Many would shiver at the thought of staying in a hotel made completely out of ice, but not me! While doing research for one of my trips to Norway I checked out Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel and immediately decided that I needed to stay overnight here!
Ice hotels and igloos offer a unique experience, allowing you to feel like you are part of nature and can be a fun way to add to your winter adventures in the north!
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Arriving at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
The surrounding area of Sorrisniva is situated on the banks of the Alta river, offering a beautiful backdrop for such a unique experience. We learned that the name Sorrisniva is actually a fishing zone which is divided into Upper Sorrisniva and Lower Sorrisniva. It is located on the famous Alta fly-fishing river.
When we arrived at Sorrisniva we were greeted by a friendly staff who welcomed us and immediately gave us a tour of the lodge and adjacent igloo hotel. We placed our luggage in the storage room where it would be held for the entirety of our stay. It is necessary to keep your luggage inside the main lodge as it would freeze inside the igloo hotel!
Then we headed out back to check out our accommodation for the night. The igloo hotel melts and is rebuilt every winter with different sculptures and themes so that it never looks the same as the years prior.
Construction takes approximately 6-8 weeks to complete and includes 28 regular rooms and 2 honeymoon suites. Each bed is made entirely out of ice and then slightly hollowed out where a mattress is placed and then covered in reindeer-hide to provide comfort and warmth.
Inside the Rooms at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
The inside of Sorrisniva igloo hotel boasts elaborate ice sculptures and wall reliefs that are incredibly impressive. We were lucky enough to meet one of the artists who shared with us some of the processes that are involved in creating the temporary masterpieces. The igloo hotel also has a bar (mainly there for the tourists who pop in on their cruise excursion) and a chapel for those brave enough to weather the cold climate to perform their nuptials. The temperature inside the igloo hotel remains a constant -4 to -7°C (19-25°F) which does become quite cold after a while! Afterwards, we were given a quick tour of the facilities which included his and her open bay shower rooms (make sure you pack a bathing suit to avoid an awkward shower) and a unisex sauna. There is also a jacuzzi out back that can be reserved for an additional fee (250 NOK per person for 45 min). While we waited for the hotel’s restaurant to open, we enjoyed complimentary hot tea and coffee by the fire place in the lodge’s spacious living area.
The Restaurant at Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
Inside the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel you will find the cozy Restaurant Laksestua. We immediately felt the warmth from the large fire in the center of the room and the delightful smells of the freshly prepared cuisines. Dinner here was by far the best meal we had on our entire trip.
Prior to our main courses we were served three small tapas which included carpaccio of halibut with pomegranate seeds, blue mushroom soup with Jerusalem artichokes, and scrambled egg wrapped in smoked reindeer heart. For our mains we chose the Reindeer filet and Norwegian Haddock.
After dinner we packed up our cameras, tripods and flashlight and headed across the street to the iced over Alta river in hopes of spotting the Aurora Borealis. Even though the skies were clear we were unlucky in spotting the Northern Lights on that particular night, so by midnight we decided to pack it in and retire for the evening. We retreated to our room in our long johns and scarves. We grabbed two large, thermal sleeping bags (keeps you warm down to -30°C) and an extra blanket each.
How to Get to Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta, Norway
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is located 15 km outside of the small town of Alta in Northern Norway. To get there from Tromsø we flew SAS airlines directly into Alta early Tuesday morning; about a 30 minute flight. Upon arrival we hopped in a taxi (100 NOK) which dropped us off at Rica Hotel where they were gracious enough to allow us to store our luggage for the day.
Sorrisniva arranged for a shuttle bus to pick us up outside the Rica Hotel at 16:00 which took us directly to the ice hotel. Unfortunately, the only way to return to the airport is by taxi which ran us about 610 NOK the following morning.
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