For some people, the idea of traveling to snow in the winter is anathema, while for others its the perfect season for ice and snow. Those who embrace Winter's icy grip, may want to check out igloos or ice hotels. To be fair, many of these "igloos" are not made of snow like the traditional homes of indigenous peoples but modern construction materials merely shaped to mimic those dwellings.
According to National Geographic, humans have livied in the arctic for more than 5,000 years. "The Inuit, Inupiat, and Yupik — who spend months at a time on pack ice amid a snowy terrain often devoid of trees — crafted insulated havens out of something that otherwise seems counterintuitive: snow and ice. Indeed, the shape and snowy composition of igloos help trap heat, and their insides can hover a toasty 40 to 60° F warmer than the surrounding air."
Drawing on that ingenuity, destinations around the world have created properties that cater to both simple and extravagant frozen fantasies while still providing comfort, adventure, and relaxation. Here are some of the best LGBTQ+-friendly igloos and ice hotels from around the globe.
Photo courtesy of Icehotel.
*Please note: because some of these structures do not have circulating air, local regulations may require them to remain closed this season. Others plan to open later this winter. Verify ahead of time that you are allowed to travel and destinations are operating.
"Greetings from Kakslauttanen!" writes a representative from the resort responding to whether the propperty is LGBTQ+-friendly. "Of course everyone is welcome to our resort just as they are!"
Kakslauttanen features a wide range of accomodations, from traditional snow and glass igloos to glass tepees and wooden chalets to wedding chambers (and a snow chapel). The property offers five wood-heated saunas, an art gallery, an on-site brewery, and six restaurants. "Santa’s World, Sami Village, Reindeer / Husky / Horse farms" are also included on the sprawly 650 hectare estate. And, Mäkinen adds, "At the moment we are also building Scandinavia’s biggest planetarium and an underground tunnel from the art gallery to the planetarium. The construction work will be completed in the upcoming months."
Glass igloos, like the one pictured are the perfect way to drink in the surroundings and view the Northern Lights.
Photo courtesy Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Lapland, Finland
Every year since 1989, Icehotel is reborn in a new design built from huge blocks of ice, weighing two tons apiece, that were harvested from Sweden's Torne River. Re-created each year by a new team of international artists, and designers (with help from experts in ice construction) in the small village of Jukkasjärvi, it is both an ephemeral art project and the world’s first, and largest hotel built of snow and ice. (Snice -- snow+ice -- is the main construction material for floors, walls, and ceilings because of its durability.)
This room, "White Santorini," was designed by Haemee Han and Jae Yual Lee for Icehotel 2020.
Photo by Asaf Kliger courtesy Icehotel
The 5-star igloo hotel offers luxury and comfort. And, as spokesperson Brigitte Reitbauer tells Out Traveler, "Yes, you can call us LGBTQ+ friendly. We love our guests and look forward to all types of visitors to whom we can hopefully transfer our enthusiasm for ice and snow."
"Normally," she explains, "you can book evening programs with fondue food, well organized company events, visits [to] a huge ice bar...[and] igloo parties."
But this isn't a normal winter, and due to "the total number of imponderables and planning uncertainties," Reibauer says, "We have decided that we will not build any overnight igloos and won't offer igloo dinner programs in the upcoming winter season. We are only building a reduced igloo village with an outside snow bar and terrace as well as a modified ice art exhibition with a one-way street for day visitors."
Igloo nights and igloo dinners will be available again in the 2021-22 winter season.
Photo courtesy of Alpeniglu
The resort's ice bar and ice art exhibition, Ice Land, built into the igloo village, will open in January (and run to March 20, 2021). The exhibition's handcarved ice sculptures are crafted by an international team of artists out of crystal clear ice, which is made using a special technique at an Alpeniglu ice produon site in Thale. The huge ice blocks, weigh approimately 265 pounds each, are not only used for sculptures, but also for ice benches, ice tables, ice glasses, ice plates, and the ice bar.
Photo courtesy of Alpeniglu
Hotel Arctic, the world’s most northerly 4-star hotel (with a 5-star conference center) sits on the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage site Ilsulisat Icejord, 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The fjord is the sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. The Greenland ice cap is the only remnant in the Northern Hemisphere of the continental ice sheets from the Ice Age. The oldest ice is estimated to be 250,000 years old.
In addition to traditional rooms, Hotel Artic has five two-person aluminium-frame igloo cabins located at the end of a wooden bridge just a short walk from the hotel and overlooking Disko Bay where colossal icebergs drift by.
The igloo cabins are inspired by the classic Inuit design, but offer the modern facilities of a traditional resort.
"We do not make difference of people," notes Hotel Artic's Lisbeth Kristensen about being LGBTQ+-friendly. "Which you can also see from our staff when you visit Hotel Arctic."
Photo courtesy of Hotel Arctic
Hotel Arctic's website describes Ilulissat as "a charming town where the coloured wooden buildings on the hills blend with the modern buildings in a close interaction between human life and wild nature. The many dog sleds parked outside the houses speak for themselves. This is not a motion picture set. It is a town where traditional Greenlandic life is lived."
Photo courtesy of Hotel Arctic
Located in the Swiss Alps, Whitepod Hotel operates "pods" that aren't really igloos, but geodesic domes made up of a network of triangles that create a self-supporting frame that provides structural strength while minimizing material needed. That's important because the hotel was established in 2004 to prove that hospitality and environmental preservation can coexist. The hotel limits use of energy and water. Waste is recycled. Local sourcing is preferred. Staff members walk to work. Motorized transport in the camp is limited. Pods are heated by pellet stoves and offer breathtaking views.
And, Ivana Tutić tells Out Traveler, "Our resort is completely LGBTQ-friendly, everyone is warmly welcome!"
Photo courtesy of Whitepod