Queen Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret. She knows all the top ice and igloo hotels in the world.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t quite how the story goes but who wasn’t a bit mesmerized by Elsa’s Ice Castle in the Disney movie Frozen? The entire palace is built in the hexagonal shape of a snowflake. A “flawless” staircase leads to a crystalline set of double doors which can open by themselves into the palace. The first room features a beautiful frozen ice fountain, and the list just goes on. It is an inspired mix of nature, architecture, and color.
It isn’t just fantasy though. In fact, the 50 or so animators that created it were inspired by an actual ice hotel in Quebec. The Hotel de Glace isn’t the only incredible ice and igloo hotel in the world though. In fact, as the snow continues to pile up in parts of the United States and most people are finding themselves cozied around a roaring fire or enjoying the heat of their ceramic units, why not take the more adventurous route and discover a few of the mostly temporary getaways made of blocks of ice and packed snow throughout the world?
Hotel de Glace, Quebec, Canada
Since we started off talking about Frozen we might as well talk about the hotel that inspired it all. The only full ice hotel in North America, Hotel de Glace in Quebec is only 10 minutes from downtown Quebec City. Rebuilt each year, the hotel has 44 rooms and suites, each one as intimate as an igloo. Beds boast solid ice bases with a wooden bedspring and mattress on top. To keep warm, mattresses are then covered with blankets, while guests sleep inside arctic sleeping bags designed to stay warm and cozy in temperatures as low as minus 30ºC.
Hotel of Ice, Romania
If you happen to be trekking through the Carpathian Mountains or visiting the Museum of Pysanka sometime between December and May each year, why not stay at Romania’s Hotel of Ice? The lodge is an exciting place to vacation as it is built out of ice from a nearby glacier. As with Hotel de Glace, all rooms have ice beds covered with mattresses and furs, and guests sleep in sleeping bags.
IceHotel, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Oft referred to as “original ice hotel,” the IceHotel located in the Swedish town of Jukkasjarvi, just north of the Arctic Circle, has been a Swedish tradition for 25 years. Every winter since 1989, workers cut ice from the frozen Torne River and sculpt the huge ice blocks in order to construct the world-famous hotel. Construction takes place in November and December and the hotel is open between December and mid-April; thawing season. What is so unique about the IceHotel is that each of the rooms (the Snow Room, the Ice Room, the Northern Lights Suite, etc) are all aglow with sparkling ice-crystal chandeliers. The hotel even has an ice church!
SnowCastle, Kemi, Finland
The SnowCastle in Kemi, Finland is arguably the largest snow fort in the world. The castle features a SnowHotel, a SnowRestaurant serving three-course dinners, and even a SnowTube Slide. Guests are treated to hotel rooms made of pure, white snow. Those more interested in the happenings outside can bunk down in one of the Olokolos; pods with roofs that open up for a clear view of the Northern Lights.
For those who can’t get enough of the snow, there is the Iglu-dorf at the Davos-Klosters resort. What is so unique about these accommodations are they are actually individual igloos connected by large corridors. The hotel can house up to 44 people and guests can warm up with either the sauna or the whirlpool!
So how about it? How about staying somewhere a bit more adventurous? Is stripping down and sliding into a “mummy bag” your idea of luxury? What is the most original place you have stayed overnight? Let us know in the comment section below or go over to our Facebook page to continue the conversation!