It’s hard not to be aware of the effects of climate change, with politicians and activists doomsaying while the planet slowly melts – and, if you’re staying at an ice hotel, potentially your bed melts too.
Whether you’re a fledgling Bond villain or just a ‘turn down the heating and sleep with the windows open’ sort of gal, an ice hotel can’t help but hit the spot. From forest igloos to intricately carved palaces of frozen water, here are some of the world’s most beautiful ice hotels.
Channel your inner Queen Elsa and enjoy it while they last…
Icehotel Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Sweden is home to the world’s first ice hotel! Founded in 1989, Icehotel Jukkasjarvi melts every spring, being rebuilt when the cold season returns.
A world-renowned hotel and art exhibit, the deluxe suites are individually themed and carved by artists from around the world. Some even come with a heated relaxation area for extra comfort.
Off season, there is a physical hotel with ‘warm’ rooms too, meaning you can still go between May and July to experience 24 hour daylight, but no matter what time of year you visit, Icehotel always has a range of activities. If you’re looking for a bit of extra wow-factor, visit between May and July and experience the 24-hour daylight above the Arctic Circle.
WHERE: MARKNADSVÄGEN 63, 981 91 JUKKASJÄRVI, SWEDEN
Lapland Hotels SnowVillage, Finland
Twenty million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of ice go into making the spectacular SnowVillage in Finland’s Lapland.
The hotel includes an ice bar, ice restaurant and even an ice chapel! What more could you possibly need? Rooms? Sorted, the biggest suites can sleep up to five people, and each is decorated with intricate ice sculptures.
The hotel opens each December, in time for the influx of Lapland tourists seeking Father Christmas (hint, he lives at the North Pole, so they’re going to be disappointed!). But they won’t mind because the hotel, which is accessible by snowmobile or car, cannot fail to impress.
WHERE: LAINIOTIE 566, 99100 KITTILÄ, FINLAND
Hotel de Glace, Canada
Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel) sits in the chilly eastern Canadian province of Quebec, and it first opened its glacial doors back in 2001.
Every winter the hotel is redesigned with a new theme for its season, which runs from January to March. The luxury themed suites are full of delicate ice and snow carvings, along with beautiful wintry lighting, and come complete with an ice bed topped with heavy blankets (which you’re certain to need!).
Upon arrival, you’ll receive a welcome cocktail (everyone needs help dulling that frigid chill) and access the Nordic relaxation area, where you can lounge in the spas. Temperatures sit between 3 and -5 degrees at all times in the hotel, so layer up!
WHERE: 1860 BOULEVARD VALCARTIER, SAINT-GABRIEL-DE-VALCARTIER, QC G0A 4SO Canada
Iglu-Dorf has romantic hotel rooms that’ll melt your heart. But little else.
Decorated by international artists, this Swiss ice hotel has three different levels of rooms and luxury. And the interiors include stunning carvings to a private bathroom and jacuzzi, depending the level.
And it’s not only for couples, there are rooms for up to six people if you’re not feeling the romance.
Iglu-Dorf also has a fantastic restaurant where you can indulge in mulled wine and fondue. Guests are also invited to take part in activities like building their own snow sculptures.
WHERE: ROTENBODEN, GORNERGRAT SKIGEBIET, ZERMATT, 3920 ZERMATT, SWITZERLAND
Balea Lake Ice Hotel, Romania
There’s snow place like home, but this little ice hotel might be a close second. Situated in the Fagaras Mountains, Balea Lake Ice Hotel is only accessible by cable car in the winter.
The hotel and its nearby restaurant and church are actually built from the ice of Balea Lake when it freezes over.
All of the rooms have walls and furniture hand-carved by ice artists and they’re the perfect private getaway while still feeling nice and homey (if your home is made completely of ice and snow, that is).
The ice restaurant boasts traditional Transylvanian recipes and proudly works with chefs like Andra Andriuc, winner of the 2018 European Young Chef Award. Just don’t forget your snowsuit…
WHERE: TRASEU BÂLEA LAC – ŞAUA CAPREI (TRIUNGHI ALBASTRU) TA, CÎRŢIŞOARA 117040, ROMANIA
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway
Brr, it’s cold up here. Sorrisniva is the northernmost ice hotel in Europe, and every year it is rebuilt by local workers and artists in just five weeks. Each year takes a new style, with previous themes at this 30-room hotel having included Vikings, Nordic legends and Arctic life, all designed to share Norwegian culture with visitors.
If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, Sorrisniva truly offers an escape from your daily life (unless you’re an ice sculpture, I suppose).
Indulge in an ice drink and relax in the outdoor hot baths, before you cozy up in your sleeping bag and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep in this extraordinary hotel.
WHERE: SORRISNIVA 20, 9518 ALTA, NORWAY
By The Handbook