Ice Hotel Jukkasjärvi Sweden

Sleep in an ice suite in an Ice hotel

Imagine: You’re at the ice bar, on your ice stool, rugged up to the nines like an eskimo, thinking… “my ice bed is next!”  VagabrothersAlex & Marco Ayling, the famous sibling Youtubers, rug up and show us what it’s like to spend a night in an Ice hotel. To find out more about the Vagabrothers, visit the bio page of travel vloggers Alex and Marco.

Vagabrothers, Alex and Marco, show us the Ice Hotel in Quebec…

Ice or Igloo Hotels: What are they like and how many are there?!?

The first thing you noticed when you step into an ice hotel, apart from the fact that the walls, ceilings, furniture, bar, beds, and even cocktail glasses are made out of ice, is the light. It seeps through the ice like something out of Star Trek. There are always amazing sculptures and art carved from “snice” (a combination of snow and ice) in ice hotels, but the structures carved from pure ice can be lit from inside, lighting the room in a surreal way. Imagine glowing walls, desks, sculptures, and sofas! How cold is it inside? Igloo and ice hotels are surprisingly “warm” inside, usually a steady -4 Celcius/25 Fahrenheit.

The original Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden opened its doors in 1990. Now there are more than 20 variations dotted all over the world (see below for the best).  Some are simply shaped and carved igloo structures located in ski resorts and alpine locations, some are in or near towns and cities, and others are deep in the northern reaches of the Arctic.

Ice hotels are more than about the accommodation though, incredible as it is. In the Arctic hotels, there’s a plethora of unique experiences to be had. Deep in winter, an eerie purple haze permeates the sky as the sun struggles to reach the horizon. It’s like a 3 hour lilac sunset. It makes a walk through the Arctic forests of Norway, Sweden, or Finland a winter wonderland. Following that? How about a husky dog sleigh ride? Reindeer sleigh ride? Moose feeding? A ski-do trip through the forest? Ice fishing? Ice sculpting? A polar plunge? And the main event… the Aurora Borealis!


Lapland Hotels Snow village, Kittilä, Finland

Ice Hotel and Igloo options:

-The original and arguably still the best Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

Hotel De Glace, 4 km from the north end of Québec City, Canada. Amazing ice art work!

Lapland Hotels Snow village, near Kittilä, northern Finland. Amazing Game of Thrones-themed rooms in 2018, built by professional ice sculptors!

Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Kirkenes, remote Norway. Incredibly detailed ice carvings.

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Alta, remote Norway.

Snow Hotel and Snow Castle, the town of Kemi, Finland (The snow castle is the biggest ice structure in the world and has towers up to 20 meters high and walls up to 1,000 long.)

Balea Ice Hotel, beside lake Balea, Romania

Arctic Snow Hotel, Rovaniemi, Finland

Not to mention the  Glass Igloos of the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland. (To be covered in a separate article)

Igloo Villages in ski resorts:

Austria: Schneedorf (“Snow village”)
France: Morzine- Avoriaz

Switzerland: Davos Klosters, Engelberg, Schilthorn, Gstaad, Stockhorn, Zermatt
Germany: Zugspitze
Andorra: Grandvalira

You only need sleep one night in an ice room, for the experience. The rest of your time you can stay in the warmer accommodation that is always to one side.

If you go to one of the Arctic circle hotels…

-Book on a new moon to increase your chances of seeing the northern lights. Use the Aurora Borealis predicting apps available for your smart phone for free. Stay for 5+ days to give yourself a great chance of seeing the lights.

-Book in December if you’d like a 24 hour darkness experience (it actually is reasonably light for 3-4 hours). If you’d like to see the forests covered in snow, sparkling in the sunlight during a husky sleigh ride, reindeer sleigh ride, or ski-do trip, book later around February, to see the sun. If your booking is very early or late in the season there will be sunlight for longer but this reduces the amount of darkness each day needed to see the northern lights.

When:  Depending on the location, November/December to March/April each year. All ice/snow structures are rebuilt with new designs each year.

Where:  Various. (The map below depicts the original Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden)