Most hotels supply guests with an adequate place to rest their heads and a bathroom inside a comfortable atmosphere. These establishments focus on pleasing the customer to result in positive reviews and more business. Ice hotels furnish guests with icy bed frames, four corners of snow and ice, and gorgeous artwork made from those two elements. The only thing keeping guests warm is their attire and the thermal blanket/sleeping bags strewn over the beds. Are you brave enough to spend the night in these ice hotels?
Embrace the Cold With an Overnight Stay in One of These Ice Hotels
One of these five ice hotels will offer a totally unique – and cold! – experience.
1. The Hôtel de Glace, Quebec, Canada
Canada boasts North America’s only ice hotel. The Hôtel de Glace celebrates its 20th year, inviting guests into the frozen 42-room lodge complete with 40,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice. This year’s theme accentuates the 20th anniversary with “20 years of magic” influencing the signature decorations, art installations, and rooms.
Each room implements differing artistic creations. For example, one room might have an ice sculpture of a majestic lion while another etches symmetrical designs into the ceiling and employs an ice bench for residents to pop a squat.
Interested in exploring the amenities outside of your closed doors? Zip down the Grand Slide inside of the resort before popping over to the ice bar for some refreshments served in icy cups. Engaged? Take your relationship to the next level in the ice chapel, a renowned location where numerous couples tie the knot each year.
Visit The Hôtel de Glace
2. Snowhotel Kirkenes, Bjornevatn, Norway
Most snow and ice hotels limit their openings to the wintry months, but SnowHotel Kirkenes states it is “the only hotel in the world completely made of snow and ice, which is open overnight 365 days a year.” Whether you want a cold oasis away from your summer home or want to elevate your winter experience, this Norwegian lodge would love to accommodate you and your family.
This particular lodging establishment opened in 2006, deep in the Norwegian woods, away from the onslaught of heavy tourist traffic and disruptive noise. Huskies and reindeer commingle around the resort. Interested participants indulge in a husky tour where a tour guide assigns a husky or two to the group, and they trot forth on a hike. Anglers delight over the goliath crabs existing at the bottom of the fjord—crabbing is a main hobby for those staying in the icy chambers.
Like other snow resorts, you don’t need to book an overnight stay to delight in the offerings of Kirkenes’ Snow Hotel. Day guests explore the sculpted ice lore adorning the lobby and ice bar walls and relax with a beverage served in an ice glass at the ice bar. Overnight residents appreciate the artistry adorning the walls of the 14 guest rooms and lobby upon check-in.
Visit Snowhotel Kirkenes
3. ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
This Swedish establishment is the world’s first-ever ice hotel! The frigid atmosphere opened doors to customers in 1989 and has dazzled ever since. Between December and April, worldwide travelers jet set to this Swedish destination for a legendary stay in one of the 12 art suites or one of the 15 ice rooms.
The hotel employs the world’s most talented sculptors to concoct an exclusive design for each art suite. Each room clocks the temperature between -5 and -8 degrees Celsius. Thankfully, cozy reindeer hides and thermal sleeping bags trap the heat on the bed. The ice rooms pose a less distinct display. An icy bed frame serves as the centerpiece, with reindeer hides and sleeping bags draped over the mattress it holds.
While the IceHotel shutters doors in April, the IceHotel 365 allows year-round guests to appreciate an overnight icicle stay in one of 18 suites inside the art museum. The art suites celebrate exclusive designs fashioned by experienced ice carvers, while the deluxe suites enhance the experience with an in-room bathroom not whittled out of ice.
4. Hotel of Ice, Sibiu, Romania
Romania’s Hotel of Ice transports visitors into a fairytale world, as the igloo exists nuzzled in the middle of the Făgăraș Mountains and can only be reached by a serene cable car ride. After completing the cable ride, wide-eyed tourists journey through the winter wonderland to the designated igloo rooms—carved each year out of the frozen Bâlea Lake by local experts.
Passengers step through the snowy entrance of the baroque igloo into a jaw-dropping spectacle featuring icicle art, an ice restaurant, and an ice bar. The carvers base the room design on annual themes; every room provides guests with different artwork to admire, yet each hotel patron can appreciate the communal ice restaurant and ice bar. Waitstaff dish out entrees on interesting chiseled ice tables as glistening chandeliers cast a romantic haze over the glacial meal. Following the feast, an ice bar caters to those looking to elevate their experience with a libation in a frosty chalice.
Visit Hotel of Ice
5. Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos, Lapland, Finland
Starting in 2008, this Finnish staple has been designing novel ice hotel formations each year. The unique Arctic SnowHotel offers four separate attractions to enchant guests with the mysticism of the elements we call snow and ice. First, guests check into their frigid stay—temperatures flutter between 0 and -5 degrees Celsius inside the creations—and a guide takes you through the intricate icy art decorating the hotel's interior. For those unwilling to spend a night (or a few) surrounded by frozen water, day passes are available.
Each room contains one-of-a-kind ice art and an ice bed frame with standard mattresses. You won’t freeze, given the hotel allots each room with comfortable fleece blankets used in bitter temperatures. If you cannot find a restful sleep in the arctic temperatures, venture to the hotel’s shared warm area.
Other amenities differing from traditional hotels sans ice rooms include a snow sauna and a steam room made of snow and ice, except for the wooden bench slabs on either side of the intimate space. You rest on cold, snowy walls while thick waves of steam pillow in front of you, raising your body temperature. A pop-up ice bar lives up to its name, materializing throughout September and select days in October where they pour liquid into ice cups.
About Gabrielle Reeder
Gabrielle Reeder is a travel enthusiast from St. Petersburg Florida. She boarded her first plane at six months old and blamed her love for jet-setting on her mom’s background as a travel agent. She’s been to 41 states and six countries, hoping to up that number to 50 states and 10 countries by her 26th birthday. She loves to find the best vegetarian food, desserts, and music venues during her trips.