June 1, 2020
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with travel dates on or after
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with effective start dates on or after
In February, craftspeople begin to harvest two-ton blocks of ice from Sweden’s Torne River. The ice — shimmering and perfectly clear — is stored in big warehouses until the following autumn, when construction begins on the vaulted chambers of the famous ICEHOTEL.1 In winter, thousands of people flock to stay in one of the crystalline rooms, on a bed made of pure ice.
Do you want to be one of them? Ice hotel prices can be steep, but the experience is unforgettable. Here’s our guide to staying in ice hotels (and snow hotels, too).
ICEHOTEL, Sweden: In 1990, the very first ice hotel (more of an igloo/art gallery, really) was constructed in Jukkasjäarvi. When people later tried sleeping in it, they were exhilarated by the experience. Thus began the tradition of the ICEHOTEL, a structure that is rebuilt every winter by a team of artists. In 2016, a permanent structure called ICEHOTEL 365 opened. Every room is a unique fantasy of frozen art, and guests are greeted in the morning with a cup of hot lingonberry juice.
Hôtel de Glace, Québec: From the first week of January through the last night of March, you can book a night at the stunning Hôtel de Glace at the Valcartier Vacation Village (20 minutes north of Québec City). This ice hotel offers basic rooms as well as themed suites, including some with fireplaces. Look for a package deal that includes activities like dog sledding and snow tubing, or a visit to the vast indoor waterpark.
Hotel of Ice, Romania: Although small, the elegant Hotel of Ice in Transylvania stands out for its low prices: a night in one of its themed rooms or igloos costs 50 to 75 euros, a fraction of the rates elsewhere in Europe. (Just be aware that rooms are separated only by curtains from the main hall.) To reach the hotel, take a cable car high into the Carpathian Mountains. Then order some hot wine in the ice bar to warm up.
Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway: In a small town in Norway, you’ll find the Kirkenes Snowhotel — the farthest-north snow hotel, with beautifully decorated rooms. Frolic with the nearly 200 huskies who live at the resort, watch the Northern lights flare overhead, or head out on a king crab safari, where you’ll take a snowmobile to the fjord to catch and enjoy the giant crabs.2
Lapland Hotels Snow Village, Finland: The Lapland Hotels Snow Village is an elaborate construction of some 30 rooms decorated with illuminated ice sculptures and figures from folklore. In 2018, the village’s theme was “Game of Thrones,” with an Iron Throne made entirely from ice and a frightening White Walker with glowing blue eyes. At the ice restaurant, you can try reindeer tartare, Lappish cheese and Arctic char.3
The SnowHotel, Finland: Sleep on a block of ice inside a room made from snow, with walls sculpted into elaborate designs. That’s the SnowHotel experience in Kemi, Finland. Guests also get admission to the SnowCastle, a fort of snow and ice that includes a chapel and restaurant. Normally open from January through April, Kemi is building a new SnowCastle that will remain year-round.4
And remember that travel insurance can protect all your vacations, whether you’re heading to an ice hotel or a tropical bungalow. If you’re planning a trip soon, get a quote now!