A Castle of Cold
A little while back we told you about a wonderful ice museum and ice bar. Well, it appears that this is not the only place to go if you are looking for a little chill in your accommodations. Since 1996, a castle of snow has been built every year in Kemi, Finland, and within that castle are a SnowRestaurant, a SnowChapel, and a SnowHotel.
The SnowCastle is different every year. It has covered from 13,000 to more than 20,000 square meters, and its towers have been over 20 meters high. In some years, the structure has had three storeys — although I don't know how comfortable I'd feel on the third storey of a building made of ice!
Within the castle, Mammut SnowHotel has dozens of rooms available, including a honeymoon suite (for newlywed polar bears, perhaps). One year, architect Luca Roncoroni designed a separate two-story tower next to the main hotel, in which was an upper room with a balcony that overlooked the frozen Gulf of Bothnia. Temperatures in the hotel reach down to -5ºC at night, so be sure to bring warm pajamas!
The SnowHotel is a true work of art. The rooms are decorated by art students from the University of Lapland and Kemi Art School, and the building features innovative and creative lighting and sound effect installations. The hotel always features the work of ice sculptor Mauri Markkanen, and art from other creators is showcased throughout the hotel. And artists are invited to show their talents at the annual ice-sculpting competition held within the SnowCastle's walls and sponsored by the Blue Ice Art Company.
While staying at the SnowHotel, you might want to take a meal at the SnowRestaurant, where the tables are made of ice and the seats covered in reindeer fur. But don't worry, the food is one of the few things in the SnowCastle that isn't made of ice!