Tag: Ice HotelsView All Tags
Eerily sculpted headboards adorn rooms at the Balea Lac Ice Hotel
It's been over a year since we last reported on an ice hotel, which we took as a sign that the kitschy travel trend had seen its final day pass. But rounding out this unusually mild winter season is news about the latest contender in (relatively) cheap and chilly accommodations: Romania.
The Balea Lac is one in a series of European icy lodgings that are rebuilt to compensate for melting and other seasonal changes. Temperatures inside top off at a spine-tingling 35 degrees Fahrenheit, though rest assured, every stay includes a "specialist sleeping bag" and some furs.
The Swedish Icehotel attracts adventurous types with its all-ice accommodations 12 miles north of the Arctic Circle. But the sci-fi squad and design geeks will want to make reservations at the hotel to check out the new Tron-themed suite.
Inspired by a nightclub the upcoming Tron: Legacy flick, the "Legacy of the River" suite is pimped out with futuristic lights using technology the hotel's never used in its 20-year history.
While we hate it when we walk into a hotel room and the A/C is blasting a below 72-degree temperature, we'll have to make an exception at The Icehotel, which is opening for the season early next month in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.
The hotel is actually an 80-room hostel which is rebuilt annually from snow and crystal-clear ice.
The Icehotel is a spot where half the fun is in staying there. It begins from the moment that you open the main, reindeer-skin-clad doors and are greeted by a grand, ice-pillared hallway illuminated by a spectacular ice chandelier. The interior temperature, hovering around 23 degrees Fahrenheit, actually feels almost balmy, especially when compared to the outside temperature which can drop to minus 34 Fahrenheit.
Balmy? We'll see about that. Guests do get special gear to wear during their stay such as a one-piece thermal suit, mittens, hat and thermal waterproof boots. At night, you'll snuggle down into your thermal sleeping bags.
The room categories at the Icehotel start at a standard Snow Room and work up to an Ice Room (complete with actual ice "furniture") and the Art Suite (individually themed with ice art). Looking for a special getaway for your honeymoon? The Art Suite has lockable doors and double sleeping bags available. We're guessing that candles are out of the question though. (Incredibly, the hotel has a very popular Ice Chapel where several weddings are held each season.)
The "Romantik" suite. Please note the disco ball.
We need to be careful with our money, people. The Ice Hotel craze was big and cool (har har) back in '06, but aren't we over that by now? Dropping big bucks to sleep in freezing cold temperatures is... well, sort of what we do in our poorly-maintained NYC apartments in the winter anyway. Not to be frigid (ha!), but this hotel trend and its baffling staying power is one, we must admit, we simply don't understand.
But the Times UK isn't over the ice hotel thing just yet they've gone and reviewed Germany's relatively new Iglu-Dorf, touting it as "the lone traveller's low-cost answer to Sweden's famous Ice Hotel."
When we first heard about the glass and ice igloos of the Kakslauttanen Hotel & Igloo Village in northern Finland, we thought it sounded like a winter paradise. But we thought we'd better take off our rose-colored snow-goggles and check out the real lay of the snow-covered land up there.
If some of the TripAdvisor reviews are to be believed, then there are a few flaws in the igloo industry. While some guests are perfectly satisfied, quite a few mention problems with service. One guest mentioned "90% of [the staff] are not capable to communicate in English", which surprised us since we've always found Finns to be sickeningly multilingual. Another complained that there's no daily room service, others said the bar service was terrible and they found the staff stressed out and "being chased by the somewhat angry-looking owner".
But on balance, it sounds like the kind of place where if you go in prepared for some cultural differences, and open to a bunch of new (and very cold) experiences, you can still have a great stay. Average rates start at $230 a night but can get much higher--it is expensive Finland, after all. But we think the views out of the glass igloos are pretty special.
W Hotels / Ice Hotels / Hotel Hype / Hotel News / → All Tags
Tipster Kal B sent another Starwood hotels tip our way: plans for a W Hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The W will be part of the Icelandic National Concert-Conference Center and Hotel which will house the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, according to this presentation report. (Note: The link opens a PDF).
There's not much here about the hotel except that it will have 400 rooms. The concert hall center is expected to open sometime in 2009. Somehow we are more excited for W Reykjavik then W Hoboken.
You might not be able to pronounce it, but you probably would enjoy a holiday at the Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village in far northern Finland. If you go in winter, you can sleep in an igloo made from snow (yeah, you might think they're all made from snow, but just wait a second). The snow igloos have a constant temperature of between 21 and 27 degrees F, so combined with the thick sleeping back they give you, you should survive the night.
But if you're more into comforts, you can try their special glass igloos. Kakslauttanen says these glass igloos are "based on our wild idea and vision" and they're made from a "very special" thermo glass. And the glass roof means you can lie in bed and (nature permitting) watch the Northern Lights--no waiting for the hotel to call you out of bed.
The rest of the year, the log cabins are your best bet. They accommodate between 2 and 6 people and each comes equipped with a sauna and a traditional Finnish rocking chair! Kakslatuttanen is especially popular for weddings (you can get married in an ice chapel) but they also run a special week each season when only singles can come and stay. Something for everyone.
· Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Please Disturb Me at Lapland's Rantasipi Pohjanhovi [HotelChatter]
Quebec's Ice Hotel hosted a Boots'n'All reviewer recently who smugly explained that she'd survived the cold better than most of the other guests. While we're sometimes not sure why people pay good money (up to $500) to sleep on a bed made of ice in the middle of winter, the idea is certainly novel enough to attract a decent amount of curious holidaymakers. How's this sound for a way to spend a night:
I opted for the dry sauna, wore my long johns under the fleece robe we'd been issued. I also took my outer clothes to warm them by the stove. I ran pell mell back to the room and stuffed the hot clothes down into the sleeping bag where they could warm my feet. I tied the neck muff of the sleeping bag around my neck, pulling up the hood with the built-in pillow, tied it so only my face was exposed to the night air. I was in a warm cocoon. Between me and the ice there was a piece of plywood and a thin foam mattress.
Yet somehow this place gets full fast. A nightclub and plenty of hot tubs are provided for enough strenuous activity to warm you up before you sleep, but snoozing on ice just doesn't seem like the most sensible thing to do. Didn't we strive to build all this great technology so we could be comfortable? But if you feel the need for a good chill-out, perhaps the Ice Hotel Quebec Canada is the right destination. It's open from January to early April so book fast.
If you can't stand the sweltering heat, maybe this video of the Ice Kube bar at the Kube Hotel will cool you down. It involves a creepy ice Teddy Bear statue and lots of shots of Grey Goose which always makes us smile...just before we throw up.
No worries about avalanches, the 37-year-old owner, Aurelian Nica, is a trained mountain rescuer. And he's psyched, "a dream come true," he says. Last year's attempt melted before anyone ever knew about it. Higher altitude and a great Siberian-cold front leave little room for premature melting for the 2006 season.
The hotel can be reached only from a highway linking the cities of Brasov and Sibiu to the Balea Lake resort, where tourists can board a cable car leading to a cabin and the ice hotel.
The cost ranged around 20,000 lei or USD$6,600, which seems awfully cheap to us. Hey, anyone want to build an igloo and charge people to sleep there?
· Ice hotel opens in Romania's Transylvanian mountains [Bucharest Daily News]
· Igloo-Tels Are SO Winter 2006 [HotelChatter]
Igloos are popping up all over the world. Less than a month after Germany announced their plans for Iglu-Dorf, we hear Romania is the next hot, er... cold spot.
High in the Fagaras Mountain Balea Lac resort, the newest igloo-tel will open on February 1, 2006. Balea Lac resort will remain open for four months, or until it melts, then like all ice hotels, wait for its rebirth the following winter.
Here's the good news: Unlike it's Canadian cousin, this ice hotel has yet to be booked up this season. With eight double rooms and a bar, space is limited, so if you want to experience frost bite-nights in `06, you can still get an igloo in Romania.
You can expect to pay about 19 euros for a single.
The hotel has a capacity of 1,440 people per season and owners say eight people have already booked rooms.
We suspect more people would book in if there was a website, or any information in English, such as a phone number or address--all of which we have yet to find. Even the Romanian tourist authority doesn't have the hotel listed. All we found was an article in the Bucharest Daily News.
Does it exist? Will it exist? Send us any info you come across.
In the midst of a pleasant North Eastern late December thaw one must pay homage to the Ice Hotels. That's right some people will pay over $1,000 to spend three nights in an upscale freezer. Expedia is featuring the Quebec Ice Hotel on its winter getaway page. So what is the deal with these high-class igloos?