While most ice hotels are rebuilt in the winter, they always come back just as beautiful as before. No icesores over here!
Check out these eight magical ice hotels where you can channel your inner Queen Elsa…
Previously the only ice hotel in North America, Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel), in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec, first opened its glacial doors back in 2001. Every winter, the hotel is redesigned with a new theme for its season, running from January to March. Here, the luxury themed suites are full of delicate ice and snow carvings, and beautiful wintry lighting, complete with an ice bed topped with heavy blankets (which you’re certain to need!). Upon arriving, you’ll receive a welcome cocktail (everyone needs help dulling that frigid chill) and access the Nordic relaxation area, where you can lounge in the spas. Temperatures sit between 3 and -5 degrees at all times in the hotel, so bundle up!
Where: 1860 Boulevard Valcartier, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QC G0A 4S0, Canada
You’ve never seen a snow bank like this! Rather impressively, this hotel uses 20 million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of ice each year to rebuild into its spectacular form. The biggest snow suite can fit up to five people, each decorated with intricate ice sculptures. If you can’t get enough of the chill, head on over to the SnowVillage, home to an ice bar, ice restaurant and even an ice chapel! I mean, what more could you need? Accessible by car or snowmobile, the SnowVillage reopens in December for its next thrilling chilling season!
Where: Lainiotie 566, 99100 Kittilä, Finland
Apart from being totally constructed from ice, this hotel has some other unique aspects that make it worth a visit. The ice hotel at Hoshino Resorts in northern Japan sits near a white birch forest, and its outdoor arctic spa gives bathers a dreamy winter view of the surrounding icy trees. There is also an ice lounge for guests to enjoy one of 20 Japanese whiskeys as they sit back on an outdoor ice chair (don’t worry, you’re not limited to just one drink sitting out there). If you haven’t had enough of the cold, pop over to the nearby ice village and work up a freezing sweat with some ice skating! The temperatures here are snow joke, however. With early mornings easily falling to -25 degrees, this one’s for arctic enthusiasts only. Sorry nan!
Where: Nakatomamu, Shimukappu, Yufutsu District, Hokkaido 079-2204, Japan
Brr, it’s cold up here. Of course Norway was always going to blow us away with an impressive ice hotel, but we didn’t realise quite how much! Sorrisniva is the northernmost ice hotel in Europe, and every year it is rebuilt by local workers and artists in just five weeks. Previous themes at this 30-room hotel have included Vikings, Nordic legends and Arctic life, designed to share Norwegian culture with visitors.
If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, Sorrisniva truly offers an escape from your daily life. You’re soon to be indulging in an ice drink and relaxing in the outdoor hot baths, before you cozy up in your sleeping bag and enjoy the wonderful contrast between warm and cold.
Where: Sorrisniva 20, 9518 Alta, Norway
Okay, this one isn’t technically an ice hotel, but its unique winter concept is perfect for those who aren’t confident they want to take the full ice plunge just yet. Kakslauttanen offers guests the opportunity to stay in their glass igloos, which are beautiful little indoor/outdoor spheres with a marvelous view of the sky above. Perfect for any stargazers out there! Cozy up with your loved one or hang out with friends in one of these warm little structures and enjoy the wintery surroundings without having to endure frostbite (um, yes please). Sound like your cup of tea? You can book the igloos throughout the Northern Lights Season (August to April).
Where: Kiilopääntie 9, 99830 Saariselkä, Finland
There’s snow place like home, but this little ice hotel might be a close second. Situated in the Fagaras Mountains, Balea Lake Ice Hotel is only accessible by cable car in the winter. The hotel and its nearby restaurant and church are actually built from the ice of Balea Lake when it freezes. All of the rooms have walls and furniture hand-carved by ice artists and they’re the perfect private getaway that still feel nice and homey. The ice restaurant boasts traditional Transylvanian recipes and proudly works with chefs like Andra Andriuc, winner of the 2018 European Young Chef Award. Just don’t forget your snowsuit…
Where: traseu Bâlea Lac - Şaua Caprei (triunghi albastru) TA, Cîrţişoara 117040, Romania
Sweden is home to the world’s first ice hotel! Founded in 1989, Icehotel Jukkasjarvi is a world-renowned hotel and art exhibit that has cold and warm rooms available year-round. The deluxe suites are individually themed and carved by artists from around the world. Some suites even come with a heated relaxation area to promote extra comfort. No matter what time of year you visit, Icehotel always has a range of activities. If you’re looking for a bit of extra wow-factor, visit between May and July and experience the 24-hour daylight above the Arctic Circle.
Where: Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Iglu-Dorf has the perfect romantic hotel rooms to melt your heart. Decorated by international artists, this Swiss ice hotel has three different levels of romantic rooms for you and your loved one to spend the night in together. From stunning carvings to a private toilet and jacuzzi, it doesn’t get sweeter than this (there’s also group rooms for up to six people if you’re not feeling the romance). Iglu-Dorf also has a fantastic restaurant where you can indulge in mulled wine and fondue, and guests can even take part in activities like building their own snow sculptures. They probably won’t even come close to comparing to the ones in the hotel, but still it’s worth a pop!
Where: Rotenboden, Gornergrat Skigebiet, Zermatt, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland
Channel your inner nomad at The Handbook Travel