The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is a spellbinding wonder of mother nature, and these arctic resorts offer a front row seat to this spectacular show
BY AMANDA MCCOY
BEST FOR PRIVACY
ARCTIC TREEHOUSE HOTEL /FINLAND
Smothered in wooden shingles, the suites here are set on stilts and hidden within the trees, resembling snow covered pine cones in the arctic forest. And that’s exactly what founders Ilkka Länkinen and Katja Ikäheimo Länkinen intended: to create a whimsical fairytale oasis in the woods, inspired by childhood play with pine cone cows. In each treehouse, the bed is positioned directly in front of the window wall, so pictures of snowcapped pines and dancing Auroras are possible without ever leaving the room or bed, for that matter. Upgraded accommodations include the two bedroom arctic glass house (pictured to the right), equipped with a wood burning replace, massive lounge area, and private indoor sauna, and the “ArcticScene” executive suite, a chic treetop penthouse with a deep soaking tub, scenery sauna (with a window overlooking the forest), and outdoor deck with replace.
In addition to hunting the Lights, the resort offers several private Nordic experiences like reindeer and husky safaris, ice floating, snowmobile excursions, and trips to a local protected wildlife park with more than 50 indigenous species, including lynx, gray wolf, polar bears, snowy owls, and more.
Average weekend rates in February start at $800 per night. arctictreehousehotel.com
BEST FOR WELLNESS
ARCTIC BATH/ SWEDEN
The centerpiece of this holistic design hotel high in Swedish Lapland is the floating bath a circular structure on the Lule River that resembles a bird’s nest, inviting intrepid travelers to challenge their comfort zones in an icy open air bath under the stars. The chilly dip, coupled with sauna bathing, is a long established ritual in Nordic culture, dating back to the 13th century, and is believed to offer a myriad of health benefits potentially easing sore muscles, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system. The Arctic Bath houses three different saunas and a hydrotherapy hot tub to accompany the ice bath, and the resort offers a complimentary arctic spa ritual kit with each stay, including a body peel, facial mask, foot treatment, face cream, and a dry brush.
The accommodations are all freestanding cabins, perched on stilts over the land or water, and crafted of natural, sustainable materials like wood, stone, leather, and luxurious textiles. Cozy amenities include private outdoor decks, heated floors, spa bars (in addition to the minibar), and massive floor to ceiling windows to watch the ribboning Lights. The signature Scandinavian restaurant was designed around the resort’s wellness ethos and serves traditional Nordic cuisine from head chef David Staff, culling meats, berries, and herbs from the surrounding wilderness.
Average suite rates in February start at $950 per night.arcticbath.se
BEST FOR LUXURY
LEVIN IGLUT /FINLAND
On an elevated plain in Finnish Lapland, 1 05 miles north of the Arctic Circle, twinkling glass igloos rise from the bright white snow. Here, guests are welcomed with a glass of Moët & Chandon before getting whisked away to their private igloo fantasy: lavishly equipped all glass structures that o er uninterrupted views of the Nordic sky. The suites span nearly 600 square feet and include a kitchenette, glamorous spa bathroom with fluffy robes, and a cozy lounge area with dining table and sofa chairs. An open air terrace with a Jacuzzi is another suite perk, ergo the most pressing decision of the day is choosing where to watch the swirling Auroras from bed or private hot tub?
The resort’s largest accommodation, the Northern Lights House, is a wilderness cabin meets Palace of Versailles with two themed en suite bedrooms, one outfitted in 18thcentury baroque décor and the other in traditional pine paneling. A massive living room is flanked by an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows and features a curved ceiling dotted with fiber optic lights. The house also includes an outdoor hot tub, full kitchen with eating area, and an oversized sauna with a wall mounted refrigerator. And to ensure guests don’t miss out on the chance to sleep under a glass dome, packages for the Northern Lights House include one night in an igloo.
Average suite rates in February start at $1,700 per night. leviniglut.net
BEST FOR ADVENTURE
NORTH POLE IGLOOS /THE NORTH POLE
Welcome to the world’s northernmost hotel, an exclusive once in a lifetime experience that invites bold adventurers to journey where very few have gone before: the North Pole. Founded by Janne Honkanen, the movable hotel concept helicopters guests to the frozen center of the Arctic Ocean to sleep in heated glass igloos in the true glacial wild. Because of the extreme weather conditions, the experience is only available for the month of April; only 1,000 people annually make the trek.
The package begins with a two night stay in Svalbard the halfway point between Norway and the Pole before a two hour helicopter ride transports guests to the tip top of the globe for an overnight on glacial ice. Each igloo features a glass ceiling and wall (plus a private bathroom), and since the Northern Lights are still active during the month of April and there is not a speck of light pollution, chances of catching the Auroras lighting up the night sky are high. And while the trip certainly isn’t cheap (be prepared for a six figure price tag), we anticipate sleeping on a glacier at the farthest ends of the Earth will instantly make you the most interesting person at any party.
$105,000 per three night stay. northpoleigloos.com