What to know about staying in one in an ice hotel in the Arctic Circle!
So as I mentioned in my previous Finland post, when visiting Rovaniemi there is an ice hotel that you can stay in located within Santa Claus Village. Santa Claus Village is the official location of the North Pole and home to Mr. Claus himself. The village and features hotels, restaurants and activities for the whole family, including meeting Santa Claus! The ice hotel is part of Snowman World, which not only features igloo rooms, but also ice dining and luxury glass roof rooms (should you want a more normal sleeping experience). If your just visiting the village for the day and still want to check out the igloo rooms, then Snowman World offers day passes to the ice experience, which includes seeing all their rooms, having access to their ice dining & bar and also the different snow tubing and slides they have setup outside. The price for the day ticket is currently at $25 a person.
**Note that the ice hotel and dining is only available during the winter months of December-March**
Located directly in Snowman World there is an ice restaurant and bar, that serves a prix-fixe lunch and dinner available most days throughout the winter months. Dining isn’t cheap, starting at $44 a person for lunch and $99 for dinner, but your dining in beautifully carved out rooms and it’s a unique experience to say you’ve done. Make sure to call ahead for reservations though, as the restaurant isn’t super big, so it can fill rather quickly.
Staying in an ice room and what to expect:
First, which should seem obvious but just putting it out there, it’s really cold! You have to remember that you are sleeping in an igloo that stays at a consistent temperature of -5 degrees C or about 23 degrees F.
Each room features a different carved design on the walls, a bed and a uplight. Don’t expect to watch TV or have any of the normal frills you would have in a traditional hotel room. The bed is roughly King size that is also fully carved from ice.
So the question you are probably thinking now is “how can you survive sleeping on an ice bed in 5 degrees overnight?” Animal Skin Blankets & Sleeping Bags.
No joke, each guest has a reindeer hide that goes directly on the ice and keeps your sleeping bag from getting soaked. The resort also provides you with sleeping bags (heavy duty, sub-zero kind), sheets and heated blankets, so don’t worry about needing to bring any of your own. As I said before, you’re missing most of the items you would normally have in a hotel room, including a closet or luggage rack. There is a locker room in the main part of the building that you have to leave all your stuff in while you’re sleeping overnight, otherwise it will get soaked or freeze sitting on the ice floor. When you’re ready to call it a night you change into what your wearing for bed in the locker room and head to your igloo to bundle up for the night. The igloos are connected to the main building through an ice tunnel, so you don’t have to worry about going outside.
The best recommendation for sleeping is as follows:
Bundle Up! Bring warm socks and plan to sleep in your under-layers. Consider bringing in your gloves and hat as well.
Place your heated blanket on top of the animal hide and below your sleeping bag. Prepare to be cold for about 30 minutes or so while that thing heats up.
Line the inside of your sleeping bag with the sheet, any extra blanket, and your clothes for the next day. If you put the clothes on the ground overnight they’ll be soaked and freezing. Tuck your outfit for the next day down by your feet or one side or another.
Top yourself off with your winter coat as almost another blanket in your sleeping bag. This will give you extra warmth and keep it warm for the next day.
Cocoon! Zip your bag up as far as you can and try to relax. It can be difficult adjusting the temperature at first on your face and with breathing, but after about 20-30 minutes you’ll adjust pretty well.
The resort only recommends staying one night in these rooms, as it can be too harsh on the body for multiple nights. Check-in is not until 6PM, as your room is still available to those who bought their day passes to see until then. If you arrive prior to check-in then leave your bags in the main lobby and plan to relax there or grab dinner either on or offsite. People are dining right down the hall at the ice restaurant until about 9PM, so it can be quite noisy in your room until they leave. There are also no bathrooms in the igloo, so if you have to use the restroom in the middle of the night you’ll need to lace up your boots and go back to the main lodge. There is one female and one male restroom at the main lodge that also has shower facilities.
If you’re still consider staying in a ice hotel keep in mind that reservations are very tough, as there was only 4 igloo rooms and therefore can be really pricy. As the rooms are only available from December-March, you have to really book ahead of time to get in and the pricing can range anywhere from $350-$1000 for the night.
I really can’t explain how much this is truly a once in a lifetime experience. That being said, I won’t be signing up for it again anytime soon. One last perk that comes with your reservation is the certificate your provided upon check-out that states you survived your night in the igloo!
Would you give this a try? Leave your comments below!