Ice Hotels: Behind the Scenes

Get a sneak peek at gorgeous winter wonderlands.
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The 411 Below Freezing

How Ice Hotels Work

How exactly does one build and maintain an ice hotel? Here are a few quick facts to get you warmed up for the premiere of 'Ice Hotels'!

One-of-a-Kind Wonderlands

Hotel de Glace, Quebec

The World’s Best Ice Hotels

Chill out in a luxury igloo at a cool ice hotel with sculptures, icy beds and cozy fur hides to keep you warm at night.
Hotel de Glace - Quebec

Hotel de Glace - Quebec

Inspired by the original in Jukkasjarvi, Hotel de Glace on the outskirts of Quebec incorporates the same functionality but in even more refined form. The hotel has framed paintings hanging on its ice walls, more elaborate ice furniture and a swankier ice bar. 960 1280

Matias_Garabedian, Matías Garabedian  

Hotel de Glace - Quebec

Hotel de Glace - Quebec

This hotel itself is large; 34 rooms, to be exact. Designers sketch up the hotel and build it in a matter of weeks every fall. Each year, the facility has something different -- a new bed, a new bar. 960 1280

By Matias Garabedian from Montreal, Canada (Hôtel de Glace) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Alta Igloo Hotel - Norway

Alta Igloo Hotel - Norway

If there is such a thing as a rustic ice hotel, the Alta Igloo Hotel in the northeast corner of Norway would be it. The rooms are not very large, and low ceilings make them a bit claustrophobia-inducing. Still, the experience of sleeping in an igloo under the Northern Lights is second to none. 960 1280

mcdonaldkar/Getty Images  

Alta Igloo Hotel - Norway

Alta Igloo Hotel - Norway

Apart from its 80 beds the Alta Igloo Hotel houses suites, an ice gallery, an ice bar, an ice chapel and several lounges. Sculpture work also is present here -- hulking ice sculptures that appear as stone until you touch them and they melt in your hand.  960 1280

Mark Hannaford/AWL Images/Getty Images  

IceHotel - Sweden

IceHotel - Sweden

Situated in the village Jukkasjarvi, 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, the original Icehotel has been built every year since 1980. The facility didn't start out as a lodge; at first, it was simply built as a seasonal structure to house an art exhibit.
960 1280

By Laplandish (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

IceHotel - Sweden

IceHotel - Sweden

Accommodations inside the Icehotel are, well ... chilly. Regardless of the temperature outside, the air in the Icehotel is always between 17 and 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Bedrooms have blocks of ice as beds, covered with fur, skin, hides and sleeping bags. 960 1280

By Laplandish (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Aurora Ice Museum - Alaska

Aurora Ice Museum - Alaska

The Aurora Ice Museum, located on the grounds of the Chena Hot Springs Resort 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks, is the only ice hotel in the U.S. Ice-carving champion Steve Brice designed. Visitors don't even have to spend the night; at the hotel's ice bar, guests can down a chilled martini before heading back to Fairbanks for the day. 960 1280

Aurora Ice Museum  

Aurora Ice Museum - Alaska

Aurora Ice Museum - Alaska

In this hotel, everything is made of ice: the beds, the chairs, the counters, the glasses and more.  960 1280

Aurora Ice Museum  

Balea Lake Ice Hotel (Chapel) - Romania

Balea Lake Ice Hotel (Chapel) - Romania

Only accessible via able car in the winter, this ice church is located in Romania at the Balea Lake Ice Hotel. 960 1280

By Untravelledpaths (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Kakslauttanen Igloo Village - Finland

Kakslauttanen Igloo Village - Finland

Located in Saariselka, Finland, the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village is known for their world-famous glass igloos situated below the Northern Lights, which are visible from late August through the end of April. 960 1280
Kirkenes Snow Hotel - Norway

Kirkenes Snow Hotel - Norway

Opened in 2006 in Finnmark, Norway, near the Norwegian and Russian Border, the Kirkenes Snow Hotel features 20 bedrooms, an ice bar and more. 960 1280
Lainio Snow Village - Finland

Lainio Snow Village - Finland

Situated just north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland, the Lainio Snow Village is built every year using just about 40,000,000 pounds of snow. 960 1280
Lainio Snow Village - Finland

Lainio Snow Village - Finland

Covering over 65,000 square feet of space, Lainio features a snow hotel, an ice restaurant, an ice bar, a super-slick ice slide and a chapel. 960 1280
SnowCastle - Finland

SnowCastle - Finland

Known as one of the biggest snow structures in the world, the SnowCastle of Kemi, located in Finland, features a SnowRestaurant, a SnowChapel and a SnowHotel. 960 1280

By Art of Backpacking (Flickr: SnowCastle, Kemi, Finland) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Winter Hot Spots

Salt Lake City

Winter Weekend Getaways

Whether you dream of fresh powder or sandy shores, here are our top winter destinations for when the temperature drops. Warning: you may not want to come back.
Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City

For those who check ski conditions on the daily, you don’t have to leave the country for world-class skiing. Get thee on a direct flight to Salt Lake City, and you’ll be minutes from Utah’s premier ski village of Park City. At the site of the 2002 Olympics, you’ll find black diamonds fit for the US ski team, which has made Park City its permanent home base. Stroll along the main street, and you’ll see that it’s not lacking in century-old buildings, twinkling lights or exceptional restaurants. 960 1280

Adam Barker  

Washington's Methow Valley

Washington's Methow Valley

Take ski-in/ski-out lodging to a new level and experience the European tradition of hut-to-hut skiing in northern Washington’s Methow Valley, near the US-Canadian border. For novices or those more familiar with its downhill sibling, cross-country skiing is a thrill in its own right, and Methow Valley is home to more than 125 miles of tranquil, well-marked trails. If indoor plumbing is a must after a long day on the trails, you may want to trade camping for other mountain accommodations, such as the Sun Mountain Lodge, where you won’t sacrifice the scenery or vast view of the stars. 960 1280

Ty Milford / Getty Images  

Bahamas

Bahamas

If blue skies and tan lines seem like a distant memory, a quick Caribbean vacation may be what you’re craving. Consider the Bahamas, a chain of more than 700 islands, cays and reefs, which will feel downright balmy compared with East Coast temps. This year-round island paradise just off the Florida coast is in its peak season, allowing you to choose to splurge on a luxurious resort with all the trappings at Atlantis Paradise Island or escape to one of the more remote Out Islands. 960 1280

Daniel Korzeniewski / iStock / Getty Images  

Miami

Miami

Every winter, the promise of sunny, 72-degree weather beckons visitors to Miami. Beyond the requisite Cuban sandwich in Little Havana, in Little Havana, foodies will find memorable cuisine at the annual, star-studded South Beach Wine and Food Festival. With high season in full swing, you’ll see many a scantily clad European spend the nights dining at 9 p.m. and traipsing along Ocean Drive and sleep the days away in cabanas or on a bed of soft, white sand — that is how Miami is meant to be enjoyed. 960 1280

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images  

New Orleans

New Orleans

There are good times to be had in New Orleans year-round, but things get kicked up a notch when Mardi Gras and college bowl games roll through town. Not that you need added reasons to visit — snacking on beignets at Café du Monde and listening to jazz on Bourbon Street should be reason enough to check into the elegant Hotel Mazarin in the French Quarter. 960 1280

Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images  

Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida

When you think of Orlando, you think of theme parks — and for good reason. It is home to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, each with myriad parks and resorts. Whether it’s a special parade or fireworks display over the holidays or a much-needed break from frozen temperatures back home, there are countless reasons why winter is an ideal time to visit. The period just after the holidays and before spring break is, in particular, the least crowded and will have the shortest lines.  960 1280

Songquan Deng / iStock / Getty Images  

Paris

Paris

While the chilly temps in Paris may keep throngs of tourists at bay, put on your rose-colored glasses and take advantage of cheaper rates for an extra-long-weekend stay — to make up for the travel time — at hotels such as the intimate (and conveniently located, near the Louvre) Hotel Relais Saint-Germain. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast over café au lait and a chocolate croissant (clichés for a reason) before strolling along the light-strung Champs-Elysees and taking advantage of the semiannual soldes, or sales. Longchamp or Hermès at 50% off, n’est-ce pas? 960 1280

Xavier Richer / Photononstop / Getty Images  

Phoenix/Scottsdale

Phoenix/Scottsdale

Sun worshippers, take heart; you’ll find your oasis in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, the Greater Phoenix area has earned the nickname “Valley of the Sun” honestly. Most come to hit the links, as the area is dotted with more than 200 golf courses. But the Desert Botanical Garden is another year-round highlight. Like a relic of the Wild West, Old Town Scottsdale lures tourists, but most visitors will value a relaxing stay filled with shopping, golfing and lounging at the spa. 960 1280

Brent Winebrenner / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

While chilly during the winter months, visitors will find Southern charm in spades in Savannah. The low-season prices also mean it’s a great time to splurge on a romantic Valentine’s stay at the Green Palm Inn. Indulge in comfort food, including cheesy grits, fried green tomatoes and Lowcountry cuisine, as well as cocktails. Thanks to lenient open-container laws, you can take that hot toddy to go as you stroll through the historic district downtown. 960 1280

Daniela Duncan / Moment / Getty Images  

About the Show

Anthony Melchiorri goes on a snowy trek through Norway, Sweden and Finland to explore four unique hotels made entirely of ice. During his travels, Anthony experiences life above the Arctic Circle and witnesses how these fantastic structures get built.

Meet the Host

Meet Anthony Melchiorri, host of Ice Hotels...Not Impossible and Hotel Impossible.

Get to Know Anthony

Ice Hotels...Not Impossible Anthony Melchiorri goes on a snowy trek through Norway, Sweden and Finland to explore four unique hotels made entirely of ice. During his travels, Anthony experiences life above the Arctic Circle and witnesses how these fantastic structures get built.
Anthony Melchiorri
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