Tuesday 18 June 2019

Sleep beneath the stars? Five of the best igloo hotels for chilled-out winter stays

Embrace the deep freeze by sleeping in structures made of - or made to look like - ice.

Arctic Fox Igloos in Finland. PA Photo/Marko Junttila.
Arctic Fox Igloos in Finland. PA Photo/Marko Junttila.
Levin Iglut, Finland. PA Photo/Levin Iglut.
Restaurant at Igloo Village, La Plagne PA Photo/La Plagne Tourism.
Ice Village Tomamu, Japan. PA Photo/Hoshino Resorts.
Iglu Lodge in Greenland. PA Photo/Off The Map Travel.

Sarah Marshall

When snow starts to fall, it's tempting to stoke up a fire - but for a true winter experience, sometimes there's nothing better than embracing the cold.

For centuries, Inuit communities lived in houses built of snow, which - surprisingly - kept them warm. Now, reviving the romance of sleeping in structures made of ice, several hotels offer guests an opportunity to book into igloos for the night.

Whether you want the authentic experience or a modern-day glass interpretation, these are the coolest ones to choose...

1. Levin Iglut Igloos, Finland

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Levin Iglut, Finland. PA Photo/Levin Iglut.

If the idea of ice gives you the chills, these glass-roofed igloos are are the next best thing. Even better, they provide a 360-degree window to the night sky, making them perfect for viewing Northern Lights. Although only a 15-minute drive from Kittila Airport, the 24 domes feel thrillingly remote, with unobstructed views of a fir-trimmed valley. Electronically heated, they also feature bathrooms, a kitchen, Wi-Fi connection and motorised beds, which can be adjusted for the best position to gaze at stars.

How: A Superior Igloo, sleeping two adults and two children, costs €590 with breakfast. Visit leviniglut.net/igloos. Finnair flies from Dublin to Helsinki, and onwards to Kittila. From December it will also fly seasonally to Kittila from London Gatwick. Visit finnair.com.

2. Ice Village Tomamu, Japan

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Ice Village Tomamu, Japan. PA Photo/Hoshino Resorts.

An increasing number of winter sports fans are visiting Japan's number one ski resort Hokkaido, and now top hotel resort Hoshino Tomamu is giving them even more reason to go. From December 10 to March 14, when temperatures dip to -30°C, an Ice Village will open, with igloo accommodation and ice skating rinks. Sleep in an ice dome, bathe in a hot tub made of ice, and warm up in an after-bath Ice Lounge.

How: One night with breakfast from 23,000Yen (€179). Visit snowtomamu.jp.

3. Iglu Lodge, Greenland

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Iglu Lodge in Greenland. PA Photo/Off The Map Travel.

Featuring five igloos, sleeping up to two people each, the Iglu Lodge in Ilulissat is new for this winter season. Replicating a sleeping environment traditionally enjoyed by Inuits, igloos hover at a 0°C temperature even when it's much colder outside. Reindeer skins and sleeping bags provide enough warmth for the night, with bathroom and restaurant facilities located in a separate block.

How: A 4-night Ilulissat Igloo Experience costs from around €1,110pp, including three nights at Hotel Arctic and one night in an igloo. Transfers and activities included. Flights extra. Visit offthemap.travel.

4. Arctic Fox Igloo, Finland

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Arctic Fox Igloos in Finland. PA Photo/Marko Junttila.

There's no risk of frostbite in these cosy glass igloos, recently opened on the scenic shores of Lake Ranuanjarvi. Heated panels keep guests cosy and prevent frost from obscuring the walls, keeping them clear for overhead views of the Northern Lights. In the back, there's a bathroom and sauna, along with a kitchenette and a table set for two. During the day, extra activities can also be booked: Go on a snowmobile safari, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, or see polar bears at Ranua Wildlife Park.

How: Igloos from €504 per night for two people including breakfast. Visit arcticfoxigloos.com. Finnair flies from Dublin to Rovaniemi, via Helsinki. Visit finnair.com.

5. Igloo Village, La Plagne, France

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Restaurant at Igloo Village, La Plagne PA Photo/La Plagne Tourism.

Set 2,118-metres above sea level, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, La Plagne's Igloo Village offers visitors a chance to sleep between snow-built walls. After check-in is completed around a fire, which doubles as a reception desk, head off for a meal in the Igloo restaurant decked out with reindeer skins. Wake up to superb scenery and the smell of a cooked breakfast - the ideal tonic to a night in the ice. Igloos are available from December 15 to April 10, 2019.

How: Igloos from from €109 per adult and €99 per child. Visit winter.la-plagne.com. Fly from Dublin to Geneva with Swiss or Aer Lingus.

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