Snowhotel – Kirkenes, Norway

Snowhotel – Kirkenes, Norway
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//Marie Auffret//

The coolest accommodation!

Your choice of lodging can make or break your travel experience. But a good hotel will forever be ingrained in your memory, elevating your trip from good to great. Or, in the case of this fabulous Snowhotel, from great to once-in-a-lifetime!

This uniquely beautiful, charming, extra-special property will make you wish you could stay forever! Located in the Northeastern city of Norway called Kirkenes, it’s a twenty minute drive from the Russian border, overlooking the Barents Sea. The Snowhotel offers two kinds of accommodation, The Snow Rooms and The Gamme Cabin.

Every winter, The Snowhotel is built from the ground up in a matter of weeks and, every summer, as the snow begins to melt, it disappears once again, like a frigid dream. An ephemeral enchanting icescape that appears as if by magic every year! However it is a team of inspiring and innovative ice sculptors who create this galactic looking gallery that is a must-visit for any art and eco design enthusiast. Find out what it feels like to sleep inside one of those individually decorated ice rooms!


“breath-taking view of a frozen fjord!”


You’ll be provided with warm clothes and a sleeping bag before braving the sub-zero temperatures on an ice bed with a comfortable mattress and pillows, outfitted with reindeer pelts. The room is kept at a constant temperature of -4°C but, by comparison to the -30°C outside, it feels positively balmy. Surprisingly, you will only need to wear a thermal top and bottoms, one pair of socks and a hat – that’s all. As per the staff recommendation, the idea is to leave enough air around you in the sleeping bag, which is heated up by your body and keeps you far warmer than a big jumper would.

All set, you are ready to fall asleep admiring the beautiful lights and sculptures around you. It will certainly become the most memorable night of your life. In the morning a visit to the sauna is a must and a delicious breakfast will be served at the restaurant with a breath-taking view of a frozen fjord!

The Gamme Cabins – the alternative warm accommodation – are available all year round. The twenty charming wooden cabins were inspired by Scandinavian interior design. Inside, you’ll find luxurious touches such as under-floor heating and large windows through which you can admire the beautiful panorama. At night, turn off all the lights of your cabin and start to contemplate the sky. If you are lucky you may see the spectacular Northern Lights. Cozy chairs, covered in sheepskin rugs, are here to make it even more special! You will find big bathrooms with powerful showers, sleek wooden design details and feature walls bearing the image of the Aurora Borealis. This is definitely the most enchanting and comfy place in the middle of that Arctic scenery with the best wake-up overseeing the sunrise of that majestic mountain landscape!

The atmosphere of the hotel itself is incredible. Each part of it has its own charm. The dining huts and the cabins where you can borrow warm clothes are extremely homely. Gabba, a small and cozy cabana inspired by traditional Arctic hunting and fishing huts, is the place to come to grab a quick snack or a warm drink while warming up by the crackling fires. Thick rugs and rustic wooden furniture create a snug ambience throughout and, if you pop outside for a walk around the outdoor areas of the hotel, the magnificent natural views wherever you look add a sense of grandeur.


The atmosphere of the hotel itself is incredible!”


The romantically perched Høyloftet Restaurant is the best for a sunset view. There is usually a set menu, offering local Nordic cuisine such as fillet of reindeer, Arctic char, or king crab soup. However, if you are vegetarian or have other dietary requirements, the staff are happy to accommodate you. Breakfast is also eaten here and there’s lots to choose from; smoked fish, fruits, cereal and more. The meals here are a treat, with tasty specialties served in a traditional style, using the best of local ingredients!

The staff are incredibly friendly and amazingly helpful at all times, whether they’re showing you how to wrap up warm for your night in the snow rooms, teaching you how to drive a husky sled or helping with dietary requirements at dinner.

While there are some great facilities in the hotel itself – the sauna, where you can run straight out into the snow to cool yourself down is one highlight – the hotel borrows cross country skis, snow shoes and sleds for you to explore the splendid surroundings.

The hotel really excels in its range of activities. Animal lovers will adore meeting the 180 huskies that live on the hotel’s premises. You can not only walk up and meet huskies of all ages, including tiny puppies, you can also be whisked away on husky safaris, where you’ll learn to control the sled yourself.

There are also king crab safaris, where you’ll travel by snowmobile sledge out onto the frozen fjords to catch, cook and eat gigantic king crabs after that amazing excursion! Northern Lights adventures are another highlight. You’ll drive your own snowmobile late at night to catch sight of the awesome natural phenomenon. In the summer, there are plenty of activities too; fishing in the Barents Sea, hiking with huskies and catching king crabs.

The Snowhotel has so far been the most incredible experience of my stay in Norway. It’s a unique and unforgettable hotel that made me feel at home and makes me want to stay endlessly!

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