Staying in an Ice Hotel is a unique experience that is on SO many bucket lists. In January we stayed at Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos in Finnish Lapland which was a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget! We thought we would absolutely freeze all night long, however as long as you follow these tips then you’ll have the most peaceful and magical sleep on this holiday of a lifetime.
The Ice Hotel
Our ice hotel was kept at a consistent –5C°, which is much warmer than the –20C° temperature outside! Brrrrr! The ice also blocks the wind and the ruggedness of Lapland in winter, almost insulating the ‘building’. The thickness of the ice and snow on the building also acts as soundproofing and it is so peaceful and quiet in your room and strolling the corridors and walkways of the hotel. The rooms and suites don’t have doors, but rather curtains for privacy. It is so quiet though that you don’t hear anything or anyone!
Hotel tour, night survival ‘course’ and the warm area
On arrival, all visitors to ice hotel are given a tour which includes showing you where your room is, where the toilets and lockers are located along with tips and a demonstration about how to use the sleeping bag and liner provided to ensure you survive the night!
In the event that you just can’t make it through the night in your room, there is bunk beds in the heated locker room.
We thought we would need to sleep in so many layers that we couldn’t move and so were surprised when we were told to only sleep in thermal socks and one pair of good quality long thermal underwear (we had merino wool thermals and were advised not to wear cotton in these conditions).
Upgrading to a suite from a standard room
The suites are enormous and filled with intricately carved sculptures, it feels like you’re in a scene from the movie, Frozen. Whereas on the other hand, the standard rooms are roughly cut from ice and much smaller with just a bed between the ice walls. We felt that those rooms would actually be colder as you’re so close to the ice on all sides and it would maybe even be claustrophobic. Staying in an ice hotel is a once in a lifetime experience and if you can afford it, we would definitely recommend booking a suite – we are so glad we spent a bit extra on ours!
Have a busy day
You’ll definitely sleep well if you’ve had a super busy day. We flew to Rovaniemi early from Helsinki and spent the day exploring Santa’s Village. After a day in the elements and a delicious warm dinner, you’ll be exhausted and sleep soundly.
Minimise your liquids so you don’t have to pee in the night
We’d had a few drinks in the ice bar and hotel bar in the afternoon, but after dinner we barely drank anything because we didn’t want to get up to go to the toilet during the night. This is one of our biggest tips, don’t drink much (of anything) or trust me, you will regret it when you have to get out of your toasty sleeping bag to go to the bathroom.
Have a sauna or sit by the fire before bed
We had a sauna between dinner and bed which left us warm inside and out. We then sat by the fire in the bar area to ensure our hair was dry and we were as warm as we could be before getting ready for bed. Most ice hotels will have both saunas and fires and this is the perfect way to ensure you are warm to the bone before settling down for the night.
Getting ready for bed
When bedtime came around, we changed into our thermals in the locker room, used the bathroom and stored all our extra belongings in the locker. We cleaned our teeth in the bathroom, squeeezed out one last pee and slathered our faces in my Neom Organics moisturiser and so our skin didn’t dry out in the cold.
Getting cosy & prepared for the night
The hotel provides an artic sleeping bag and lovely warm, soft liner for warmth and hygiene. We shoved our jackets into the bottom of our sleeping bag so that they would be toasty and warm in the morning and kept our boots next to the bed. They were cold the next morning, but not wet. You get into the liner first and then slide into your sleeping bag and zip it up until only half your face is out!
I like to have water near me during the night, so I kept a small bottle in between my sleeping bag and reindeer skin so that it didn’t freeze.
Our room had a powerpoint, so we charged our phone and kept it inside the sleeping bag overnight.
A wonderfully refreshing sleep
I won’t lie – it did take me a while to get comfortable and not feel claustrophobic in the sleeping bag with it tied up around my face, but as soon as I did, we both fell into a deep sleep. The mattresses were really comfortable and you never would have guessed you were sleeping on a bed made of ice and reindeer hides.
I have the most wonderful memory of the cold (but refreshing) air on my face and hearing absolutely nothing, the hotel was so silent. It honestly felt like such a refreshing sleep! We slept soundly through until we were woken up at 8am with a cup of hot lingonberry juice. We laid in the warmth of our sleeping bags until we were busting to use the loo, I didn’t want to get up because I was just so comfortable and toasty.
Spending a night in a ice hotel is an experience you’ll never forget and hopefully this will help you prepare for your night in the ice and what should be a unique and wonderful night’s sleep!
In all honesty, we thought it was going to be the night from hell and we would be absolutely freezing all night long but it was an experience we had both always wanted to do. We were pleasantly surprised at just how warm we were in our sleeping bags and what a refreshing night sleep we actually had!
It is an experience like no other and if you want to read more about our experience at the ice hotel you can here: Arctic SnowHotel Rovaniemi.