No mater how many incredibly scenic drives I experience around the world, there's always one…
I know a lot of people despise cold weather, ice and snow. I don’t really blame them it can be ugly and brutal. But on the other hand it can be shiny, white and stunning too. Since winter comes and goes so fast, I try to embrace (at least for a few months) the ice and snow and find the beauty and magic of the season.
I have always been fascinated by ice destinations. You know, places made completely out of ice and snow. Did you know that you can visit hotels, bars, festivals, museums, and igloo villages all created out of ice?
Here are a few stand-outs:
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel – Alta, Norway
This is one of the places that pops into my mind immediately when I think of ice destinations. Everything in the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is made of snow and ice, even the glasses at the bar. You can sleep warmly here in beds made of reindeer fur in temperatures of around 24 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotel is a fabulous place to see the northern lights and have a romantic evening in front of a simulated fire. The hotel opens every January and melts away in the spring.
Hotel de Glace – Quebec
Another luxurious ice hotel that melts away in the springtime, you can travel to Hotel de Glace located about 10 minutes from the heart of Quebec City. The entire place is built to transport you to a magical place, one outside your normal life where you can relax and soak in a unique and transfixing experience. You feel like you are staying in a work of art. There are 44 rooms and themed suites where you can experience a fireplaces and unique ice sculptures inside you own intimate igloo. Every year when the designers create the hotel in just a few short weeks, they add something new like a new bed, bar or common room.
Aurora Ice Museum – Fairbanks, Alaska
The only ice hotel located in the U.S. is in Chena Hot Springs about 60 miles from Fairbanks. You can visit the museum or stay at the resort if you want the full experience. The museum was created out of 1,000 tons of ice and snow and has been open since January 2005. The Aurora Ice Museum showcases jaw-dropping ice sculptures created by 16 time world champion ice carver Steve Brice. After you see the sights, head to the ice bar where you can try out their special “appletini” which is served in an ice carved martini glass.
Arctic Resort – Kakslauttanen, Finland
Talk about being off the grid?! The Kakslauttanen family hotel in Finnish Lapland is about 250 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. The location is perfectly rustic and pure yet only 30 or so minutes from the international airport in Ivalo. Stay at one of their famous glass igloos where you can admire the northern lights swirling above or opt for a cozy log cabin which feature a private sauna and fireplace. During the wintertime there are several activities such as a husky, reindeer or snowmobile safaris, horseback riding, sleigh-rides, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing.
Hotel of Ice – Romania
The Hotel of Ice at Balea Lac was first constructed in the winter of 2005. It became immediately successful with tourists, celebrities, musicians and international journalists coming to visit. Since then the yearly project has grown bigger and better. Now there is an entire ice village with and Ice Bar, Ice Restaurant, Ice Church and Winter Park. Every year the hotel’s 12 double rooms are designed to fit a different theme and three private igloos are also available. The beds are made of big blocks of ice which may seem uncomfortable until you see the soft mattress covered with blankets and animal fur.
Icehotel – Sweden
Known as the world’s first and largest hotel built of snow and ice, the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi host about 50,000 visitors each winter. Built every year since 1980, 40 artists builders and designers collaborate to create a destination that is both functional and usable, yet unmistakably a work of art. Choose from warm or cold accommodations which feature snow rooms, ice rooms, Northern Lights rooms and art suites. For night time activities there is no shortage of live music and you can visit the original ICEBAR for a glass of champagne in you guessed it…a glass made entirely out of ice.