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10 amazing ice hotels

Last updated on: April 09, 2014 20:38 IST

10 amazing ice hotels

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The fancy of ice hotels are catching up worldwide with new hotels coming up every year. Most of these last for three to four months after which they are destroyed.

They are temporary structures that require huge investment and lot of hard work to build.

The walls, fixtures, and fittings are made entirely of ice or compacted snow, and are held together using a substance known as snice, which takes the place of mortar in a traditional brick-built hotel.

Let’s take a look at the 10 best hotels around the world.

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Image: Guest accommodation at the Ice Hotel, Lake Balea
Photographs: Courtesy, Ice Hotel, Lake Balea
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Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

Country: Norway

The hotel opened this year in the first week of January and this year’s theme is Viking Kings and Northern Light Gallery.

This is the 15th year since the ice hotel is in operation.

The ice room where guests can sleep only contains beds. All other facilities such as toilets, changing rooms, showers and sauna are in a modern service building next to the hotel.

The temperatures inside the igloo remain constant between minus 4 and minus 7.

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Image: Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel interior.
Photographs: Courtesy, Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

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Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

You can either stay here or just go there for a day’s visit. The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel offers over 2,000 square meters of guest rooms, amenities, an ice bar, a chapel, and an impressive ice gallery.

The hotel arranges snowmobile safaris in the morning and in the night, guests can hunt northern lights on the same vehicle.

The hotel is situated right on the banks of Norway’s best, and famous, salmon-river. The hotel offers excursions to the river in traditional river-boats.

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Image: Guest ride a Snowmobile at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

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Ice Hotel

Country: Sweden

According to the website, Ice Hotel is the world’s first and largest hotel built of snow and ice. It is located in Jukkasjärvi, a small village in Northern Sweden with 1,100 residents and 1,000 dogs.

Just like any other hotel, this one offers guest different rooms and suites. It also has a suite called Deluxe by MINI: MINI Evolutions. The car manufacturer (MINI) has designed the room. Then there are art suites, deluxe suites, northern light suites, and the simple ice rooms.

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Image: Guest accommodation at the Sweden's Ice Hotel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ice Hotel, Sweden

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Ice Hotel

When the hotel goes under-construction every year from October to December, it invites 40 artists to sculpt the ice. This resort calls the construction as an ‘art project’.

It sees about 50,000 visitors annually from all over the world, who come to experience the facility and the northern lights.

The hotel covers 5,500 square meters and is constructed from 1,000 tonnes of TorneRiver ice and 30,000 tons of “snice”, a mixture of snow and ice that strengthens the structure.

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Image: Ice Hotel, Sweden.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ice Hotel, Sweden
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Ice Hotel, Lake Balea

Country: Romania

This season the hotel comprises of 12 double rooms with matrimonial beds. There are also three igloos outside the hotel for guests seeking privacy.

The temperature in the facility is between -2 and +2 degrees.

The hotel also boasts of an ice church. In fact, the construction of the hotel starts with building the church first, and yes, it also comes handy for weddings at the hotel.

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Image: Restaurant at the Ice Hotel, Lake Balea.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ice Hotel, Lake Balea

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Ice Hotel, Lake Balea

The hotel also offers adventure packages. Guests can hire snowmobiles for to check the nearby landscapes. Those who wish to skate can hire equipments and use the 500-square-metre natural skating rink of the lakeBalea.

Though the area can be used for skiing, the hotel only allows professionals to take to the mountains due to the difficult terrain.

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Image: Restaurant at the Ice Hotel, Lake Balea.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ice Hotel, Lake Balea

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Snow Village, Kittila

Country: Finland

This is the 13th year of the hotel’s operation. The annual construction of the snow village begins when the temperature drops about 10 degrees below zero, which is usually at the end of October or the beginning of November.

Approximately 1.5 million kilos of snow and 300,000 kilos of crystal clear, natural ice are used for the construction.

The hotel covers approximately 20,000 square metres area and about 3,000 square metres of covered indoor spaces is built for guests.

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Image: Guest accommodation at the Snow Village.
Photographs: Courtesy, Snow Village, Kittila

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Snow Village, Kittila

The architectural design and the themes of interior decoration vary from year to year offering always a unique experience.

The indoor temperature of SnowVillage remains between -2 and -5 degrees Celsius, regardless of the outdoor temperature.

There are approximately 30 rooms and individually decorated suites. These include fifteen double igloo rooms and eight artistically "furnished" ice suites.

The hotel boasts of a wide variety of snow adventures. Some these include Reindeer excursion, Ice fishing safari, Ice sculpting, snowmobile safari, husky safari, and horseback riding.

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Image: Ice bar at the Snow Village.
Photographs: Courtesy, Snow Village, Kittila

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Igloo Village, Engelberg

Country: Switzerland

This igloo village is located at the Trubsee. Located at an altitude of 1800 metres, this village makes you feel like the first human being in the mountains.

The igloos here are laid out with lambskins and designed by international artists. Each is different, perfect for flirting and special moments. Some even include a whirlpool or a sauna.

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Image: Sauna at the Igloo Village.
Photographs: Courtesy, Igloo Village

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Igloo Village, Engelberg

Depending on who you are travelling with, guest can choose from standard igloo (6-bed) rooms, romantic igloos (exclusive designs, two beds and a private bathroom), and family igloos (designed for parents with up to four kids).

The place also adventure activities include snowshoe trips, building traditional igloos,

The hotel opens its doors every year on December 25

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Image: Guest accommodation at the Igloo Village.
Photographs: Courtesy, Igloo Village
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The Alpha Resort Tomamu

Country: Japan

Located in the snowy northern island of Hokkaido, the Alpha resort offers a chilly reception. The hotel is popular among people looking for skiing adventures.

It offers facilities such as a chapel, skating rink, ice bar, ice restaurant, and an ice laboratory that introduces the beauty and fascination of snow through fun craft activity.

Room temperatures hover between minus three and minus five degrees.

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Image: Guests enjoy activities at The Alpha Resort Tomamu.
Photographs: Courtesy, The Alpha Resort Tomamu.

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The Alpha Resort Tomamu

Country: Japan

Tomamu has a major ‘resort’ feel to it. However it has a plethora of activities on offer to keep you entertained including heli-skiing, cat skiing, tubing, ice-hole fishing, dog-sledding, hot air balloon rides, and the over-the-top wave pool.

Then there is snowmobile rides, snowshoe walks, banana boat, and snow rafting.

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Image: Guests enjoy skating at The Alpha Resort Tomamu.
Photographs: Courtesy, The Alpha Resort Tomamu.
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Aurora Ice Museum, Fairbanks

Country: US

Once a hotel, the place was converted to a museum. Alaska's Fire Marshall had shut the hotel until all rooms had smoke detectors and fire extinguishers installed.

The museum is opened all year round and showcases amazing ice sculptures created by 15 time world champion ice carver Steve Brice and his wife, Heather, a six time world champion.

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Image: Aurora Ice Museum.
Photographs: Courtesy, Aurora Ice Museum.

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Aurora Ice Museum, Fairbanks

Within the museum, they have created a two-storey observation tower with a circular staircase, a polar bear bedroom, a Christmas tree bedroom, an igloo and an ice outhouse among other pieces of ice art.

“As you step inside the ice museum for the very first time, you are mesmerised by the ever-changing coloured ice crystal chandeliers overhead depicting the Northern Lights,” according to the museum’s website.

After touring the museum, guests can relax at the Aurora Ice Bar where drinks are served in an ice carved martini glass.

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Image: Guest room at the Aurora Ice Museum.
Photographs: Courtesy, Aurora Ice Museum.

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SnowCastle, Kemi

Country: Finland

The SnowCastle of Kemi is the biggest snow fort in the world. It is rebuilt every winter with a different architecture. In 1996 the first snow castle drew 300,000 visitors, according to Wikipedia.

In the past, the hotel has covered areas between 13,000 sq metres and 20,000 sq metres. The SnowRestaurant has ice tables and seats covered with reindeer fur, as well as ice sculptures.

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Image: Guest accommodation at the SnowCastle.
Photographs: Courtesy, SnowCastle, Kemi

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SnowCastle, Kemi

The SnowHotel offers a choice of double rooms and a honeymoon suite, all of which are decorated by local artists using local materials.

The SnowCastle of Kemi also features an adventure land for children, a theatre and ice art exhibitions with lights and sound effects. It also has ice fishing and snow golf.

Many opera singers and dancers have performed at the hotel

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Image: Guest accommodation at the SnowCastle.
Photographs: Courtesy, SnowCastle, Kemi

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Kirkenes Snowhotel, Kirkenes

Country: Norway

Kirkenes Snowhotel opened first time in 2006, since then it has been giving its guests a wonderful experience.

There are 20 snow suites, which have different themes from arctic culture or nature. Each of these are five metres in diameter, and equipped with everything needed for a comfortable night.

In every room there are decorations and sculptures made from ice and snow. These arts are created by artists from the Chinese city of Harbin.

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Image: Guest accommodation at the Kirkenes Snowhotel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Kirkenes Snowhotel

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Kirkenes Snowhotel, Kirkenes

Adventures activities include Snowmobile tours, King Crab excursion, husky trips, ice fishing on the fjord, hunting for the northern lights.

The hotel also organises snowshoe trips with guides and also guests can visit to World War 2 bomb-shelter.

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Image: Interior of the Kirkenes Snowhotel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Kirkenes Snowhotel

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Hotel de Glace, Quebec

Country: Canada

Hotel de Glace is located 5 km north of Quebec City, on the first slopes of the Laurentian mountains, in the Charlesbourg borough. It is the first and only ice hotel in North America and is built each December for an opening date in early January, according to Wikipedia.

The hotel has a three-month lifespan each year before being brought down in April.

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Image: Hotel de Glace entrance.
Photographs: Courtesy, Hotel de Glace

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Hotel de Glace, Quebec

All the hotels furniture is made of ice and also the bar serves drinks and cocktails in ice glasses.

The hotel also has a chapel for weddings and officially statistics states that there has been over a million visitors and 43,000 overnight guests since its opening.


Image: A snowman resting inside guest accommodation at the Hotel de Glace.
Photographs: Courtesy, Hotel de Glace
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