Dreaming of a winter wonderland or white Christmas experience? We decided to try a bit of unusual holiday – the ultimate winter adventure of staying at a hotel made of ice.
I highly recommend staying at one of the uniquely designed hotels in Europe. As a more affordable option I picked the Ice hotel in Romania.
The hotel is built every year for the winter season. It is located in the heart of Fagaras Mountains in Transylvania and it is built entirely from snow and ice blocks extracted from the glacier lake of Balea Lake. The hotel is such an asset to Romania tourism – loved visiting this part of the country in the winter. Balea Lake looks amazing to visit in the summer too – the way to get to the top of the mountain is by car, driving on the famous and stunning Transfagarasan road (which you probably have seen on one of the episodes of Top Gear too). In the winter you can only get to Balea lake and the ice hotel by driving to Balea Waterfall cable car (Statia de telecabina Balea Cascada) as the road from that point to the top is closed, then take the cable car. The cable car operates between 9am and 5pm only – it`s best to check the scheduled departure times in advance. If you have accommodation booked at Balea Lake you can join the queue for Cazati (means “accommodated” in Romanian) which can get you up quicker than if you wait on the regular queue with the daily visitors.
The hotel has an ice restaurant and bar, rooms, igloos and also a church made of ice. The building of such a hotel is very much weather dependent so you should check the building works are on schedule and completed before you travel there. As this year, the winter came a bit late hence the igloos were not finished so we couldn’t stay in one of them but instead stayed at one of the ice rooms. Each room is designed with it`s own character and ice sculptures. The hotel is open to visitor as a museum during the day. After 5pm, the hotel is being prepared for dinner and you can enjoy a lovely 4 course meal at the ice restaurant and bar. The food is really good and very well presented and you have a good variety of drinks to choose from. After dinner you can collect your sleeping bags and get ready to challenge yourself and sleep in the extreme conditions of -2/-5 degrees Celsius. It sounds really cold and it is chilly but with the right clothing it feels warm and it is such a great experience. If you get really cold throughout the night, you can walk to the nearby chalet which has warm rooms.
Staying at the Ice hotel was an unforgettable experience you should add to your bucket list.