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Winter 2008 | Holidays on Ice

Winter 2008 | Holidays on Ice

Chill out in the ultimate winter hotels -- before they melt away (literally, each spring)

Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, Canada
Open January 4-March 29
North America?s only ice hotel, H?tel de Glace, sits 30 minutes outside of gay-friendly Quebec City. The 32,000-square-foot lodge houses 36 themed rooms and suites sculpted entirely from snow and ice (including the furniture), complete with chill-reducing custom fireplaces and heated indoor bathrooms. Dramatic 16-plus-foot ice archways and an ice caf? with ice slide help to entice at least 65,000 spectators each winter, 4,000 of whom spend the night. Thinking of a winter wedding? The hotel?s ice chapel has hosted same-sex nuptials since 2004. Packages start from about US$170, which includes a cocktail and hot tub/sauna privileges.

Bjorli, Norway
Open January 1-April 30
(Snow hotel closes April 15)
Set in the middle of Dovre-Sunndalsfjella National Park, the legendary Ice Lodge at Bjorli is an animal lover?s dream. Not only do depictions of wildlife appear as art?carved into the ice walls of the lodge?s suites?but wild reindeer, musk oxen, and gyrfalcon (the world?s largest falcon) populate this alpine region. Gaze over the Rauma River from your room, sight-see via dogsled, or visit the communal gamma, a traditional Norwegian circular hut with a central fire. For under US$4,000 you can fly from London or Manchester, U.K., and get a three-night package?one night at the Ice Lodge and two at the more traditionally built Bjorligard Snow Hotel.

Jukkasj?rvi, Sweden
Open December 10?April 18
In a small Swedish village in the Arctic Circle, frozen blocks of snow and ice from the Torne River are transformed each winter into the sub-zero sanctuary known as the Ice Hotel (from US$265). Virtually everything is ice, baby, from the beds to the chapel to the dreamlike bar where Absolut vodka flows freely in a blue light?imbued space. Reindeer-skin covers thwart goose bumps en suite, and heated bathrooms are located in the ?warm wing? attached to the hotel. But if it all sounds too chilly, there are cabins of the non-icy variety on site. For added wintry fun, take the approximately 90-minute flight from nearby Kiruna to LGBT center Stockholm.

Kakslauttanen, Finland
Open December 10-April 18
Unlike other ice hotels, Lapland?s Igloo Village contains multiple units built of snow or glass. The 20 snow igloos (from US$205) hold up to five people and come with lighting, down sleeping bags, and woolen socks and hood, while the more luxurious glass models (from US$244) offer cozy beds, toilets, and transparent thermo walls that keep the space warm and allow clear views of the Northern Lights. Also on site: the world?s largest snow restaurant, an ice wedding chapel, ice bar, and heated glass kota?a teepee-shaped building perfect for stargazing. An ice gallery exhibits works from a local annual ice-sculpting competition. Pair an Igloo Village stop with a trip to gay hot spot Helsinki, 90 minutes away or less by plane.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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