With winter looming over the restaurant industry’s ability to provide outdoor dining, residents in the tri-state area have witnessed the emergence of history’s most fascinating winter structures: igloos. Of course, the plastic blow-up igloos we see lining the streets of New York City are far from the authentic ice huts we dreamed of as children. However, the idea of lounging in an igloo has us dreaming of wanderlust. Imagine sleeping under the stars within the icy respite of an igloo in Norway, Finland or any one of the world’s winter wonderlands. It sounds like a fairy tale, but believe it or not, you can spend your next vacation in the comfort of an igloo. And let it be known that many of these arctic resorts offer legitimate igloos forged of ice. Without further ado, here are the seven coolest igloo hotels in the world that will fulfill your childhood fantasies.
1. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
Vikings of Norway believed the Northern Lights were reflections from the armor of Valkyries, female warriors who guided fallen heroes to their eternal resting place in Valhalla. Whether you’re a nerd for such Norse mythology or you simply wish to embrace the heavenly view of the Aurora Borealis, you can do so from Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta, Norway. In fact, the hotel even offers a sleigh ride—pulled by reindeer, of course—that follows the Northern Lights. In addition to the view, guests can stay in one of 30 suites and rooms made of ice. And if that’s not enough, the resort is also home to an ice Chapel and an ice bar, both of which are beautifully decorated with ice sculptures. Sorrisniva comes in first on our list of coolest igloo hotels in the world.
2. Icehotel Sweden
Icehotel Sweden is about as authentic as it gets when it comes to igloos. Every winter, the hotel is rebuilt with approximately 1,000 blocks of ice. Visitors have their pick of 15 intricately designed “art suites,” as well as 20 ice rooms, which are kept between 17 and 23 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature worries you, rest assured that the ice beds are equipped with furs and thermal layers to keep you warm. Plus, if you go between December and April, you’ll have a marvelous view of the Northern Lights. While you’re there, unwind at the sauna, or head out on a winter excursion such as snowmobiling or dogsledding. Best of all, if you can’t make it during the winter season, check out Icehotel 365—a permanent ice hotel that is open year-round.
3. Lapland Hotels SnowVillage
According to its website, approximately “20 million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of crystal clear natural ice are used to build the spectacular Lapland Hotels SnowVillage,” which is rebuilt featuring a different theme each year. Along with decorated snow suites, the SnowVillage also includes an ice restaurant, an ice bar and even an ice chapel for wedding parties—all of which are adorned with intricate ice sculptures. Not to mention, there are also cabins nearby, as well as jacuzzis and a sauna, just in case you need a break from the frigid temperatures in your snow suites. And, of course, the resort is in close proximity to multiple ski slopes, including Ylläs and Levi ski-resorts
4. The ALPENIGLU Igloo Village
Brixen im Thale, Austria
The Kitzbuhel Alps in Austria, known for their local ski slopes, are home to The ALPENIGLU Igloo Village in Brixen im Thale. Also known as the “white village,” the resort offers 18 igloos that can be accessed via gondola from a mountain station. When booking your stay, choose between the VIP overnight stay or a romantic igloo package, which includes a candlelight dinner. During your time at the Igloo Village, have a drink at the ice bar, hit the slopes or try your hand at crafting an ice sculpture.
5. Hôtel de Glace
Quebec City, Canada
Known for “its majestic snow arches, crystal clear ice sculptures and beautiful rooms,” Hôtel de Glace—meaning “ice hotel” in French—is the only igloo hotel made completely of ice and snow in North America. And much like other hotels constructed of ice, it recreates itself every year with new designs and decorations. Here, guests stay in one of 42 ice suites and have access to the ice bar, spas and sauna, as well as an ice-skating path and ski equipment. Not to mention, there are plenty of activities the entire family can enjoy, such as snow slides and snow rafting. Finally, when booking your stay, choose from various packages, including a wedding package that’s perfect for adventurous couples. This Canadian gem is without a doubt one of the coolest igloo hotels in the world.
6. Hotel of Ice
Buried in the heart of the Fargaras Mountains is Romania’s Hotel of Ice—a one-of-a-kind winter experience for the intrepid traveler. Built with ice blocks made from Belea Lake, the largest glacial lake found within the mountain range, the hotel is reconstructed every year by an army of ice artists. This includes ice suites furnished with ice beds, ice chairs and ice chandeliers, as well as the Ice Restaurant & Bar and the Church of Ice. In fact, this is one of the most popular igloo hotels in the world, hosting over 8,000 guests a year. Plus, it’s sponsored by major brands. This includes Jameson Irish Whiskey, Jagermeister and RedBull, so you know it’ll be a good time.
7. Snowhotel Kirkenes
Another Norwegian gem, Snowhotel Kirkenes is the ultimate winter vacation located in the wildlands of northern Norway. Here, you’ll not only experience the magic of sleeping in wonderfully crafted ice suites, but you’ll also explore a variety of winter excursions. For instance, discover the massive King Crabs that lurk the shores of the region during the King Crab Winter Safari. Or trek through the wintry wonderland via dogsled on the Husky Safari (the resort is home to 180 huskies). And if that’s not enough to satisfy the adventurous spirit, be sure to revel in the glow of the Northern Lights and taste all the local cuisine you can get your hands on.