Did you ever seen the James Bond movie, Die Another Day? Being that I grew up on James Bond I watched this movie a dozen of times. Each time I watched it I grew more and more intrigued with the idea of an ice hotel. While studying abroad in London I frequented an ice bar and became more fixated on the idea of ice hotels. Having no idea the actual Ice Hotel shown in Die Another Day actually existed (listed below) I began to dream about igloos (totally normal, right?). While browsing the Internet a few years ago I came across Kakslauttanen. It has been on my wish list for over two years and I still have the craving to travel to Finland and stay at this arctic resort. Maybe because it is the remote igloos (and how often do you get to stay in an igloo) or maybe it is because of the clear view of the northern lights (also on my bucket list) but this resort has never left my mind. However, within the past year Kakslauttanen has become quite the popular destination. Since it is becoming a go-to spot and not exactly the ice hotel from James Bond I thought about other, lesser known ice hotels that might be out there, yet to be discovered by the onslaught of adventurous tourists. And guess what, there is! Here is a list of the six best ice (and igloo) hotels I could find. May it spur your wunderlust for something a little chillier.
Located in Finland and 250 kilometers from the Arctic circle Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is a must! Easy to access (nearest airport is 30 minutes away) and right next to the largest national park in Finland. This resort is located in one of the cleanest environments you will find in the world – the water is so pure you can drink it right from the stream. Kakslauttanen is cold in the winter and relatively warm in the summer, so you can be sure to get the exact weather you are looking for. From iglaoos, to cabins, to ice igloos and queen suite this resort has it all. However, I would definitely recommend the glass igloo if you are traveling between August and April. This is when you will get a front row seat to the best show mother nature can offer – the Northern Lights. Aside from the Northern Lights you can also go snowmobiling, on a reindeer safari, sledding with huskies, aurora hunting, ice fishing, ice breaking, and horseback riding.
ICEHOTEL is located in Jukkasjärvi, a small village 200 km above the Arctic Circle but only 15 km from Kiruna Airport (KRN) and 17 km from Kiruna train station. This hotel has your safety in mind and runs through a “survival course” upon your arrival. Although temperatures outside reach beyond freezing, inside the hotel will never be colder than-7ºC (44.6ºF). Most guests sleep one night in cold accommodation and several nights in warm. And if you decide to travel in the winter they offer snowmobile tours, dog sledding tours, northern lights, and horse-, moose- and Sami arrangements. Additionally, you can try an ice driving experience, snow shoeing or cross-country skiing with one of their guides. Lastly, you definitely need to travel here with an appetite ICEHOTEL has plenty of restaurants – ICEHOTEL Restaurant, The Old Homestead, the Lounge, The Porch (Verandan) and of course the popular ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL.
Hotel de Glace is a hotel with relaxation in mind. It is designed as a place to come to “get away from it all.” With 44 rooms and suites you are sure to find something that suits your needs. They offer everything from regular rooms, themed suites, suites with fireplaces, and deluxe suites that also have their own spa attached. Another perk of Hotel de Glace – as a guest you have full access to the nordic relaxation area which boasts a sauna and and outdoor spas, all under the stars. The hotel also offers packages for honeymoons and romantic getaways. Hotel de Glace is the place to go to reset your energy, relax, and to leave all worries behind.
SnowVillage is an unique experience, as you will spend your night surrounded by beautifully illuminated ice art in tranquil silence. Whether you get a standard room or a Snow Suite the temperature hovers between -2ºC and -5ºC. While the rooms are each a work of art you don’t have to stay in them the entire time. SnowVillage offers many exciting activities and restaurants. A few of the activities include ice sculpting, Reindeer excursion, Husky safari, ice fishing, evening snowmobile tour, and daytime snowmobiling. And when all of the activities have you needing energy, SnowVillage hosts two delicious restaurants – the Ice Restaurant and the Log Restaurant. While the Log Restaurant is a cozy and romantic place the Ice Restaurant holds a full menu as well as an ice bar! Anyone say hotty toddy?
Since 2005 (happy 10 year anniversary) every winter the Hotel of Ice in the Fagaras Mountains is rebuilt, namely from the materials offered by nature: huge blocks of ice, cut and removed directly from the glacial Lake Balea. With a different theme each year you are sure to have a unique experience (this years theme is zodiac). Each season another new structure is added and tells a new story. The story is transposed in the architecture and design of the rooms, the Ice Bar and the Ice Restaurant, but also in the special events organized for the guests. What makes this hotel rare – the Ice Church. For the brides wanting a unique experience (hello frozen) or for those wanting a moment of silence (all religions welcome). The Hotel of Ice has one of the prettiest ice restaurants I have seen. And don’t worry about eating only frozen foods – the food is carefully prepared at Balea Lake Chalet and brought to the Restaurant by our winterproof staff. However, don’t order something too warm, each entree is served on an ice place! Keepin’ it authentic.
KirkenessSNowHotel is only open from December 20th – April 20th so now is the perfect time to book! While the rooms are all unique (some you will only see if you actually visit) the ice bar is one of my favorites. When constructing the Ice-bar they used the expertise of the Chinese ice specialists. The ice used is from the lake located right next to the hotel. Each day the ice continues to grow by 2 cm until it reaches about 70 centimeters in thickness. Pretty cool! Want to know something else cool (besides the entire joint) is that reindeer greet you at the front of the restaurant! As you walk past the reindeer into a cabin with a warm fire crackling you will think you made it to heaven, just wait! The food is supposed to be out of this world and made with only local produce from local farms. Told you this was all very cool!
all images via the websites