Ice Hotels

Sorrisniva, Norway The Vikings. Norwegian fairytales. The Alta River. Each year, a single theme inspires the ice artisans who spend five weeks creating the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel; this year's focus is on Norse mythology. But guests aren't left out in the cold for their entire stay: A heated service building offers restroom, changing, shower, sauna and restaurant facilities.

Balea Lac, Romania Perched at an altitude of 2,000 meters, Hotel of Ice Cubes might be a more accurate name, as this place -- which includes an ice bar, ice restaurant and ice church -- is built of ice cubes cut directly from the Balea Lake (plus some just regular old ice and water).

Quebec City, Canada Canada's Hôtel de Glace -- North America's only hotel made entirely of ice and snow -- opens for its 11th season on January 6 (and stays open through March 25). Built on the former site of the Québec Zoo, the only animals you'll find here today are the cold-loving humans aching to spend an evening braving the elements, enjoying a sauna under the stars in the hotel's Nordic area or taking a turn on the fun-for-all-ages Grand Ice Slide.

Jukkasjärvi, Sweden Just 125 miles from the Arctic Circle in a small village where the canine residents outnumber the human ones, Sweden's ICEHOTEL is the grande dame of frozen accommodations. Creating the world's largest ice hotel is a year-round endeavor that begins in the spring -- when 4,000 tons of water are harvested from the Torne River -- and continues through the winter months, during which more than 50,000 people make the sub-zero pilgrimage to the ice hotel that started it all.

Various locations Some people need to experiment with milling about in freezing temperatures before committing to a full night's stay. Enter ICEBAR, the ICEHOTEL's year-round, spirituous little sister, where everything -- right down to the glass in which your cocktail is served -- is made of the cold stuff. Each of ICEBAR's six locations (London, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Oslo, Stockholm, and on the hotel site in Jukkasjärvi) puts a chilly spin on the beverage menu, with options including the Northern Light (Absolut Raspberri, Crème de Cassis, lime, raspberry puree) and the Torne River Punch (Absolut Vanilla, Malibu, pineapple).

Kirkenes, Norway Guests of the Kirkenes SnowHotel come for the snow suites (there are 20 in all, each one designed by a professional artist) but stay for such arctic adventures as driving a team of huskies, fishing for king crab, exploring the area on a snowmobile or going in search of the Northern Lights.

Courtesy of: Huffington Post

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