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Raise your hand if you've had sex on the beach.
Congrats, you're one of a million. You got sand in your shorts (or worse). You positioned yourself in the corner of the small lifeguard stand. We're awfully proud. Did you watch the sunset and brush her hair behind her ear, too? Yawn.
Now, a show of hands, who's melted a forearm into a bed before? No? That's what we thought!
But, seriously, our headline is meant to be taken literally, kids. Ice hotels can be hella romantic, and the novelty of the experience will knock your socks off. Though keepin' 'em on is a special kind of sexy we can't imagine.
We're fresh off a stay at Sweden's Ice Hotel, and we can tell you firsthand the stories of individuals breaking a sweat in the heat of the night are totally true. Can you get sticky in your sleeping bag? Youbetcha!
So instead of moaning about the plummeting temps outside, we'll show you how it can get steamy, even in the Arctic.
Brrrr! Here we are, HC'ers, riding out the winter all the way up in Alaska: mushing sled dogs, spending romantic nights beneath the aurora, and catching wind of fascinating local oddities. Like this wacky, abandoned igloo hotel.
Built back in the '70s along the highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the giant, four story-structure known as "Igloo City" has been picking up plenty of fresh press this month -- with even London's Daily Mail getting in on the action.
Ice Hotels / InterContinental hotels / Montreal Hotels / Snow Village / Snow Village Montreal / Winter Hotels / → All Tags
Not that you want to hear about cold weather and snow during what seems like the coldest week ever (Ed note: don't be too sure!), there's something cool (pun intended) happening north of the border: Today marks the official opening of Montreal's Snow Village!
Built in the city's Parc Jean Drapeau, the Snow Village is North America's first and only entire village made of snow and ice. Now going on its second year, the architects and sculptors used the Big Apple as inspiration for this year's layout and design behind the attached Ice Hotel. It's like Montreal's very-own (snowy) version of Central Park and we're not above making snow angels.
Guess we'll need to explain that Ice Hotel if you've not heard us talk about it before.
Sometimes HC editors get in little tiffs. Nothing serious, we just roll our eyes at each other’s choices when it comes to hotel fun. Some of us would hole up in a hostel in a blink of an eye, where others gave up that option when we became eligible to rent a car.
That’s when we like to play a little game of “Which Would You Rather…” and we state our case hoping to prove our pick is better.
Today's Episode: Ice Hotel vs. Caribbean Resort
WakeandWander, HotelChatter Contributing Editor
“This is a shot from an artist's suite at the Ice Hotel near Kiruna, Sweden. It was the first and initial ice hotel in the world. The room is called The Flower, can you see why? I’m out here dogsledding, looking at pine trees covered with snow. It’s incredibly beautiful. Wait ‘til you see the pictures when I do the round-up on ice hotels next week!”
Yesterday we told you about Montreal’s new Snow Village, the first North American outpost of the chain with structures in Finland and Norway. Today, we're about to tell you what it's like on the inside. Yes, despite arched eyebrows from our pals, we spent the night in the "ice hotel". We’re troopers like that. Or so we thought.
First thing—we were prepared for things to be a bit wonky the first few nights as this is new territory for Montreal. It’s not like Quebec City’s Ice Hotel—a well run operation in effect for years. But, things did go a bit haywire during our visit.
The registration process in the welcome center involved a seemingly normal contract—no smoking, lock your valuables, we’re not responsible if you slip—until the last paragraph, advising guests “not to lick any of the ice structures.” Visions of Flick’s tongue sticking to the pole in “A Christmas Story” danced in our head.
Last winter we proved we don’t wuss out when it comes to the cold, so when we heard about Montreal’s new Snow Village, we strapped on our snowshoes (ok, not really), and headed to the Great White North.
Montreal’s latest attraction is a five minute ride from the downtown area on Sainte-Hélène island. This area hosts an annual winter festival in its Parc Jean-Drapeau, but this year it goes over the top with the addition of the Snow Village, three giant igloos forming a ice hotel complete with restaurant, bar, conference center, and chapel to rival Quebec City’s famous seasonal structure. It opens this evening and is set (hopefully!) to remain in place until it’s deconstructed on March 31st.
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.