The best way to get through the winter months is to embrace the season it in all its chilly, frosty glory. And what better way of cozying up to Jack Frost than to spend a night in a man-made crystal palace built entirely out of snow and ice?
Here’s our pick of the 5 ice hotels that truly earn the title of Winter Wonderland.
1. Kirkenes Snowhotel – Sor-Varanger, Norway
The most northerly of them all, Norway’s Kirkenes Snowhotel near the Russian border invites incredibly talented sculptors from the famous ice festival in Harbin, China, to build its frosty fortress each year.
Catch a husky taxi straight from the airport and check into your snowy suite, decorated in themes of Arctic culture and nature, before heading out on an Arctic King Crab fishing tour or sitting down to a dinner of locally-sourced ingredients at one of the hotel’s excellent restaurants.
The Gabba, with happy resident reindeer waiting to greet you in the yard, is housed in a traditional Sami Lavvu (a tee-pee like structure), and the Høyloftet has a stunning view of the fjords.
After dinner, hop onto the Aurora Express in search of the Northern Lights with an expert guide, or head to the warm lounge for midnight tea and coffee.
2. Snow Village – Kittilä, Finland
The end result is an impressive network of colorfully-lit snow tunnels, leading you to an ice restaurant, an ice bar with its own igloo disco and over 30 rooms decorated floor to ceiling in ice carvings each more intricate than the last.
From snow forests to friendly goblins and glowing jagged ice crystals that look like something out of planet Krypton, the themes may change every year but one detail remains the same: everything is made of snow and ice. Yes, even the beds.
23 to 28 °F may not seem like the ideal sleeping temperature but, with thermal sleeping bags provided to keep you warm and some hot berry juice when you wake up, you’d be surprised how comfortable the whole experience really is.
Don’t worry, if it all gets to be too much, an underground sauna is available to overnight guests and there’s a heated back-up room on standby, should you change your mind in the middle of the night.
Ready to spend the night? Book a room at the Snow Village with momondo.
3. ICEHOTEL – Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Home to the original Ice Bar and onto its 26th year of leaving the world in awe of its jaw-dropping creations, Jukkasjarvi’s notorious ICEHOTEL gathers artists from all over the world to transform 10,000 tonnes of frozen water – sourced from the local Torne River – into anything from tropical jungles and labyrinths to Gothic arches and even the inside of a giant bell pepper.
With a different design for every room, and ever-more complex techniques being applied to the ice sculpting process, the stakes are higher every year, as over 50,000 people from 80 countries across the globe flock over to glimpse this ephemeral art show – before heading to the Ice Bar for signature cocktails inspired by each year’s snowy creations.
Staying the night guarantees you a guided tour of the hotel, as well as the chance to try your own hand at ice sculpting, taking a winter wilderness survival class or heading out for a 3-course dinner lit by the stars of the polar sky. Find out more about the ICEHOTEL on the momondo blog.
Ready to go? Book your stay at the ICEHOTEL with momondo.
4. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Alta, Norway
The ancestors of the family that still manages the hotel today first settled in Sorrisniva in 1885 and, after putting together a boat trip business in the 70s and later starting the first organized snowmobile safaris in mainland Norway, inaugurated the Igloo Hotel on the banks of the Alta River in 2001.
If you’re still worried about the cold, the sauna is heated every morning at 7 am to get you feeling nice and toasty before breakfast and the hotel proudly boasts its ability to dress up to 450 people in warm winter clothes.
Spend your day snowmobiling on the pure white open landscape of the Finnmark plateau or set off reindeer-sledding under the Northern Lights. The cozy Laksestuna restaurant, decorated with local slate, rocks from the river and wood, follows the food calendar for superb meals with only the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Take me there! Book your night at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel with momondo.
5. Hôtel de Glace – Quebec city, Canada
Canada’s one and only Hôtel de Glace is a mere 10 minute drive from Québec City and a great choice if you want to catch some city culture on your winter break.
At the hotel, complete with towering snow vaults, a hot tub under the stars and a thrilling tube slide made entirely of ice, the fireworks display on opening night makes for a truly memorable show.
A celebrity in its own right, film crews – come to shoot everything from TV shows and ads to documentaries on sight – are regular guests. The hotel was even host to the press junket for Disney’s winter tale Frozen.
Join the Behind the Scenes guided tour to answer all your questions about what goes into building such a monument, and learn how to make your own ice glass in the process!