March 1, 2007

12 Hotels Made of Ice

Just a few years ago, it was a novelty found only in Sweden: a hotel built entirely out of ice. Each spring it melted, and each winter it was rebuilt, bigger and better than before. The original Ice Hotel is still a hot (well, cold) property; each year thousands of people pay handsomely to sleep there on slabs of ice (covered with animal pelts and high-tech sleeping bags, natch). But now imitators have sprung up all over the world. Here are some of the places you can book a room in an ice hotel:

  • ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden: the original and (I think) the best, it has such amenities as an ice bar and even an ice church.
  • Ice Hotel Canada in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Quebec, this ice hotel also has a chapel (for white weddings, of course) and even offers daytime tours for people who aren’t interested in spending the night on ice.
  • The Aurora Ice Museum: at the Chena Hot Springs resort in Fairbanks, Alaska, can be booked for overnight stays, even though they no longer have actual hotel rooms made of ice, as they once did.
  • The Igloo Village ice hotel, part of the Kangerlussuaq Hotel and Conference Centre in Greenland, is pretty minimalist as ice hotels go.
  • Snow Village in Finland includes a bar and restaurant made of ice.
  • Lainio Snow Village in Yllas, Finland offers both conventional and icy accommodations. Book your own ice suite!
  • Snowland, also in Finland, is primarily an ice restaurant, but the property also features a handful of sleeping igloos.
  • LumiLinna SnowCastle in Kemi, Finland, has the customary ice hotel, restaurant, and chapel—plus what appears to be a drawbridge. That makes (at least) four ice hotels in Finland. Wow.
  • The Alta Igloo Hotel is located in Norwegian Lapland.
  • The Kakslauttanen Cabins & Igloos in Ivalo, Norway, feature your choice of accommodation—log cabins or ice beds in ice rooms—and is apparently quite popular with honeymooners. Go figure.
  • Hotel Ice Balea Lake in Romania is a relative newcomer, and doesn’t even have its own Web site. However, another site claims: “The rooms are equipped with matrimonial bed from ice, covered by lamb fur…” I think that description speaks for itself.
  • Iglu-Dorf runs five different igloo hotel villages in different parts of Switzerland each winter.

You can read more about ice hotels at Interesting Thing of the Day, the Wikipedia, Frommer’s, and Arctic Experience.

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