Embrace the chill this winter in one of these spectacular sub-zero hotels with ice sculptures, ice beds and more
The largest of its kind in the world, the Ice-Hotel in Jukkasjärvi has been carving up creative icy beds for over 25 years. Each year, artists and designers from around the world create one-of-a-kind suites, using only frozen water from the nearby Torne River.
From pole-dancing polar bears to a London tube-inspired ‘Mind the Gap’ design, no two rooms are the same. Guests even sleep on a bed of ice blocks – but don’t worry you won’t get frostbite; there are cosy thermal sleeping bags and a comfy mattress to keep you warm.
The Ice-Hotel has its own bar and church (weddings can be held here too), and it’s within easy reach of Abisko – one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights.
Nestled between the icy peaks of the Fagaras Mountains in central Romania, Hotel of Ice is like something out of a fairytale. Accessible only by cable car, the hotel is hand-carved out of Balea Lake ice by local craftsman every year.
While you’re there, sip a cool drink in the sub zero Ice Bar, dine from plates of ice in the hotel restaurant, or get out and enjoy the surrounding snow-dusted area. If the ice gets too much, the nearby medieval towns of Brasov and Sibiu boast beautiful cobbled streets and resplendent architecture.
Despite being located just ten minutes from Quebec City centre, Hôtel de Glace feels more like a remote Nordic adventure. Inside the thick, snowy walls lie intricately designed rooms and a cavernous bar where you can dance the night away.
Winter at the Hotel de Glace (Shutterstock)
The hotel changes its theme each year – past wintery delights include ‘Journey to the Center of Winter’ and an homage to the First Nations. For the ultimate experience stay in one of the hotel’s Premium Deluxe suites, which boast crackling fireplaces and private spas – perfect for a winter honeymoon.
The Ice Cave on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, is an icy paradise. Situated within the magical Alpha Resort Tomamu ski resort, the hotel has only one room so it’s heaven for couples that want to escape from the world. There's also an ice-hewn chapel for winter weddings.
The resort itself is like one large glowing rainbow – everything from the ice-hewn igloos to the trees give off a soft light making it feel warm and romantic, despite the freezing temperatures. And freezing it is; everything from the plates to the glasses are carved from ice – you can even make your own ice goblet with an ice pick.
As if its intimate charm and glittering ice sculptures weren't enough, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Norwegian Lapland is surrounded by the Finnmark plateau – a dazzling landscape of craggy mountains and lush, scented pine trees.
Honeymoon suite (Dreamstime)
As well as having cosy ice suites, lounges and galleries, the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel has one other major draw; it’s a prime location for viewing the Northern Lights. If you're lucky, you can watch the skies spring to life with dancing pink, green and purple lights.
Started by an extreme snowboarder who wanted to be the first to ride the soft powder snow in the morning, Iglu-Dorf now sets up igloo villages at 7 different locations. At the Zermatt village you can lie in a whirlpool and gaze at the Matterhorn while at Zugspitze you can look down on Germany, Austria and Switzerland from one viewpoint.
The hotel offers standard and romantic igloos, some of which even have their own private Jacuzzis. Sleeping bags, breakfast, and a cheese fondue dinner are all provided to keep you warm and cosy.
20 million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of crystal-clear ice make up the colossal Snow Village in Finland. The village is home to a hotel, restaurant, cocktail bar and even a chapel that performs wedding services. As night falls, keep your mittened-fingers crossed for a display of the Northern Lights.
Each room at the ice hotel is individually decorated, with beautifully-lit snow and ice sculptures – the perfect back drop as you snuggle down into the fleece-lined sleeping bags. In the morning you'll be served a hot berry juice to start your morning Finnish-style.
Impressed by all of these ice creations? Eskimo Village in Slovenia offers the opportunity to test your ice-sculpting prowess: you can build your own igloo room for the night, using shovels, saws and a bit of elbow grease.
Igloo building (Shutterstock)
If that sounds a bit extreme, check into a ready-made ice room and try snow-shoeing, snow golf, sledding and skiing – ending with a few well-chilled drinks at the Ice Bar.
Main image: Iglu-Dorf, Switzerland
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