Exploring Ice Hotels

Can you imagine yourself chilling in a hotel somewhere right this minute? What if you could literally chill….in an ice hotel? What? Yes, ice hotels actually exist and they are beautiful! But, you cannot stay in one during your summer vacation because they melt and are rebuilt every year. As one of the leading ice companies in Texas, we appreciate these works of art.

What is an Ice Hotel?

An ice hotel is exactly what you are thinking. It is a hotel made of snow and ice that is sculpted into frozen works of art and architecture. Visitors usually sleep in beds made of ice with furs and/or sleeping bags made to withstand freezing temperatures. The temperatures in the rooms are below freezing, but much warmer than the weather outdoors. The cost can be quite expensive, sometimes as much as $3000 a night. The beauty of the lobbies, bars and common areas is amazing; usually decorated with ornate ice sculptures. Food and drinks are themed for the ice hotels with drinking glasses being made of ice, seating is ice and the bar is ice. These hotels are rebuilt every year just in time for the frigid months, while melting during the warmer ones. Depending on the hotel, sometimes steel framing is used in construction.

The Original Ice Hotel in Sweden

The original Icehotel is located in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, about 125 miles from the Arctic Circle. The Tourne River is the source of the ice and where the water returns too when it melts in the summer. You can actually sleep on ice in the middle of the summer. While being an actual hotel, it is a gorgeous art exhibition made of snow and ice. Founded in 1989, Icehotel is constantly evolving with creativity and originality.

The Hotel de Glace in Canada

The Hotel de Glace in Quebec, Canada is the only full-scale ice hotel in North America. Originally constructed in 2001, it contains 85 rooms and operates from early January – the end of March. Hotel de Glace also has an adjacent restaurant and an ice bar. Prices start at $495 per night.

Ice Hotels in Finland

Finland has SnowHotel of the Lumilinna SnowCastle of Kemi. This is the largest snow fort in the world, offering family rooms for up to 5 people. SnowCastle of Kemi even has a honeymoon suite, chapel and restaurant. The style of this snow fort changes with every rebuild. The art, theme, shape are all part of the redesign. Finland also has the Lainio Snow Village located north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland. This ice hotel has activities such as an ice maze and snow slides. The Igloo Village in Saariskelka, Finland is part of Hotel Kakslauttanen. This is for the adventurous who want to spend the night in an igloo. The options include a snow igloo or a warm glass igloo. The glass igloo allows guests to watch the Northern Lights from their bed. The one twist, at night there is total silence inside of the igloos. The igloo restaurant in this ice hotel can seat 150 people. Ooooh, don’t miss the Santa Claus Celebration House while you are there.

Ice Hotels in Norway

Norway offers The Snow Hotel. This destination experiences the polar nights each winter from mid-November through mid-January. The polar nights is the period of winter where there is no sunlight; only darkness 24 hours a day. It features beautifully lighted works of art to light the days. Alta, Norway’s Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is the northernmost ice hotel in Europe; therefore it is often open through April. If guests want to warm up, they can visit the sauna and hot tubs. The southernmost hotel is also in Norway, near the area of Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics. The Hunderfossen Ice Hotel and Winter Park is slightly different than the others in that it is built mostly of snow, which also means that the tourist season is shorter. The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is located in Finmark and sits less than 10 miles from the Russian border. The highlight of the Kirkenes is its snow dome. It spans just over 26’ high and 39’ in diameter. Here, visitors enjoy the Reindeer Park and husky farm.

Surprisingly, the list of ice hotels is long. Ice hotels can be found in Romania, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and even Japan. Each one is unique from the other and changes every year. They are rare, but worth the travel and cost to experience a magnificent and fascinating adventure into art and architecture. You might want to plan your next vacation for winter and stay at least one night in an ice hotel that shines like diamonds. Just remember to bring your long-johns.

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