From the November-December 2010 issue of National Geographic Traveler
Reserve early for these popular ice hotels that provide heart-warming comforts in frigid climes.
Hôtel de Glace
Hôtel de Glace, the only ice hotel in North America, is made of 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice. It has 19-foot ceilings and furniture carved out of ice blocks. The hotel will likely attract 140,000 visitors this year with its 36 handcrafted, themed guest rooms. An ice candelabra lit by fiber optics hangs in the lobby. In the café, guests sit on ice chairs cushioned with fur and sip hot chocolate. From $199.
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
Built every year along the banks of the Alta River, this ice hotel offers a cold, crisp taste of Norway. The world’s northernmost ice hotel boasts an ice chapel with frozen benches draped in animal skins, an ice bar that serves bright blue vodka in ice glasses, and huskies for dogsledding. Beds in the 32 guest rooms are covered with reindeer hide. Glimpse the beauty of the fjords’ icy waters aboard a snowmobile. From $343.
Sweeping views of the Swiss Alps and of dark night skies glittering with stars are some of what make the Igloo Village special. Built by Iglu-Dorf, a company with similar villages across the country, a standard igloo can hold up to six guests. Dip bread into a pot of bubbling Gruyère cheese on the snow terrace. The village rests peacefully in Engelberg, a popular mountain resort town in central Switzerland. From $90.
First built nearly 20 years ago, the largest ice hotel in the world is constructed from 30,000 tons of “snis,” a mixture of snow and ice, in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, a small village outside Kiruna with around 900 inhabitants and a thousand dogs. Each year more than 50,000 guests flock to Icehotel to stay in one of the 60 rooms with elaborate interiors carved from Torne River ice. A nighttime dogsledding tour through the city may offer views of the northern lights. From $375, including breakfast, thermal clothing, and morning sauna. Tours for nonguests run $48; free for kids.