Hey everyone! I just got back from spending a couple of days at the beautiful SnowCastle Hotel in Kemi, Finland and finally got to sleep in a snow hotel which has been high up on my bucket list for YEARS! I did a lot of research throughout the years and I feel as though a lot of the questions I had, I couldn’t find answers for. So I figured, I’d sleep there and ask you guys what kind of questions you guys wanted to know the answers to about sleeping in an ice or snow hotel.
Throughout my answers, I keep going back and forth calling it at times an ice hotel and at other times a snow hotel. The reason for that is, some hotels like it to be called ice hotel and others snow hotel.
What’s the difference? Well, I’m glad you asked because believe it or not, there is a difference.
Ice hotels would be more clear like normal ice and snow hotels would be more white, like snow.
In Kemi they called it a Snow Hotel because it’s mostly made out of snow, but the original ice hotel is mainly made out of ice. Just thought I’d throw that out there, so you wouldn’t get confused with why I kept changing it around.
So here are the questions I got asked the most about sleeping in a snow hotel!
And by the way, if you want to see the whole experience, I have it right here for you!
1. Weren’t you cold?
lol, of course, it was cold! I think it’s funny because I get asked this question the most. All ice or snow hotels are minus 5 degrees Celsius (-5’C/23’F), the temperature never changes. At times I found it nicer to be in the snow hotel than outside because in the snow hotel there is no wind and wind is a major factor of how cold you feel.
We sleep inside of sleeping bags, so once you’re inside of them you aren’t cold. The only thing that does get cold is your nose, so I suggest bringing some kind of scarf or something to cover your nose/face. If your nose is cold, it will be very hard to fall asleep. AND always sleep in thermal inside the sleeping bag.
2. Is it Expensive?
There are different kinds of ice and snow hotels in the world. The original ice hotel which is THE ICE HOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, I believe to be the most expensive, starting at 300€ a night and go up to 1,000€!
I stayed at the LumiLinna SnowCastle Hotel in Kemi, Finland, where the basic room starts at 155€ and can go up to 350€. I personally think it’s worth the money, it’s a once in a lifetime thing for one night. So I think it’s reasonable. I know most people think that having an ice or snow hotel doesn’t cost a lot to maintain or make, but it actually does.
3. Was it Hard to Sleep?
OK, first I’m just going to throw this out there, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. I don’t think that a lot of people that I personally know could handle it. I know many people who would most likely go and sleep in the lobby, including my parents, sisters and one of my best friends.
The truth is some people had an easy time falling asleep and others didn’t, of course, we all discussed it over breakfast in the morning the next day.
I think it all kind of depends on the person and their sleeping habits. Like I’m the type of person that has a hard time falling asleep regardless of where I sleep every night. So after twisting and turning and trying to find a comfortable spot, I started wondering why I’m not sleeping yet (it was 1am), and then I thought about it and asked myself, “Hofit, what did you expect? You never fall asleep easily on a normal bed. Did you really think you would fall asleep faster here on snow!?” and when I realized that, I just kind of smiled and laughed at myself. I did, however, fall asleep at one point. I just think that there are so many emotional feelings when trying to sleep in an ice or snow hotel. For most people, it’s something that they’ve wanted to do for a while, myself included, so it’s also hard to put aside the excitement and go to bed.
4. Was it Comfortable?
You know it takes some time to get used to, it’s definitely not the most comfortable thing in the world, clearly. I think if you have experience sleeping in a sleeping bag, than it can be easier. I used to love sleeping in a sleeping bag as a kid, but haven’t done it in years, so it was a bit weird to get used to. My arms would get tired from trying to adjust myself, like my pillow, hat and the 2 layers of the sleeping bag and not having much room to move them around.
5. Where was the Bathroom?
The bathroom is actually not made out of ice, although some have asked lol. It’s actually in a different building connected to the reception hall. So I highly recommend going before you enter your room because I can’t imagine going in the middle of the night and getting dressed and undressed to use the restroom, especially if it’s snowing or raining and you’re half asleep. It honestly sounds terrible. So do your business beforehand.
Although I will let you know that when you are cold, you do need to use the bathroom more. So be prepared for that. The reason for that is, your body is working hard to keep itself warm and holding extra water is more challenging for your body, so it wants to release it.
6. How Many Nights Should You Book?
Honestly, all you need is one night in a snow or ice hotel. However, most snow hotels normally have a warm hotel or a different option for the other nights. Normally these hotels are in the middle of nowhere with not too much around. Some ice hotels also have glass igloos or a warm hotel or what I slept in for 2 nights in the Snowcastle which I completely loved loved LOVED! It’s called an Olokolo, it’s very similar to a glass igloo, but I think cozier and cheaper. It has a glass ceiling and walls and on the chance that you might be lucky, you might catch some northern lights action from it. I found this incredibly comfortable and it also has a heater inside. So I personally, highly recommend staying a night in one of those, if it’s possible because it’s also an amazing experience on its own.
7. What are you sleeping on and with?
Well first there is the bed, then on top of it there is lambskin, I believe. The hotel provides you with a pillow, a survival sleeping bag made for the coldest weather conditions and they also give you something that looks like a thin sleeping bag shaped blanket that’s made out of thermal. So you wear your thermal clothes, get into the thermal blanket and then into the sleeping bag.
8. How warm did you have to dress for bed?
The hotel itself tells you to just wear thermal because people can get pretty hot at night. I personally can’t seem to understand how that would be possible. I don’t think wearing only thermal can keep you warm. I say wear a little more than that. I also recommend bringing in a scarf to cover your face and wear a hat. A hat is a must because most of your body heat escapes through your head.
9. Was there electricity?
You’d be surprised, but there actually was. Every room had a light bulb and a switch to turn it off. I personally slept with the lights on because it’s just too beautiful to turn off.
10. Is it safe? Will the ice melt?
Funny, I actually got this question a few times and yes, it is completely safe to sleep in an ice hotel. The hotel itself or the snow/ice can move, it can shift a little because of the weather outside like rain, snow or heat from the sun, but it can never collapse. It actually is VERY difficult to bring down a snow hotel. Even in months that it does get warmer like around April and May when most snow hotels do close. They actually have to bring in heavy machinery and tractors to bring it down. I actually saw photos and videos.
11. Is the bed made out of ice or is it a mattress?
In Kemi Snowcastle hotel no, the beds were mattresses. However, in some places, they are made out of ice. I asked why that was and they said the reason they have mattresses is because it’s much more comfortable for guest and I agree. To be honest I don’t think it really matters what the bed is made out of, it’s still -5’C/23’F and eventually, both a mattress bed and an ice bed will get to the same temperature. I know this because my pillow was freezing.
12. Would you recommend it?
YES! I highly would! I think it’s super cool, fun and a once in a lifetime experience! I really loved the snow hotel in Kemi, Finland. It was perfect in my opinion.
13. Would you do it again?
Ummmm….honestly, I don’t know, maybe. I think if I would, I would do it in the original ICE HOTEL in Sweden, just because I’m cheesy and would love to see what the original one is like and why there is so much hype about it. Otherwise, probably not.
BONUS: TAKING PHOTOS – I just wanted to let you know that bringing in a camera to a snow or ice hotel is very tricky. For starters, you don’t want to ruin your expensive camera, that’s for sure. I used through out my trip my iPhone 6 with a Lifeproof case and my Sony Action Cam. The bad thing about it is that even when you have these cams or a GoPro, the pictures don’t come out right. They become a little blurry because of the moist in the air and my iPhone turned off a few times because of the cold. If you don’t have a waterproof case, I don’t recommend bringing it inside.
OVER TO YOU! Do you have any other questions that you would like for me to answer? Let me know in the comments below!
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* Vanilla Sky Dreaming was invited by Visit Kemi Tourism to attend The SnowCastle Hotel. Thank you to The SnowCastle Hotel for welcoming Vanilla Sky Dreaming! As always, my opinion is my own.