Ever tried to imagine what Elsa must have felt like when she made a palace out of ice and lived in it. Cold may not have bothered her but if you want to know whether it won’t bother you either, give the arctic snow hotel a try. This is one experience you can have without the magical snow making superpowers. If you are one of the more adventurous types, you might even dare to spend the night in an ice room on an ice bed in the – yup, you guessed it – ice hotel surrounded by ice sculptures. Phew! thats a lotta ice! They will even give you a certificate to hang on your wall stating that you managed to survived a night in arctic conditions.
The arctic snow hotel made our list because:
1. It is rebuilt every winter since it melts every summer (duh!) so there is a brand new hotel with new rooms and new restaurants and new architecture every year!
2. They serve food in ice restaurant with ice tables and ice chairs and ice dessert plates 😀 Who wouldn’t wanna eat there!
3. There is an ice bar and you can have drinks in ice glasses, lick them if you are thirsty and later play “Aim, Throw and Break the glass in the bucket” when you are done 😀
FYI: My glass made it into the bucket in the corner behind the bar all the way from the bar counter 😀
We flew to Rovaniemi from Helsinki and were picked up by the Arctic snow hotel staff. The change in temperature was immediately apparent. There was about a 20 degrees drop compared to Helsinki, making the current temperate a cool -34 degree Celsius, giving a whole other meaning to “below freezing”. And we thought braving the Helsinki winter made us hard-asses! That was also the first day of that winter that sun was visible above the horizon, as told to us by our cab driver. I wonder if he did that just to make us feel special! 😐 Oh well! Mission accomplished 🙂
So we were officially in Lapland! We did not know this yet, but while travelling to the hotel from the airport, we crossed the arctic circle for the first time. By the time we reached the hotel, understood the map of the grounds and found the way to our glass igloo, it was already twilight!
After dumping our luggage in the igloo, setting the Aurora Alarm (just in case we were lucky enough to watch aurora and enjoy the glass roof to the fullest!) and warming up a little, we set exploring.
We went through the entire ice hotel, all the rooms (since they were all different and we had a lot of time before dinner) and the grounds.
We took snowshoes and went hiking over the frozen lake, freaked out when we realised it was a frozen lake and ran back to the safety of the woods.
We tried to make friends with the reindeer on premises and realised they did not have the famous antlers (apparently they shed the antlers in winter to conserve energy and regrow in summer! who knew!).
We stumbled into what looked like ice saunas, launghed thinking it was a crazy idea and they must be something else, saw someone entering the said building with a towel because it WAS an ice sauna and had our first “These finns are crazy!” revelation. I mean it was -34 degrees and dropping!
After this, we pretty much hung around waiting for the ice bar to open (it only opened from 5.00 to 5.30) to experience our first drink in an ice glass and then after that waited around for the dinner to open. I wanted to make a snowman, but it was too cold for that. I did not know you couldn’t make a snowman if its too cold outside, I always thought all you need is snow 😛 but apparently not! You also need a temperature > -15 degrees for the snow to stick together. Otherwise this is what your snowman would look like.
There was another lesson that I learnt the hard way. Do NOT touch metal with bare hands when its that cold, that is a sure shot way of getting a frostbite. My palm got burnt and hurt for hours, after I tried opening our igloo door without gloves from the outside 😛 ! I learnt later that metal can take your skin away. Luckily I was prevented from that because I didn’t hold it long enough. Getting a burning sensation was definitely a weird feeling in that temperature!
We could not see the northern lights from the glass igloo that night, so we were a little disappointed about that. But little did we know, the most magnificent northern lights show of our lives was just waiting for us 🙂