It’s no secret that Scandinavian innovation is taking the design world by storm. And, the region’s hotels are by no means immune, with everything from flying-saucer treehouses to glass igloos filling up spots on travel bucket lists.
This is your chance to stay in the world’s original ice hotel. However, that’s not to say that it’s rested on its laurels. Each year, a fresh team of artists and architects carve anew everything from grand halls to intimate churches. The result? Successively impressive designs where sculptures adorn art galleries, drinks are served in frozen glasses and gourmet meals are dished up on plates of ice. And, after nights spent in ethereally lit, artist-hewn suites, you’ll spend your days exploring Swedish Lapland on snowmobiles, dogsleds and skis. It’s all showcased by our Classic ICEHOTEL Break. What’s more, there’s even the newly opened ICEHOTEL 365; contrast summer hikes and bike rides with its frozen beauty, kept cool by the solar power of the Midnight Sun.
In the snow-laden forests near Rovaniemi, the glass-fronted modernism of this wilderness retreat combines all the snugness you could want from a stay in the Arctic with the very best in cutting-edge, Scandinavian design. Inside, it’s all blonde-wood walls, mock- fur-clad armchairs, cosy duvets and log-burning stoves, while floor-to-ceiling windows face north to make the most of Northern Lights displays. Choose between Arctic TreeHouse Suites – perfect for couples – and Arctic Glass Houses, which come with two double bedrooms – including fun, alcove bunks for the kids – a well-equipped kitchenette and a private sauna. What's more, the hotel’s restaurant, Rakas, is excellent. With a menu full of modern takes on tasty Lappish dishes, you can expect everything from forest mushroom tartare to wild reindeer with lingonberry sauce or delicious, homemade berry cheesecake. Stay here on our Lapland in Style break, or treat the kids at Christmas with our Luxury Santa Break.
Iceland is where geological wonders play out right in front of you. Giant glaciers ooze down volcanic slopes, geysers shoot storeys-high and waterfalls cascade down continental crumples. At the Blue Lagoon, these geothermal powers have been harnessed into a naturally heated spa where bright-cobalt waters are edged by millennia-old volcanic rock. At its Silica Hotel, you’ll be treated to exclusive access to a private lagoon, enjoying soothing dips away from the crowds. The swim-up bar doesn’t hurt, either. You’ll then return to design-hotel luxury to be pampered by gourmet dining, spa treatments and private-verandah views over those perfectly blue waters. It’s best combined with a road trip through south Iceland’s dramatic landscapes.
This is Scandinavian innovation at its finest – glass-domed igloos. Tucked away in Finnish Lapland’s wintery wilds, you’ll lie back on your bed as bright constellations shoot overhead, unclouded by artificial light – perhaps the most evocative way of taking in the Northern Lights’ ethereal display. There’s even an aurora alarm that you can turn on. What’s more, on the very same site, you’ll have the chance to pair your futuristic igloo with another Scandinavian icon – an ice hotel. Our tailor-made itinerary enjoys the best of both worlds, leaving you plenty of time to explore with snowshoe hikes and ice-fishing adventures before warming up with the SnowHotel’s sauna and Jacuzzis.
Part treehouse collection, part art installation and all Scandi chic, the Treehotel is accommodation with a difference. Choose between the likes of a domed UFO, a bird’s nest and whole cabins strung up high among the canopy of an old-growth pine forest. There’s even the option of staying in an entirely mirrored cube. You’ll also be perfectly sited in Swedish Lapland for all the usual winter activities, before snowshoe trails thaw into hiking routes and the Lule River hosts kayakers and white water rafters. While you’re here, you might also want to tick off another of Sweden’s highlights, with an itinerary that links the twin delights of the Treehotel and ICEHOTEL.
At Nellim, ‘wilderness’ means just that – old-growth pine forests, endless snowy landscapes and meals of foraged herbs and reindeer stews. You’ll stay in a cosy log cabin, returning from snowmobile expeditions, husky safaris and cross-country skiing to crackling fires and hearty dinners. Given its remote setting in Finnish Lapland, you’ll also be perfectly placed for spectacular displays of the aurora borealis, showcased on our Northern Lights at Nellim itinerary. The chance to catch the light show by snowshoe, sledge or snowmobile is a particular highlight.
For more inspiration, take a look at our full collection of unique and unusual accommodation.