Whilst many of the world’s holiday makers opt for warmer locations at this time of year, some of us are clinging on to the cold and finding icy escapes to be their choice for this seasonal snap, finding refuge in an Ice Hotel.
The ice hotel is becoming increasingly popular for those who want to find luxury outside the norm (or for those who want to an excuse to get a tad closer to their partners on a romantic get away). With choices cropping up all over the world, we have decided to give you the top Swide’s destinations for your perfectly chilled Winter Break.
Maintained somewhere between a cool -4 and -7, The Igloo of Sorrisniva, Northern Norway, houses an impressive 30 bedrooms, hotel suites, lounges, an ice-bar (where even the glasses are crafted from ice), and an ice-chapel. Like most ice hotels, you don’t have to worry about your personal belongings becoming victims of frostbite as it has warm service building, in which your designer snow gear is safely stored. If, after a couple of nights on the ice block, you want a change of comfort, then try out their Lavvos – a sapmi tent that can house 10 people – in the center of the Finnmark Plateau and watch the northern lights dance above. Sounds wonderful, no?
Sorrisniva offers the perfect base for those who want to challenge themselves with an icy excursion. On offer is the Snowmobile Safari, where guests can request a tailor made, professionally guided experience that can last just a few hours or stretch on for days, and promised to be an experience to remember. Prices for a Lavvos and the other activities are given on request, and for an overnight stay with a morning sauna, breakfast and transfers be expected to pay 1995 NOK (€255) www.sorrisniva.no/
For those who want to be where it all started, then head to Jukkasjärvi, a North Swedish village where a population of 900 is lower than that of the dogs (about 1000) due to transport needs, of course. Here lies the ICEHOTEL, what is known as the original and biggest out there, constructed from 1000 tonnes of Torne River ice, stretching across 6000 square metres and strengthened by 30,000 tonnes of ‘snice’… a mixture of snow and ice, giving comfort to those that think that staying in a ice hotel is the frozen equivalent of base jumping.
It attracts those who want to get away from it all, well I did say Northern Sweden, and those who want to experience the beauty of nature in the deep freeze. Fancy spending a night snuggled in a sleeping on a bed made of a reindeer hide covered ice block and waking up to the thought of an invigorating sauna, followed by breakfast and a day of activities and excursions? Then this is the place for you. ICEHOTEL’s rates start at around 2300 SEK (€255). www.icehotel.com
With Dracula and Transylvania hogging the limelight, it is easy to overlook what other gems this country has to offer. Well, listen to this; over 2000m above sea level in the Fagaras Mountains and accessed by cable car only, you’ll find the Ice Hotel. It invites its guests into the secret atmosphere locked into its 10 - 14 rooms, making this ice wonder put its travellers into the mindset of adventure. Hand crafted on a yearly basis, this hotel is best experienced through Untravelled Path, who offer packages that will please even the pickiest of adventurers. The Ice Hotel features as the jewel in the crown amongst a host of other stunning elements; the opportunity to explore the local cultures, visiting and exploring the colourful towns within the Transylvania countryside and even a chance to walk to historic hallways of Dracula’s eerie castle.
This hotel doesn’t feature as many of the luxuries that are found at other ice-laden establishments (yes, there is a bar) but it makes up for that in the sense of adventure that is tightly packed in to its frozen walls. Also, the hosting skills of a mysterious Christina has become as much of a legend as that of Dracula’s thirst for blood. Packages start from €495 - for a 4-night trip - up to around €800 for those who like a fright in their frozen frolics. For more: www.icehotelromania.com
For the readers who are looking for a more traditional twist to their Winter Wonderland but still want the luxury of opting for a typical Igloo, then Hotel Kakslauttanen is the place for you. With excellent connections and hidden within the Lapland wilderness, this hotel offers a combination of 40 first-class log cabins, a traditional Lappish farmer house, the world’s largest smoke sauna and an Igloo Village that crops up every late December to April, which features a futuristic take on the traditional igloo and is made from thermal glass.
Here the northern lights compliment the mood that the hotel owners want their guests to feel, a sense of comforting silence that is interrupted by the gentle crackling of a fire. The 20 Igloos on offer can hold up to 5 guests, who will be provided with sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures of -30 and also a pair of woollen socks to slip their feet into. In the morning you are encouraged to warm up in the sauna and then spend the day exploring the area or even taking a cultured stroll through their Ice Gallery. Prices for a traditional Igloo start at around €115 per person per night. www.kakslauttanen.fi
From London to Tokyo, the ICEBAR
From the same people that brought us ICEHOTEL comes ICEBAR. Already an established place for hot young things to mix up their nightlife in London, the concept offers those who want to step into the deep freeze without having to rely on the hide of a reindeer or the promise of a morning’s sauna, the opportunity to. Stepping into one of these bars, which can be found in many cities around the world (London, Tokyo, Istanbul, Oslo etc), requires booking in advance to make sure that your name is on the list and that they know who and when you’re arriving; after all they need to prepare your designer thermal cape and hood to keep you toasty warm during your stay.
Istanbul’s ICEBAR was officially opened on the 28th September this year and, as the newest addition to these permanent ice dwellings, has been attracting fashionistas and notables from all around since. A booking costs €16 per person (40 TL) and, with its mix of Artic ice and Turkish art exclusively designed by Sofi Ruotsalainen & Mikael 'Nille' Nilsson, promises to be an experience to remember. www.icebarist.com
So, this winter season, depending on where you are in the world, add a touch of frost to your living and check out what delights can be found in the deep freezer.
Written by Ben Taylor