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December 19, 2017updated 20 Dec 2017 10:09am

9 of the very best ice hotels in the world to visit this winter

By Jack Rear

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you may be disappointed. In many places around the world, climate change is making the possibility of a snow increasingly unlikely.

However, if you dream of waking up in frosty climes, it’s still possible.

In fact many businesses have made a real event out of the ice and cold.

All around the world, ice hotels have sprung up. These unique venues offer all the creature comforts of a standard boutique hotel, plus a unique experience.

Still, it’s probably best to expect a frosty reception…

Hotel de Glace, Canada

Simultaneously one of the world’s newest ice hotels and one of the oldest, this one opened its doors in 2001. The Hotel de Glace is located just 4km north of Quebec City and has something of a unique selling point. Every year it is planned for the entire hotel to be melted down.

In this way, the whole place is refreshed every year. When it reopens the following winter it will be completely rebuilt and remodeled. Guests can choose from one of 45 themed bedrooms. There’s also a Nordic spa which sits outside under the stars.

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Arctic Snow Hotel, Finland

The most noteworthy place to stay at Arctic Snow is, of course, the snow hotel. However, there’s plenty of other options too. For example, guests can enjoy sleeping in a glass igloo and staring up at the stars as they doze off.

There’s also fancy frozen suites in the hotel itself, complete with frozen beds and ice-hewn furniture. There’s also a sauna made of snow, a standard sauna, and even an outdoor jacuzzi. Lake Lehtojärvi sits alongside the village so guests can try ice-fishing or snow-shoe hiking around its shores.

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Iglu-Dorf Gstaad, Switzerland

Every couple of years this place changes its theme. This year it’s got a tropical Hawaiian theme for guests.

However, if you’re expecting warm, sun and sandy beaches, think again. Everything in the hotel is hewn from ice and snow. There’s an outdoor jacuzzi, of course, as well as cheese fondue in the evenings.

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Icehotel, Sweden

Founded in 1989, this is the very first ice hotel, where the phenomenon began. Like Hotel de Glace, the original Icehotel in Sweden is reborn every year with a new theme and new rooms. Every year artists flock to the hotel to redesign each of its rooms so no stay is like another.

The major selling point of the Icehotel is its pedigree, but the silence is a pretty fine thing too.

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The SnowCastle of Kemi, Finland

Home of the world’s largest snow restaurant, the SnowCastle of Kemi in Finland really is a site to behold. Styled just like a real castle except built of snow, the place is an imposing structure. Every year the castle is refreshed and 2018’s theme is Animal Wonderland.

Guests can stay in premium seafront villas with glass walls allowing them to gaze out over the frozen sea.

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Hotel Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Finland

Not technically an ice hotel in the same sense as others on this list, but worthy of note nonetheless. Hotel Kakslauttanen has a variety of igloos and chalets, but the most striking are the glass igloos.

These are two or four-person rooms will glass rooves allowing guests to gaze out at the auroras which light up the sky above them. Each pod comes with a shower and toilet, so all the modcons are available at your doorstep.

However, if you’re really into the idea of sleeping in an ice hotel, try the snow rooms. These are silent rooms igloos crafted from ice and snow, and yes, they come with a downy-sleeping bag to keep guests warm too. Finally, there are a series of ultra-luxury suites available at the village.

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Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway

While this list attests that there are plenty of ice hotels around. And yes, many of them are particularly beautiful. But Kirkenes definitely stands out as one of the most beautiful snow hotels around. The craftsmanship in the ice carvings and attention to detail are something else.

In addition to enjoying the rooms, guests can take part in a wide range of activities. These include a King Crab safari, a husky safari, and even a snowmobile safari. In addition, there’s the chance to watch the Northern Lights, go ice fishing, and meet reindeer and huskies in the winter park.

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Hotel Of Ice, Romania

There’s no evidence that Count Dracula ever visited an ice hotel, but if he did, it would be this one. Located in the the heart of what-used-to-be-Transylvania, this one is a small, cosy place to stay.

This year’s theme is the World Of Ice Music whatever that might mean. As ever, there’s a restaurant on site offering the best local dishes for guests to enjoy.

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Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway

Last but not least, the Northernmost ice hotel in the world. Safe to say, if you want a chilly stay, this is the place to go. Located in the wilderness thirty minutes drive from Norway’s Alta Airport, if you want peace and quiet, this is the place to visit.

The hotel is about 2500 sqm large and has approximately 30 rooms including suites, ice gallery, and ice -chapel. All the usual experiences are available and there’s a large, comfy main house where guests can access their creature comforts as well as toilets and changing facilities.

In the mornings, guests are encouraged to start the day with a dip in the sauna, before enjoying the many activities that are on offer.

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And if you’re looking for a winter getaway but waking up encased in ice isn’t your deal, check out our guide to the best winter breaks around the world!

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