Ice and snow hotels
Image credits: MartinSmedsen, Asaf Kliger, The ICEHOTEL®, Antti Pietakainen
The coolest place to stay
To spend the night in a room or igloo crafted from snow and ice is a long-held dream for many and somewhat of a bucket list item.
Despite what you may think, you can keep surprisingly warm and cosy inside the rooms as you're protected by the elements and have plenty of Arctic-grade bedding to wrap up in.
For many people, it is the chance to marvel at the incredible talent displayed in the sculptures and carvings which is a highlight. For others, it is the knowledge that you will be amongst only a handful of people who get to spend the night in one of these stunning rooms before they melt away in the summer months.
Regardless of your motivation, there are few better ways to complete your winter adventure and few hotel experiences in the world that are this remarkable - we highly recommend an upgrade wherever possible.
About Ice and snow hotels
It all started in Sweden
The first and original hotel made of ice, is the ICEHOTEL® in the tiny village of Jukkasjärvi, in the heart of Swedish Lapland. A visit or stay here can be arranged during our Bjorkliden trips or can be added as an additional night via a scenic train journey, to our Brandon Lodge and Pine Bay Lodge trips. This marvel was first constructed in 1990 as a place to showcase local art. The owners were asked by some of the artists if they could try spending the night in there and so the concept was born!
The ICEHOTEL® soon became an annual tradition, growing in scale and grandeur each season, attracting international artists, architects and designers to design its bar, chapel and famed suites. From these beginnings, the concept of ice and snow accommodation has spread across the world.
During our Aurora Zone holidays, we have selected some of the best local ice hotels to feature alongside the Swedish original. These include Torassieppi Winter Village in North West Finland, a small-scale winter hotel featuring around ten igloo rooms alongside a chapel and restaurant. Torassieppi is always popular with our guests as it has the benefits of offering a small and simple experience with a personal touch. Then there is Apukka, a centre for ice building which features sculptures and the opportunity to spend a night in an Ice Cabin to really complete your winter adventure.
In Norway, our trips feature two very special snow hotels that are again on a smaller scale but are known for their warmth and hospitality. The first is Sorrisniva, close to the Arctic town of Alta, which boasts the title of being the most northerly snow hotel in the world. Sorrisniva is designed around a theme and also has a display of dazzling ice carvings that are a remarkable sight to see.
Kirkenes Snowhotel is also a popular option, and alongside its intricately designed suites has a fantastic ice bar where guests can enjoy a drink before bed.
The art of sleeping
Spending a night in a snow room is sure to be a memorable night and you do not need to be Ranulph Fiennes to survive a night here.
The exact set up of the rooms varies between hotels, but the main set up is that the snow and ice bed will be topped with an insulating mattress and arctic grade sleeping bags - these are designed for much lower temperatures than the usual -5 average in the snow rooms.
The temptation may be to wear everything you own to stay warm in the room but you should heed the knowledgeable advice of the staff and guides who will advise you on the best clothes to wear.
Essentially, all you will really need is your thermals and your woolly hat! Be sure to keep any additional clothes you have with you (fleece and socks for the morning for example) tucked down at the bottom of your sleeping bag so they are warm for the morning!
Almost all of the snow hotels have a sauna if you want to warm up in the morning, along with a warm building where the showers and toilets are housed.
Given the sound insulating properties of the snow walls and the crisp fresh air, many of our clients wake up feeling particularly refreshed after a deep night's sleep!