Europe, Hotels and resorts, North America

Ice hotels are essentially enormous igloos that have been constructed to take guests just like a regular hotel, the difference being of course that they’re made not out of the usual bricks and mortar but instead out of solid blocks of ice. This innovative and environmentally friendly material creates a truly stunning environment for a break, and ice hotel holidays are becoming increasingly popular with people looking for an experience out of the normal. The sunlight diffusing through the walls, together with the latest fibre optics lighting inside, produces a soft, warm glow. Massive blocks of ice are used to create the floors, ceilings, walls and most of the furniture, so when you stay in the IceHotel you’ll be in for the true Arctic getaway as a proxy Eskimo.

There are ice hotels scattered around the globe, each of them unique and offering a great range of outdoor activities as well as the strange, unearthly glow of their interior decor and bizarre furnishings. They’re typically situated in some of the world’s most adventurous wilderness locations and command spectacular views across frozen wastes, forests and glaciers, so you’ll be in for a real nature loving treat.

Snow Castle in Kemi

This amazingly beautiful hotel in Kemi, Finland, is like something out of the Snow Queen Fairytale with its majestic towers made out of ice, its snow restaurant and ice bar. Opening in January and closing in April before the annual meltdown sets in, the hotel towers 7 metres above the surrounding landscape and has 1,100 metres of walls. It changes constantly because every year it is built again from scratch and is never quite the same. It is a winter highlight of Lapland and very popular not only for weddings but for once-in-a-lifetime Arctic Circle experiences.

  • Find out more about the famous Kemi Snow Castle here.

Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi

This stunning ice hotel is created each winter using 30,000 tons of snow and 10,000 tons of clear ice dredged out of the nearby frozen River Torne, a feat reminiscent of the ancient Egyptians and their pyramids. The local village of Jukkasjarvi is a charming settlement with cafes and gift shops, and the hotel itself is one of the warmest of its kind in the world, with temperatures averaging 7 degrees Celsius. The beds are made from solid blocks of ice-covered with hides, skin, fur and sleeping bags, and activities include everything from snowmobiling and skiing to dog sledding and even nude swimming.

Aurora Ice Hotel in Alaska

The Aurora Ice Hotel in Alaska remains the first and only of its kind in the USA. It is located in the popular Chena Hot Springs resort and is renowned for its fantastic interior design elements, including a pipe organ carved out of ice and fibre optic chandeliers that give out a magical blue light. There’s a spacious ice bar and designer rooms created by Steve Brice, ice sculpting champion of the world. This fabulous and bizarrely appealing ice hotel even contains a museum, and it seems that there’s no end to what can be achieved with this amazing material.