Statement Dining | December 18, 2015 | Travel
Luxury below zero:
ice hotels and bars you must visit
Already dreaming of your next winter holiday? Check into a preternatural structure sculpted from ice and packed snow and carved by artisans.
Ice hotels are rebuilt in new, glorious themes every year. They may be chilly but where else can you enjoy a whiskey not just with ice but in ice.
Here’s our pick of the coolest luxury igloos and drinking caves.
For auroras and igloos: Hotel Kakslauttanen, Finland
Image source: Hotel Kakslauttanen
Deep in Lappish wilderness, Hotel Kakslauttanen igloo village offers glass igloos within luxuriously snug log cabins, offering a peaceful cocoon to sleep beneath the starry sky and magical Northern Lights.
Guests are provided with a thermal sleeping bag and woolly bed socks – and can request a unique, personal ice sculpture to decorate their igloo. And let’s not forget, this is Santa’s secret world – don’t miss the reindeer or husky-drawn sled rides for a truly Nordic experience.
When to go: Late August until the end of April (aurora season). Prices start from around £150 per night (for two adults).
For art and adventure: Icehotel, Sweden
Image source: ICEHOTEL 2016. Art Suite: The Power of Love by Sebastian Scheller & Kristina Möckel. Photo: Asaf Kliger
Founded in 1989, Icehotel lies 200 km within the arctic circle and is rebuilt every winter into a new theme and layout by sculptors from across the world.
Everything from the restaurant’s glistening plates to the sparkling chandeliers and even the bed frames are fashioned from frozen water of the Torne River.
The hotel was also the pioneer of the ice bar: today it’s built from 40 to 50 tons of ice blocks and offers the chance of dancing on a floor of snow while sipping champagne ‘in the rocks’.
Kickstart your stay by hitching a ride to the hotel via dogsled or snowmobile, then adventure into the frozen paradise on horseback to see the Northern Lights.
When to go: Year-round (guests sleep in cabins in spring/summer months); however a permanent sub-zero ice experience launches Nov 2016. Prices start at around £180 a night for a shared room.
For something a little closer to home: Icebar London
Image source: Icebar London
For a taste of Sweden’s famous Icehotel, take a trip to London’s Icebar by Icehotel: the UK’s only permanent bar made of ice, kept at -5°C all year round. The crystal clear ice is harvested from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi – site of the original Icehotel.
Like the Icehotel, the entire bar is transformed with a new design theme once a year. Grab a designer thermal hooded cape and enjoy a champagne ice cocktail between a pair of snug gloves.
When to go: Year-round. The bar operates on a system of 40-minute sessions. Standard tickets start from £13.50, including a spirit-based cocktail, thermal cape and gloves. Book your reservation here.
For a marriage made in (ice) heaven: Hôtel de Glace, Québec, Canada
Image source: Hôtel de Glace/ Facebook
Only a few minutes from downtown Québec City, Hôtel de Glace comprises 44 rooms and suites, dazzling crystalline ice sculptures, huge snow vaults – and a magical ice chapel for white and wonderful fairytale weddings.
Dip into an outdoor spa under the stars in the Nordic relaxation area or head to the nearby cross country skiing circuits, snowshoeing trails or hiking trails for some snow-fuelled adventures.
When to go: January 4 to March 28, 2016. Prices start at around £270 per person.
Looking for a break a little closer to home? Discover the best farm stays to visit.
*Lead image source: ICEHOTEL 2016. Art Suite: Cairn Forest. Annie Hanauer and Matt Chan. Photo: Asaf Kliger*