The year is going fast and the weather is getting colder, which means the winter months are approaching. Though sometimes it just wants to make you escape the cold and go to a country where you don’t have to worry about dressing up warm, winter also brings a lot of beauty and magic, especially in some places.
In Europe, we are blessed with a lot of countries that have gorgeous landscapes that make the winter worthwhile. Snow-capped mountains, woods full of pine trees and skies that turn purple during the Northern Light season. Although it might be cold outside, coming home after a day in the snow in one of these unique accommodations makes this season so much better. Maybe you will even see Santa’s sleigh come by in one of these places…
Hotel Union Øye, Norway
Embraced by impressive mountains and surrounded by trees, this romantic building was built in 1891. Located in the Sunnmøre Alps and at the end of the Norangsfjord (considered by Norwegians as the most beautiful one), it is like a little piece of Scandinavian paradise.
When you enter the hotel it feels as if you have entered a fairytale. The warm interior is made as historical as possible, which makes it almost seem like a museum. Every room has its own design, some with views of the beautiful mountains, and all decorated with hand-picked furniture and accessories. The hotel keeps the rooms that aren’t occupied open, so you can have a look at what the different interiors look like.
The area is great for hikes and kayaking trips. If you go on one, the hotel will even pack a lunch for you!
Hotel Ještěd, Czech Republic
On top of Mount Ještěd a hotel is located in a very interesting building: a television tower. The tower is 94 metres high and the hotel is situated in the lower part of the building. Hotel Ještěd’s rooms look futuristic: the simple interior brightens up because of the big windows on the slanted wall that give an amazing view of the valley. The shape of the rooms makes it seem as if you are in a spaceship, especially being so high up in the sky.
Curious about what the rooms look like? Check it out here!
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland
Have you ever wondered what it is like to sleep in an igloo? The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland has got you covered. At this resort, you can stay in one of the igloos with a glass roof, where you can look at the twinkling stars while lying in bed at night. Can you imagine how magical this must be during the Northern Lights season?
Besides igloos with glass roofs, there are also cabins available that still have an igloo at the end of the cabin. But apart from these accommodations, there are also regular cabins, a wedding chamber, a Finish traditional house, real igloos and more available (of which some even have a sauna!).
Want to take a peek into what the rooms look like and this amazing property in the Finnish wilderness? Click here and explore the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort!
San Luis Retreat Hotel and Lodges, Italy
This resort is located in the middle of the woods in the Italian Alps. The traditional wooden lodges can’t do anything else than make you feel completely zen. Each chalet has a fireplace, a terrace with a breathtaking panoramic view and a sauna, of which some have a hot tub on the terrace.
At night the lights of the cabins reflect in the water of the lake that the cabins surround. Apart from the lodges with luxurious interiors, there is a cosy restaurant and a swimming pool with a view of the mountains. What else do you need?
Eco-Bivouac Village d'igloos d'Annecy-Semnoz, France
Whether it is summer or winter, staying the night at Eco-Bivouac Village is an experience that you won’t forget easily. In the middle of the woods, there are a bunch of ecological accommodations situated, of which some are igloos and some tents with transparent roofs, perfect if you want to stargaze before you fall asleep! The coolest thing about the accommodations is that they are self-sufficient in energy.
Guests that stay here usually have dinner together which is prepared by the restaurant owner. Grill marshmallows at night around the campfire while drinking some glühwein before falling asleep under the stars.
Adare Manor, Ireland
Adare Manor stands out between the mediaeval ruins, gardens and winding pathways that surround it. Built-in neo-Gothic style, this house dates back to 1700 and was once a seat of the Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl. Today you can (luxuriously) stay the night here and feel like a king or queen yourself, while sleeping in one of the Georgian-style rooms, playing golf, relaxing in the spa or participating in one of the other many activities that are available on the estate.
There aren’t just facilities on the terrain such as a golf course, a spa and archery, but there are enough options when it comes to fine dining as well, for instance, the Michelin-starred Oak Room restaurant. Outside of the resort, there is a traditional village with charming cottages, boutiques, cosy pubs and antique shops.
Whitepod Eco-Luxury hotel, Switzerland
The Whitepod Hotel manages to combine luxury and sustainability in a heavenly location, with igloo-shaped pods. This hotel doesn’t only offer unique accommodations, it also won an award for being eco-conscious: their pods are designed to run as much on renewable energy as possible while impacting the environment as little as possible. Don’t we need more of these?
For winter sports lovers, they have private ski slopes and a lift, and their sauna and on-site restaurant all contribute to that cosy, luxurious Alp-feeling. The fifteen pods all face the Alps, so no matter which one you stay in, you will wake up with a stunning view of the mountains.
Want to check out the stunning suites and what the igloo-shaped pods look like? Explore this magnificent place here.
Having a treehouse is almost every child’s dream. At the Treehotel, as the name already gives away, you can stay the night in one! Stay in the Mirrorcube, a treehouse covered in mirrors that reflects its surroundings, the Bird’s Nest, the UFO, or in one of the other cabins.
From September to March you might even be able to catch the Northern Lights here too!
The hotel is located in a beautiful area, which you can explore by booking one of the activities that Treehotel offers. Go on a hike in nature, get to know the Swedish village Harads, visit a husky home, do some forest yoga, listen to Lars who is a reindeer herder (and a great storyteller), who will tell you about Sami culture, or book one of the other many activities. Take a step inside the Treehotel and discover its wonders here.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, England
At the beautiful Lake District is where old and new come together at the Gilpin Hotel & Lake House. At the Gilpin Hotel, you can stay in one of the 28 hotel rooms, in one of the six Garden Suites that are all accommodated with hot tubs or in one of the five Spa Lodges that have their own spa! A mile away from the hotel there is the Gilpin Lake House, which has its own lake, boat house, hot tubs, saunas and a swimming pool.
The Gilpin has two restaurants: HRiSHi with a Michelin star and Gilpin Spice, serving tapas-style dishes inspired by the Indian, Thai, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian and Filipino cuisine. Because the hotel is run by a family, it gives it a warm, friendly atmosphere.
Les Fermes de Marie, France
A 10-minute walk from Megève the Les Fermes de Marie is located. While it is cold outside, step into this hotel with its snow-covered roof and smell the firewood. This hotel has rooms, suites as well as chalets, and they made them extremely comfy. Soft and fluffy chairs and sofas, wooden furniture and walls and beds with clean linen.
There are two restaurants, of which one serves refined Savoyard cuisine with dishes such as organic eggs with chestnuts, Beaufort cheese ravioli with local ham and wilde cepes and black truffle pasta. At the other restaurant, L’Alpage, you can eat some cheese fondue while watching the snow-capped mountains. Want to experience this cosy retreat? Explore more of this classic alpine escape here.
“The Huts” Manshausen Island, Norway
The Huts at Manshausen Island were opened in 2015 and have four modern cabins, designed by architect Snorre Stinessen, located at the water. Besides the four cabins, there is the main house for meals and other shared communal areas.
The beautiful, quiet area makes you want to explore. Luckily the island provides equipment for this, so you can go kayaking, trekking, fishing, diving or rock climbing. After participating in one of these activities, you can relax in one of the hot tubs, sauna or saltwater pool.
With the glass part of the cabins located on the water’s edge, this is another great place to watch the Northern Lights.
Killiehuntly Farmhouse & Cottage, Scotland
On a 4000-acre estate, in the middle of the Scottish Highlands, this charming restored farmhouse is located. The farmhouse, which dates back to the 1850s, as well as the cottages are beautifully designed, with a warm Scottish atmosphere combined with a Scandinavian interior.
With four bedrooms in the farmhouse, it is catered, which means you will receive a homemade breakfast, afternoon tea and biscuits during the day, and in the evening a three-course dinner. Killiehuntly is still a working farm, which means fresh products from the garden and greenhouse!
The house has space for ten people, so you can rent it with a group or with family. If your family or group isn't that big but you still want to stay in this cosy farmhouse, an alternative is staying on a non-exclusive basis and sharing the house with like-minded individuals.
If you would rather cook yourself, you can rent one of the cottages that have a fully equipped kitchen.
Deplar Farm, Iceland
When you wake up in Deplar Farm and look out of the window, you will feel as if you, the hotel staff and the other hotel guests must be the only people in the world. The converted sheep farm is surrounded by fields and mountains, and there are no other accommodations for miles: it doesn’t get any more off-the-grid than this.
The grass that beautifully grows on top of the roof makes the farm blend in with its surroundings, which you can explore during the day by hiking or kayaking. At Deplar Farm there are also plenty of ways to relax, for instance in one of the geothermal springs, the spa or in the indoor or outdoor pool. At night there is a classic bar where bands perform and where you can play ping pong.
Last but certainly not least, the Icehotel in Sweden. This hotel is not like your usual holiday accommodation. It is made entirely from ice and snow: there is even an ice bar and frozen art.
But most importantly: the rooms. The temperature of the rooms is kept between -5 and -8 degrees Celsius, to keep the ice intact. In the room, you will find beautiful ice art and even the bed is made of ice! Obviously, there is a thick mattress, so you won’t notice anything, and to keep you warm the hotel provides thermal sleeping bags. After sleeping in an ice-cold room, you can warm up in the sauna.
If you’d skip sleeping in the Icehotel but are still really curious, you can book a tour and view this unique hotel from the inside. To take a sneak peek of this frozen palace, explore the rooms here.