Step-by-Step Guide to a Night at a N(ice) Hotel Slideshow

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Chilly Check-In
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Chilly Check-In
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Guests arrive at a regular building at 9 p.m. to check in for the night, where they receive a lanyard with their room number, a key to a locker to store belongings, and a waiver to sign.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Celsius Briefing
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Celsius Briefing
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Before bunking at the ice hotel, guests must go through a 45-minute training session complete with instructions on what to wear (cotton of any kind is prohibited, as it is a plant product that absorbs humidity — the enemy when it comes to staying warm, as humidity will cause a person to actually feel colder), how to stay warm, and the proper way to get in the sleeping bag.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Have a Cold One (or Two)
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Have a Cold One (or Two)
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While the slide, chapel, and bar are open 24/7, the cocktails, craft beer, and local wine stop flowing at midnight. Drinks are served in square glasses made of ice, but for those who can’t handle the cold, Caribou, a boozy concoction of red wine, maple syrup, and hard liquor like brandy, whiskey, or vodka, is served warm in paper cups.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Shivering Slide
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Shivering Slide
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Guests with children in tow (and big kids alike) climb the icy steps to the top of the C-shaped ice slide; the indoor slide empties in front of a frozen Rock Band setup complete with working drums.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Cool and Calming Chapel
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Cool and Calming Chapel
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Complete with organ music and an altar, the chapel is actually the sight of several weddings each year but also serves as a respite from the bar and slide.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Taking the Plunge
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Taking the Plunge
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Before heading to bed, the hotel staff recommends overnight guests soak in the hot tub and dry off in a sauna. Both activities are not only soothing on a winter’s night (where temperatures frequently drop below zero), but raise guests’ body temperatures before tucking in for the night.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Nippy Nighttime
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Nippy Nighttime
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Once guests are completely dry, they stash their belongings in lockers for the night and head to their rooms, armed only with their PJs, snow boots, and jackets (and optional extra pair of socks).

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Keep Warm and Carry On
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Keep Warm and Carry On
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Once inside the room (there are no room keys here; just a curtain over each room’s entrance), guests sit on the ice queen bed, which is topped with a firm 1-inch mattress covered in animal skin, to take off their shoes, careful to not let their feet touch the icy ground, as moisture in any amount wreaks havoc on the task of staying warm inside the sleeping bag. Shoes are stacked on top of each other or one inside the other; otherwise, haphazardly placed shoes will curl up and freeze overnight.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Lights Out
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Lights Out
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Next, guests stand on the bed to strip off their clothes (sleeping nude provides optimal heating conditions, as the sleeping bag does not keep a person warm; rather, it's the heat radiating from a person’s body that keeps the sleeping bag and person warm). Those who opt to sleep with socks must change their socks from the ones worn to the room to a fresh pair, safely tucked into their pockets. A sleeping bag is then unfurled; extra clothing and jackets are stuffed into a side pocket in the sleeping bag. Any clothing left outside the sleeping bag will actually freeze overnight. Those still clutching cellphones or other items can’t simply place them on the night table, as they’ll freeze and fuse into the furnishings by morning. A light switch on the base of the bed is switched off, leaving a lone candle to provide light to the room. The candle’s purpose is actually to remove humidity from the room; it raises the temperature of the room by 2 degrees ensuring the ice hotel remains at 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Credit

Lauren Mack

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Wintery Wakeup
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Wintery Wakeup
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Those who have survived the entire night (many guests book packages that include a stay at the ice hotel and a hotel room nearby in case it’s too cold, or retreat to the hotel’s hot tubs, sauna, and Celsius pavilion), are awoken with an 8:15 a.m. wakeup call by the hotel’s staff who serve a continental breakfast before guests head off for wintery activities like dog-sledding, tobogganing, and sampling maple treats from the Sugar Shack like maple toffee pulls (maple syrup is boiled to 232 degrees Fahrenheit and poured over snow. After 20 seconds, revelers use a wooden Popsicle stick to roll the sticky maple syrup into a lollipop of sorts).

Credit

Lauren Mack