9 beautiful igloo hotels to add to your bucket list
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Most people like ice with their drinks — but what about with their hotel accommodations? Every year, igloo hotels are recreated entirely from mounds of snow and ice and feature some of the most unique lodgings and amenities for winter lovers. From moulded-ice beds to reindeer-fueled sled rides, these hotels provide their guests with winter experiences they won’t forget.
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Where to find it: Saariselka, Finland
Why it’s cool: At the Kakslauttanen resort, guests can sleep under the Arctic sky and experience the magical wonder of the northern lights from their bed. This resort offers sleeping options that range from charming log cabins to glass igloos. It has five smoke saunas, two restaurants and access to ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in one of Finland’s largest national parks, Urho Kekkonen. Room rates start at about £280 per night.
How cold is it? The hotel rooms are kept between minus 6 and minus 3 degrees Celsius. Igloo guests are provided with a hat, sleeping bag and pair of woolen socks for extra warmth and comfort.
Best time to visit: The seasons are very different, so why not experience them all? (Note: Glass igloos are available throughout the northern lights season, from late August to the end of April.)
Where to find it: Canillo, Andorra
Why it’s cool: Nestled in the Pyrenees mountains, this igloo hotel sits 7,000-plus feet above sea level. The Grandvalira has a bar-restaurant, terrace and five rooms for guests — all made from ice. Surrounded by nature and views of the slopes, guests can sign up for ski lessons or snowmobiling offered by the hotel. To really warm up, the hotel features two hot tubs and a sauna. The overnight experience includes a welcome aperitif, snowcat ride, dinner, spa session and breakfast.
How cold is it? The rooms are kept at around 0 degrees.
Best time to visit: December through April (opening late this year, targeted for January 2021).
Where to find it: Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Why it’s cool: The Icehotel Sweden is built each year with around 1,000 blocks of ice. Guests can also stay in the permanent Icehotel 365 year-round. The winter-exclusive Icehotel features 12 individually designed art suites and 15-20 ice rooms, while Icehotel 365 includes nine deluxe suites (with private bathroom kept at a warm temperature) and another nine art suites. There are also a number of “traditional” hotel rooms, with heat and running water. After a visit to the sauna, complete the day with a frozen drink from the Icebar. An overnight stay includes winter activities ranging from snowmobiling to dogsledding to an ice sculpting class to a northern lights hunt. Rates start at about £295 per night.
How cold is it? This hotel keeps room temperatures at minus 8 to minus 5 degrees Celsius.
Best time to visit: The Icehotel is a great location for viewing the northern lights between December and April.
Where to find it: Alta, Norway
Why it’s cool: Located on the banks of the Alta River, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is the northernmost ice hotel in the world. It has 30 rooms and suites and houses an ice bar, ice chapel and ice sculptures — in addition to an amazing location to view the northern lights. Guests can even chase the northern lights on a sled pulled by reindeer. End your day with a visit to the hotel’s sauna or outdoor hot tub, or get a drink from the ice bar, where the drinks are served in glasses made from ice, of course. Rates start at about £200 per night.
How cold is it? Temperatures are kept between minus 6 and minus 4 degrees Celsius. Guests sleep inside toasty sleeping bags on mattresses with reindeer hides.
Best time to visit: Peak season is between January and April.
Where to find it: Kittila, Finland
Why it’s cool: With a different theme and design each year, Lapland SnowVillage has several suites that can accommodate two or more people. Each features different decorations and guests receive a diploma for spending the night in a snow suite. Nearby, cabins and a cottage provide a homey reprieve of warmth and comfort after a night in the snow suite. Cabins come with a sauna and the teepee cottage features a sauna with whirlpool bath. Rates start at around £295 for a double-occupancy room, per night.
How cold is it? SnowVillage remains between minus 5 and minus 2 degrees Celsius.
Best time to visit: December through early April
Where to find it: Thale, Austria
Why it’s cool: Nestled in the Kitzbuhel Alps, Alpeniglu Igloo Village offers seven private igloo suites with overnight packages including an Igloo Magic Evening party that features a guided tour around an ice sculpture exhibition, fondue on a crystal-clear ice table, a torch walk under the stars and a unique ice-carving workshop. Room rates start at around £130 per person during the low season and about £165 per person during peak season.
How cold is it? The rooms have a constant temperature of minus 2 degrees Celsius and the ice-carved accommodations come with high-quality sleeping bags and reindeer skins to keep guests comfortable.
Best time to visit: Peak season is from late December through early March, though overnight stays are restricted until May 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where to find it: Quebec City
Why it’s cool: Hotel de Glace is the only ice hotel in North America entirely made of ice and snow. Constructed with 35,000 tons of snow, this hotel has 21 rooms and suites, an ice bar and snow slides. The hotel even provides modified sleeping bags for children so that they warm up quickly. An overnight stay includes a welcome cocktail, Nordic skiing equipment, access to the spas and sauna, access to the ice skating path, gratuities and discounts on activities. There are specifically kid-friendly activities, such as an indoor water park (Bora Parc) and outdoor activities like snow rafting. Rates start at about £295 per person, per night.
How cold is it? The temperature in the room stays between minus 5 and minus 3 degrees Celsius. Guests receive a sleeping bag and an insulating bed sheet.
Best time to visit: January through March.
Where to find it: Kirkenes, Norway
Why it’s cool: This hotel is entirely built with ice and snow, with rooms stocked with warm thermal sleeping bags. Meals are served in the hotel’s warm restaurant, which features Norwegian food accompanied by homemade jelly from local blackcurrants and rowan berries and cheese from local farmers. With 14 rooms, the Snowhotel is suitable for singles, couples and large groups. Guests can warm up in the on-site sauna, visit the nearby husky farm or take advantage of activities such as ice fishing, a husky safari and a snowmobile safari. Rates start at about £255 per night for double occupancy.
How cold is it? The temperature is always around minus 4 degrees Celsius.
Best time to visit: Open year-round; late December through March is ideal.
Where to find it: Pelkosenniemi, Finland
Why it’s cool: If you want the real deal, i.e., an actual igloo, then head for this snow igloo, created from scratch every winter by Lucky Ranch Saloon. Located either at a horse farm or next to Lake Pyhajarvi, the igloo features a real bed with sleeping bags. But since it’s a real igloo, expect temperatures to be cold. Lit by LED lights and decorated with wall carvings of polar animals, each igloo can hold up to four persons and includes breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi. With the possibility of seeing the northern lights, you’ll enjoy your time outdoors at the nearby Pyha-Luosto National Park. Rates start at about £92 per night.
How cold is it?: Below 0.
Best time to visit: November to March.
Finding a flight to many of these igloo hotels may be the hardest part of your journey. Once you’re there, these once-in-a-lifetime destinations will have most of the supplies you need to sleep warmly in an igloo environment. Peak season rates at some of these properties can be much higher than if you’re willing to plan your trip for shoulder season. Given how cold it is in some of these locales, we’re pretty sure you can get the full igloo experience even if it’s not the dead of winter. And the pandemic does seem to have had an effect on the prices of some properties. 2021 may be a good time to snag a deal at an ice hotel, if local restrictions allow your arrival and you feel comfortable traveling.
Reporting by Alexa Noel and Juvy Garcia
Featured image by Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort
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