‘Scratchy’ Sam from Hobart has earned his nickname thanks to a persistent heat rash, which gets worse when he travels … whether it is to a tropical location or a cold city where the hotel air-conditioning seems to be permanently switched on to ‘swelter’. He wonders if there is anywhere he can travel to where he can escape the itchies and has asked us if we would recommend ice hotels.
I hope you can help me because I am at my wit’s end with this heat rash that worsens when I travel. My friends call me Scratchy Sam because of an itchy skin condition that flares – even down there – as soon as the ambient temperature reaches about 20°C! Naturally, that means I cannot holiday in the tropics. But even when I travel to colder climes, I have the same discomfort in hotel rooms where I cannot adjust the thermostat and the air-con seems to be switched on permanently to ‘swelter’. It has been suggested that I stay in an ice hotel but I was wondering just how comfortable this type of accommodation is. Can you enlighten me?
A. I am so sorry to hear about what must be a very uncomfortable affliction. It must be awful to have your vacations blighted in this way. But there is some good news for you on the topic of ice hotels. Yes, they are comfortable, and different features can even make them cosy. But they are as cold as a polar bear’s paws! Here are a few that impressed us:
Norway’s Kirkenes Snowhotel, has been welcoming tourists to its guaranteed minus 4 degrees Celsius hotel rooms since 2006, so it knows a thing or too about being cool. Each of its 20 rooms is decorated with ice sculptures that capture the essence of arctic culture. The rooms accommodate from two to five people.
The beautifully carved rooms at Finland’s SnowHotel in Kemi each have their own personality – from rosy and romantic to tropically exotic. The room temperatures are minus 5 degrees, but if that is too chilly, you can be assured of a snug sleep among the lambswool bedding.
Redesigned and rebuilt from ice and snow each year, Quebec’s Hotel du Glace in Canada has 45 themed rooms. For those who worry about frostbite, some of the rooms have flued wood fire heaters that make for a surreal glow in the all-white rooms. Behind the Scandinavian-style façade, you will find ice bars and cafes, an ice chapel and the Grand Slide.
This igloo-type accommodation can be expensive and is not always available, depending on the time of the year, as it relies on sub-zero temperatures for stability. But if you are fortunate to stay in an ice hotel, it will be as though you stepped into a magical wonderland.
To glimpse some other ice hotels, visit Architectural Digest.