World's coolest ice hotels
In the frozen clutches of midwinter, fascinating and ephemeral ice palaces worthy of Princess Elsa herself come to life in snowy regions around the world. Intricate architectural marvels of ice and snow are designed and sculpted each winter before being reduced to a pool of water by summer.
The world’s coolest hotels may not be built to last, but the magic of spending a night inside one of these frozen lodgings is the ultimate winter wonderland experience, with one-of-a-kind accommodations set in sparkling crystal with sub-zero hospitality to match. Here are some of the world's most incredible ice hotels to visit for a frosty getaway.
Hotel de Glace, Quebec
Experience the chilly delights of Hotel de Glace, North America's only ice hotel, located just outside of Quebec City. Each winter, the hotel is built completely from the ground up with a new concept using 2,300 blocks of ice and 15,000 tons of snow. The mercury hovers at a balmy -5 °C, allowing for majestic snow arches and crystal-clear ice sculptures to glisten in its two dozen or so beautifully sculpted rooms. Guests can choose to tour the property (there's a Grand Hall and chapel) or just grab a frosty cocktail at the ice bar. Those staying overnight sleep in comfy sub-zero sleeping bags with access to outdoor hot tubs and a sauna under the stars. We recommend splurging on the premium deluxe theme suite that comes with its own fireplace and private spa.
The original and arguably best-known ice hotel in the world opened in 1989 in the northern Lapland region of Sweden, in a town called Jukkasjärvi. Aptly called IceHotel, it's also the largest with 20 rooms, a dozen individually designed art suites, a wedding hall, art gallery and more. The hotel is a frosty fixture from December-April, while IceHotel 365 offers permanent ice rooms an ice bar and art museum through the summer months. IceHotel offers wilderness excursions, northern lights tours as well as other experiences for travellers looking to embrace the quiet life of a Swedish village.
Iglu Dorf, Switzerland
Stay in a high-altitude snow hotel at the foot of the mighty Matterhorn. The Iglu-Dorf Zermatt sits 2,727 metres above sea level with breathtaking views of the Alps, including Switzerland’s most famous mountain and night skies glittering with stars. The igloos are reconstructed every year, wonderfully designed by international artists, and are outfitted in winter comfort. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, whirlpool and sun terrace, where you can dip into a warm and inviting pot of Swiss fondue with mulled wine. The Iglu Dorf only opens every December and the igloos are built across six villages in Switzerland, Germany and Andorra.
Ice Village, Japan
Japan is no stranger to interesting and creative hotels, so it's no wonder the country hosts not only an ice hotel but an entire Ice Village on the island of Hokkaido each year. Located north of Sapporo, the island's capital, one of the top attractions at Hokkaido Hoshino Resort Tomamu is exactly what it sounds like: a village made of ice. Sprawled across three hectares, the frozen town boasts an ice hotel, cocktails in ice glasses at the ice bar, gelato on frozen slabs at an ice cafe, glistening views from atop an ice slide, plus a zip line, skating rink and more icy amenities. Don't worry: If you get chilly, you can warm up in the warm-water rotenburo, an outdoor hot bath.
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway
Situated along the Alta River in Norway is the world’s northernmost ice hotel, Sorrisniva. This massive 30-room igloo is made entirely from snow and ice each winter and offers a unique chance to sleep in the snow. Hotel amenities include two restaurants and an ice bar, a chapel and several lounges, with design, furniture and art all crafted by local sculptors. The hotel’s temperature is kept at a constant -4°C and -7°C, but with reindeer leather and extra-warm sleeping bags in every room, guest can tuck in for a cozy and sound night of sleep. Days can be spent on a number of excursions, including snowmobile journeys into the wilderness.