Ice is Nice—Even When You Are Sleeping
Ice is beautiful. It glistens in the sun and glows in the moonlight.
Most of us have walked on ice, slipped on ice, climbed ice or asked for more ice in our cocktails. But there’s nothing like sleeping in ice. Igloos have been around for thousands of years—they are one of the earliest forms of man-made shelters. And they are an absolute blast (from the past) when it comes to lodging.
Nothing against five-star mountain-side lodging complete with haute cuisine room service and on-demand massages, but sometimes stepping into nature shouldn’t come with an immediate retreat back into high-end comfort. These locales offer a new spin on the traditional concept of the igloo, from bare-bones outings that end with you crafting your own accommodation to the more luxe variety, complete with Wi-Fi.
Let your appetite for the outdoors help define the best option.
Embrace your inner polar explorer at the Iglu Village, which mixes both the rustic and refined concept of braving the Austrian winter. Choose a two- or four-person igloo vacation rental, each designed and shaped by regional “snow artists.”
Bed down for the night in your cozy accommodation, or be social at the snow bar, or by joining other guests for fondue and fire-roasted marshmallows. Each igloo comes with insulated sheepskin sleeping areas, winter sleeping bags, and breakfast in the neighboring hotel. By day learn how to build your own ice castle, or light out for the nearby ski resort, the country’s highest at 2,020 meters.
If the idea of ice-packed igloos sends shivers down your spin, consider this luxe alternative, nestled high in the wilds of the Arctic Circle in Finland’s Kekkonen National Park.
The village has 20 thermal glass igloos, each offering unparalleled view of the Northern Lights, along with ice sculptures, and almost-immediate access to untamed, snow-covered wilds via wilderness safaris (by reindeer, husky, snowmobile, or snow tank). Or spend the day skiing (alpine and cross-country), ice fishing, or riding an icebreaker into the glacial-beyond out of the nearby town of Kemi.
When it comes to Sedona, snow isn’t a guarantee—as of this writing, the Arizona vacation spot best known for its magnificent red rock towers and cosmic vortexes generally boasts temps well above freezing. But if you’re willing to take a gamble, this Airbnb spot delivers one of the more unique windows into winter imaginable. And if there’s no snow, you’ll still get some prime natural respite in the heated two-person, one-bed igloo.
It even comes with Wi-Fi. You also get easy access to a host of other Sedona attractions, including biking, hiking, and all the crystal/spiritual healing your aura can handle.
Dubbed an “eco-luxury hotel and alpine experience,” the WhitePod is more igloo in concept than in fact—but they still proffer unparalleled access to the winter wonders of Valais, Switzerland. Think glamping in high-quality dome-shape tents nestled in the snow, kitted out with full beds, sheepskin-covered chairs, running water, and pellet stoves for heating.
You can order in-room massages, hit the sauna, or arrange for a host of outdoor activities, from dogsledding and snowshoeing to paragliding. And the on-site Le Cerniers restaurant assures you’ll never go hungry.
If all this already-built igloo stuff sounds a bit too posh, then Scotland-based Mountain and Sea Guides can hook up your ideal winter adventure. This three-day/two-night expedition into the country’s snowy Applecross Peninsula combines a hearty traverse into the Scottish wilds partnered with mountain craft training that’ll have you building your own igloo (or “snow hole” as they less-than-poetically describe it).
All local transport, including rides from the Inverness Airport or the train station in Aviemore rail station are included, along with all specialist equipment like winter sleeping bags, and expedition hardware. Upgrade to the fully catered option for another 30 pounds.