No trip to the Arctic Circle would be complete without at least a night in an ice hotel. Add on the amenities of top-tier lodging, and you have the Arctic SnowHotel in Rovaniemi.
The owners make each night here a true artistic and luxury experience. Every inch of wall in the hotel features intricately hand-carved artwork, including the Viking ship snow suite we stayed in. The artistry mainly reflects aspects of traditional Finnish life, taking the viewer through a story of Finnish history. The hotel, which changes design every year as it has to be rebuilt after melting, has snow suites, snow rooms with simple sleeping arrangements, an ice bar, an ice restaurant, and a snow chapel.
The beds are actual mattresses surrounded by a bedframe of ice. Reindeer hide serves as a sheet and guests sleep in high-rated sleeping bags. Anyone unable to make it through the night in the cold room can go to the locker room, which is the only warm room in the hotel itself and has bunk beds. The main building, where reception is, has heat and a media room with a television, radio, fireplace, and outlets to charge your electronics.
All reservations include a stay in the ice hotel or neighboring glass-top igloos, a complimentary wake-up call if the northern lights are out, and a warm drink to wake you up in the morning. For an extra fee, you get dinner at one of three restaurants, a snow sauna and hot tub excursion, and a drink in the ice bar.