In Norway, a lodging facility called Snow Hotel is located in a natural setting covered with ice and snow.
The Snow Hotel is a unique hotel built with piles of ice instead of bricks, unique to Norway’s icy region.
In this article, I will introduce you to Norway’s snow hotels, where you can stay in a beautiful space of snow and ice.
Ice Hotels in Norway
Further north in Scandinavian Norway, in the far northern city of Kirkenes, there is a mysterious hotel built of snow and ice.
It is called “SnowHotel Kirkenes” and is available only from December to April in the winter.
As the name Snow Hotel suggests, most of the facilities, from the exterior walls to the beds and tables in the rooms, are made of snow and ice.
The Snow Hotel is said to use dozens of tons of ice cut from the frozen lakes of the Kirkenes area.
In Japan, Kamakura is a winter tradition, but Norway, which built not only Kamakura but also a hotel, is on a different scale.
It’s in the far northern town of Kirkenes
Kirkenes, where Snow Hotel is open, is located along the Russian border in northern Norway.
It is located in the even more extreme north of Nordic Norway, just 400 km from the North Pole.
Although it is a small town with about 3,000, tourism is thriving here because of the beautiful Northern Lights that can be observed at the right time of the year.
In addition, during the summer season from May to July, Kirkenes experiences a phenomenon called “midnight sun,” when the sun remains bright all day long without setting.
Conversely, it is the polar night from November to January, when the sun does not rise throughout the day, and the town is located in the extreme north of Norway.
How to spend your time at Snow Hotel
On the grounds of the Snow Hotel in Kirkenes, the hotel consists mainly of an accommodation building and a building wing that houses a restaurant, showers, and other facilities.
The primary lodging building, the Snow Hotel, keeps the temperature inside the hotel at minus 5 degrees Celsius, so heavy winter clothing is essential.
All household goods, from tables to beds, are essentially made of ice.
The chairs are also made of ice but are covered with reindeer fur to keep your bottom dry.
Rooms are assigned a number, and this part is similar to that of a regular hotel.
And one of the major attractions of the Snow Hotel is the artistic sculptures carved into the ice walls.
The space is decorated with creative sculptures of Santa Claus, animals, and fireplaces, and each room has a different artistic theme.
In addition to the sculptures on the walls, the interior of the Snow Hotel is also lit with blue lights, creating a fantastic scene reminiscent of the castle in “Frozen.”
On the other hand, you may wonder, “Is it possible to sleep in a space with a temperature of minus 5 degrees Celsius?”
Sleep is no problem, and the Snow Hotel provides high-performance sleeping bags that can handle temperatures below minus.
Their body heat spreads throughout the sleeping bag, making the inside of the sleeping bag very warm. So you can have a comfortable sleep even when surrounded by ice.
Complete facilities for your stay on site
In addition to the central ice hotel, the Snow Hotel grounds also offer a variety of facilities to help make users’ stay more comfortable.
First, there is a reception area resembling a mountain lodge, the first place you will visit when staying or touring the Snow Hotel.
At the reception, they will take care of you during your stay, from lodging procedures and payment of entrance fees to the storage of your luggage.
There is also a building wing with a restaurant and sauna, where you will spend your day.
On the first floor of the building wing, there is a sauna and shower room, a Scandinavian specialty originating in Finland, where you can wash away the fatigue of sightseeing with your sweat.
The second floor is a wooden dome-style restaurant with a fireplace in the center. Hot drinks such as cocoa and lunch can be enjoyed at lunchtime.
The third floor is a lounge floor where guests can communicate with other guests.
In addition to the snow above the hotel, log cabins and wooden cottages placed outdoors are also available as lodging facilities.
While snow hotels are only available in winter, log cabins are available year-round.
There is also indoor heating and a private bathroom. The windows offer spectacular views of the Norwegian wilderness, so you may need help deciding whether to stay at the Snow Hotel or the log cabins.
Outdoor activities such as Northern Lights viewing
Kirkenes, a town located in the far north of Norway, has a high probability of seeing the Northern Lights due to its privileged location.
There is also a shuttle service from the airport in Kirkenes to the Snow Hotel. The shuttle is not a car but a dog sled taxi.
Visitors can enjoy winter activities unique to Scandinavian Norway that can never be experienced in Japan, such as aurora tours that offer spectacular views and dog sled rides across snowy fields.
The Snow Hotel is a fantastic building that looks like something out of a fantasy world, with everything from the walls to the household goods made of beautiful ice.
The experience of spending time wrapped in a sleeping bag in the icy world will be a precious memory that can only be experienced in Norway, a land of extreme cold.