Most kids love adventure especially ones that include sleeping in an ice hotel! Spending way too much time in the cold might not sound like fun, but trust us, these amazing resorts ensure their guests are kept warm and comfortable, day and night. In our opinion, there’s nothing better in life than sipping hot chocolate after a snow-fun-filled day while admiring the Northern lights from your warm glass igloo! Magical!
‘So, what is an Ice Hotel?’ – that’s the first question anyone might ask when hearing this strange juxtaposition of words.
Surely, a hotel is built to last and serve for decades, and ice is simply not the material to build it with. While some of these ice hotels might have a short life in terms of construction and may not be as warm and cosy as regular hotel rooms might be, these ice hotels are actually one of the coolest places to stay for a vacation. Most ice hotels have several amenities for their guests to ensure a comfortable staying experience but the main attractions of these hotels are their special features, including massive ice sculptures and ice carvings.
If you want something different on your next family winter vacation, try one of these best ice and snow hotels in the world. It might turn out to be your best winter family vacation ever!
1. Hotel Kakslauttanen Igloo Village – Saariselka, Finland
Have you ever imagined life in a snow igloo? Well, in Finland, Saariselka, you get the opportunity to live out your imagination at Hotel Kakslauttanen Igloo Village which provides a range of glass-igloo accommodations. The glass interior of the igloos allows for an open view of the entire snowy landscape.
However, one of the main reasons why these ice igloos are so popular is that they sit right under the Arctic Circle, where the natural phenomena of Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights take place. Apart from the splendid view, the hotel also provides guests with a sculpture gallery for building or requesting your own ice sculpture. This hotel is only open during specific times of the year, and usually closes at the end of April. The optimal time to visit is during winter preferably before April as that’s when the Northern Lights is typically brightest.
2. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Alta, Norway
This snow hotel in Norway is rebuilt every year and designed based on different themes. The walls of each room is made entirely of large blocks of ice and cemented with snow this the ice hotel can be really chilly. However, this is not typically a problem for guests as the hotel offers heated saunas every morning and has an array of warm winter clothes at the disposal of every guest.
One of the main reasons why these ice igloos are so popular is that they sit right under the Arctic Circle, where the natural phenomena of Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights take place. Apart from the splendid view, the hotel also provides guests with a sculpture gallery for building or requesting your own ice sculpture. This hotel is only open during specific times of the year, and usually closes at the end of April. The optimal time to visit is during winter before April as that’s when the Northern Lights is typically brightest.
2. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Alta, Norway
This snow hotel in Norway is rebuilt every year and designed base on different themes. The walls of each room is made entirely of large blocks of ice and cemented with snow this the ice hotel can be really chilly. However, this is not typically a problem for guests as the hotel offers heated saunas every morning and has an array of warm winter clothes at the disposal of every guest.
3. Hotel of Ice – Balea Lac, Romania
Also known as the ‘Hotel of Ice’, Balea Lake Ice Hotel sits on top of a mountain valley over a frozen glacial lake. This hotel is also built completely out of snow and ice blocks, but does provide heating through a fireplace where you can warm yourself up after waking up.
The Balea Lake Ice Hotel has an adjoined restaurant, named the Chalet Balea Lac’s restaurant, which typically serves traditional and local dishes. As guests, you can also sign up for some fun activities in the snow like snowboarding, ice skating and skiing. The best time to visit the ‘Hotel of Ice’ in Romania is during the months of January to March.
4. SnowHotel – Kirkenes, Norway
The Snow Hotel in Norway offers the best sub-zero snow-suites with each room having its own ice decoration. While the rooms can get incredibly chilly, guests are provided with thermal sleeping bags and round-the-clock care for any troubles with sleep. If you book the hotel for the night, you will get a complimentary juice made from local berries before your three-course dinner.
In-house guests are welcome to book icy adventures through the hotel and the options include a northern lights tour given by a husky-pulled chariot ride, a cross-country skiing excursion and an arctic king crab fishing tour. The best time to visit the Snow Hotel in Norway is between December and April.
5. Snow Village – Montreal Canada
When you enter this hotel, you’re greeted with a foot-warming pad and a package of Kleenex. This snow hotel in Canada might have its temperatures go down to -5 C, but the hotel makes sure you are well prepared to combat the low temperatures. Here, the Pommery Ice Restaurant serves up a delicious range of hot food, all made in consideration with the cold.
Because this entire hotel’s made of ice, you are even required to sit on literal ice tables and ice chairs with a cushion padding made out of wool. Afterwards, you’re given extra-thermal sleeping bags to spend the rest of the night in. The Snow Village in Montreal is open year-round except for the end of March. It is best to visit this Canadian ice hotel when the temperature is a bit less harsh, ideally during September to November.
6. Lainio Snow Village, Kittila, Finland
Winter is coming – the most quoted words from the show, Game of Thrones. Well, in Lainio Snow Village, winter has already arrived. This giant snow village changes its style and architecture every year with different themes, and one of its most famous architectural themes as of yet was its take on the popular TV show, Game of Thrones.
With snow rooms decorated as snow thrones, ice sculptures of giants clad in armor, ghoulish men with glowing blue eyes and beds looking over ice nymphs – this ice hotel can be either frightening or a fan’s best dream come true. Even though the theme for its design changes each year, guests will be left astounded by the beautiful ice sculptures that hang around in each ice room. The Lainio Snow Village of Finland remains open from December to April.
7. IceHotel – Jukkasjarvi, Sweden
Have you ever wanted to get to a place in a unique style? To visit the Ice Hotel in Sweden, you can take a ride via a dogsled where a group of huskies will guide you to your destination. Ice Hotel in Sweden is rebuilt yearly alongside the frozen waters of the nearby Torne River, and surprisingly, guests do not feel that chill in their ice rooms.
This is mainly because the hotel ensures a comfortable and warm stay with their heated beds and ice walls being covered by reindeer skin. You can also sign up for a light exhibition that takes you through the process of constructing this specially made hotel, or ride on horseback to see the Northern Lights. You can stay in this ice hotel in Sweden whenever you want during the year since it’s open year-round.
8. Hôtel de Glace – Quebec city, Canada
To get to this hotel is relatively easy since it’s located only a few minutes away from downtown Quebec. The Hotel de Glace in Canada offers great service to their guests from complimentary cocktails served in specially-made ice glasses upon arrival to blanket-covered ice-furniture kept all around the hotel.
You can also warm up while enjoying a view of the surrounding snow-covered landscape in their open-air Jacuzzi. For entertainment, you can visit the hotel’s Ice workshop to experience the work of constructing the entire ice enclosure. The best time to go to the Hotel de Glace in Canada is during the months of January to March, but if you want to experience the social culture of Quebec, it is optimal to visit in the months of January and February when a lot of other activities are also happening in the area.
9. Snow Castle of Kemi – Kemi, Finland
Snow Castle in Finland has maintained a great reputation for its snow-built castles since its beginning in 1996. Each year it’s rebuilt, the Snow Castels of Kemi has new architectural designs so visitors will always find a change in the resort’s overall look and feel. The Castle also has splendid ice sculptures with themes that correspond to their architecture.
You can also find other entertainment sources in this small 14-roomed ice villa, from marriage ceremonies conducted at their snowy chapel, aptly named the Snow Chapel, or watch performances in the castle’s snow stage. Their food menu is also quite unique since they serve local specialties such as reindeer soup and reindeer filets. The Snow Castle of Kemi remains open form the months of January to April, and if you cannot book a room for an overnight stay, you can get a ticket to the company’s Snow Experience which is available all year round.
10. Eskimska Vas – Slovenia
With the roromanticization of the lives of Eskimos, from their houses of igloos to sledding down snowy slopes and fishing over frozen glacial lakes, it’s no wonder some of us want to be Eskimos for a day or two. Well, Slovenia makes those wishes come true with their Eskimo-based snow village.
Arrive in a smooth ride over the mountains of Slovenia through a cable car from where you’ll be required to hike your way to the hotel. Once you get to the hotel, you can relax inside an actual igloo bar where you’ll get hot drinks to warm you up. The Eskimas Vas also offers Slovenian dishes in their igloo restaurant and you can sign up for a number of snow activities such as sledding or riding a snowbike through the mountain.
11. Kirkenes Snowhotel, Sor-Varanger, Norway
The Kirkness Snowhotel is a winter wonderland, with the most attractive location you’ll ever want from an ice hotel! This snow hotel lies right beneath the frequent path of Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), where nights are ignited with the blue and green changing colors of this fantastic phenomena. Each cabin in this hotel is structured to look like luxury rooms in a traditional fishing huts.
You can eat in their ice restaurants which has hanging sculptures of reindeers and other snowy features. Food and drinks are normally served on tables made of blocks of ice and you get to sit on ice chairs covered with wool blankets. The best time to go to Kirkenes Snow Hotel is April since the chances of seeing Aurora Borealis in full view is best then.
12. Iglu-Dorf Gstadd, Oberland, Switzerland
Iglu-Dorf Gstadd is quite comfy based on how small and intimate each room is. Ideal for couples or even solo travelers, these igloo accommodations on the snowy hill of Switzerland offer the most romantic atmosphere with its picturesque landscape and pretty ice sculptures. You can have mermaids gracefully looking down over your bed or let an ice figure of Batman guard you as you sleep. Each room in this igloo hotel has a different fun design.
The hotel provides thermal sleeping bags and wool linings so you get a comfortable night of sleep. The hotel also has huts with fireplaces and heated barbecue areas while the recreational area has a sauna and a hot whirlpool. The Iglu-Dorf Gstadd is usually open from December and through winter and this is also a good time to book a visit.
13. Schneedorf Igloo, Austria
Situated in the Tyrolean Alps at a height of 2700m, the Schneedorf Igloo is both intimate and breath-taking. This igloo village was the first to open in Austria and still remains one of the most unique and comfortable ice hotels to stay in. You can enjoy the quietness of living on top of a mountain and relish the cloudless skies which open up to a myriad of stars at night, or take up adventurous activities booked by the resort, from snowshoe hiking to snowboarding.
If it gets too chilly outside, the hotel offers a sauna made completely out of local wood, adding a special Austrian touch to the interior and overall atmosphere. The igloo usually remains open during the months of December to April, but it is best to go in December as it is less chilly and you can get better views of the landscape.
14. Aurora Ice Museum, Alaska
Creative and modern at the same time, the Aurora Ice Museum exhibits a variety of ice sculptures with different themes and features. From knights jostling away with long swords to bears hanging over your cabin walls, this ice museum captures a fascinating but older era.
While you can get rooms and beds in this ice resort, it is more famously used as an ice exhibit to show and educate visitors about the lives and cultures of people that live in icy areas. You would probably see workers hacking their way through ice sculptures and inquire more about the effort and work it takes to construct ice hotels. The Aurora Ice Museum is open throughout the year.
15. Ice Hotel, Hokkaido, Japan
Ice hotels aren’t normally family-friendly, but this hotel in Japan is one of the coolest ice hotels that you and your family can easily stay in without feeling too chilly or bored. The hotel not only boasts of the typical ice-based structures where you can lounge on ice sofas and drink hot beverages under the stars, but it also offers a number of children’s activities.
With their ice skating rink and ice slide, your children will have a complete winter wonderland experience, and when it is time for them to relax, they can read books taken from the hotel’s ice bookshelves. The best time to visit the Ice Hotel in Hokkaido is during the months of January through February even though you can certainly visit other witner months.