Whilst most people’s ideas of top-rated hotels revolve around plush beds, why not take the opportunity this winter to stay in some unique winter accommodation. Most of us have probably tried an ice-bar at one time or another, but why not take it the next level & spend the night in an ice-hotel – a totally unique experience and it’ll give you the ultimate brrrrr-agging rights.
Here is our ice-pick of the top 5 chilly chateaus
Quebec. Image courtesy of peiranliu via Flickr.
The world’s largest (and also first) ice hotel can be found in the village of Jukkasjarvi, Sweden from December to early Spring. As well as staying in the hotel & drinking at the Absolut ice-bar, you can try dog sledding, snow-mobile safari or meet the indigenous Sami people. If you are inspired, direct flights are available from Heathrow during the Winter months.
Sweden. Image courtesy of Charley1965 via Flickr.
The Alpha Resort Tomamu on Hokkaido island opens a new ice hotel every year. As of yet, it is Japan’s only hotel constructed out of ice: a 20 metre dome where everything single bit of furniture is an ice sculpture. The skiing in the area is also great & perhaps the only place in the world you can chill your après-ski drink using your bedroom walls?
The world’s most Northernmost Ice Hotel is Sorrisniva can be found in Alta, Norway (so definitely an ‘Alta-native’ to the usual accommodation – sorry). This year sees the 15th anniversary of their unique Igloo Ice Hotel, which has seen such guests as Joanna Lumley (whilst she filmed her BBC Northern Lights expedition). When in the area, check out Nordkapp, which boasts an awesome champagne bar (personally tried & tested – literally, a very cool night out).
Quebec. Image courtesy of Pandanosaure via Flickr.
Hotel de Glace opens its doors in early January and is just 10 minutes from downtown Quebec. As well as the usual features you’d expect, the hotel is also able to accommodate wedding ceremonies in their romantic ice chapel. If possible, try and time your visit with the annual Quebec Winter festival (21st January to February 16th 2014), a myriad of sleigh and ice sculpting competitions, which this year celebrates its 60th year.
Nestled in the Fagaras Mountains, this remote ice hotel in Romania stands 2000m above sea-level and can only be accessed by cable-car. Huge blocks of ice from the nearby Lake Balea are used to construct the hotel walls, and if you fancy something a little more cosy, several igloos away from the main complex are also available. As with most other ice-hotels, you can also indulge in a variety of winter sports including ice-skating and snowmobiling, or combine this with a trip to Bucharest for an incredible winter break.
And finally, always remember the golden rule of staying in an ice hotel – don’t leave the central heating on, or you may be paying for more than just the mini-bar!