12 Icy Breaks to Take This Winter
December 14, 2012
Ice-Skating Tour (Åland Islands, Finland)
With nearly 200,000 lakes and 1,000 miles of coastline, there’s no shortage of skate-able ice in wintertime Finland. The tour skating season in Finland spans from January to April, and popular options include the Savonlinna area on the shore of Finland’s largest lake, Saimaa, and at Linnansaari National Park, 30 minutes from town. Feeling strong? Try Finland’s longest tour skating route. On opposite edges of the National Park, in both Rantasalmi and Oravi, Holiday Resort Järvisydän offers accommodations, equipment rentals, and guided tours. In Punkaharju, a village by Lake Saimaa, tourist center Harjun Portti maintains a 9-mile-long skating track, and rents out equipment as well as cottages. There’s also picturesque skating in Kuopio, whichis near Lake Kallavesi, the sight of Finland’s Ice Marathon, held this year from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23. During the 30th annual marathon, moonlight skating and children’s skating are also available, along with a café at Kuopio harbor to keep skaters refreshed through the day. But the ultimate ice-skating experience is on the Åland Islands, an autonomous cluster of Finnish islands in the Baltic Sea. In Åland, all skating takes place on sea ice, where skaters glide along the beautiful archipelago. Try the cultural tour from Kastelholm Castle to the fortress ruins in Bomarsund, for instance.
Fantasy on Ice Skating (San Diego, Calif.)
Centrally located in San Diego’s historic downtown, the Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s Fantasy on Ice Skating package includes four ice-skating tickets valid to Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice, located across the street from the hotel at Horton’s Plaza.
Rates: Starts at $129; valid until Jan. 6, 2013; mention promo code LCV.
Holidays on Ice (New York City)
Hotel Chandler’s Holidays on Ice package includes two VIP admission tickets to the Bryant Park skating rink, which include two hot chocolates, skate rentals, bag check service, and 10 percent off at Celsius restaurant at Bryant Park.
Skating Rink at Hôtel Plaza Athénée (Paris)
Paris’ Hôtel Plaza Athénée is celebrating the holidays on ice with a skating rink in the hotel’s courtyard, La Cour Jardin. Onlookers can savor pastry chefs Christophe Michalak and Jean-Marie Hiblot's annual holiday dessert selection at La Galerie des Gobelins. In the evenings Thursdays to Saturdays, the rink will be the scene of Les Bancs d'Hiver, a pop-up temporary restaurant reflective of a mountain ski resort with long wooden table seating and a seasonal menu by chef Philippe Marc. Adding to the festivities on New Year's Eve, the hotel will give guests the chance to dine on the hotel's skating rink surrounded by festive decorations. The menu is €500 ($655) per person with wine pairings.
Igloo Experience (Gstaad, Switzerland)
Gstaad Palace’s Igloo Experience is a four-night getaway that includes three nights of accommodation at Gstaad Palace and one night in an Igloo suite made of ice and snow in the Igloo Village of Saanerslochgrat. Perched higher than 6,000 feet in the Bernese Alps just 10 kilometers from Gstaad Palace, the Igloo Village of Saanerslochgrat is made entirely of snow. Guests can enjoy a bar, lounge, and restaurant in the village, as well as a warm sauna before tucking into their ice bed for the night. The igloo is kept at a constant temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The package includes daily breakfast buffet and dinner at Le Grand Restaurant and dinner at the igloo, which offers views of the Bernese Oberland.
Rates: CHF 1,560 ($1,696) per person; available Jan. 13, 2013 to Feb. 6, 2013 and March 3, 2013 to 17, 2013.
Ice Hotel (Québec, Canada)
Located 10 minutes from downtown Québec City, the Hôtel de Glace is an ice hotel that is completely rebuilt each year. With its huge snow vaults and crystalline ice sculptures, the Hôtel de Glace dazzles from Jan. 5, 2013 to March 24, 2013. The 36 rooms include regular rooms with queen-sized ice beds, as well as themed suites with carved ice sculptures and artistic ice lighting, fireplaces, and private spa. The Nordic Escape package includes a welcome cocktail served in a glass of carved ice and breakfast.
Rate: starts at CA$259 (US $263) per night.
The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan (Las Vegas)
The Cosmopolitan’s ice rink on the Boulevard Pool Deck overlooks the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel has set up an outdoor winter lounge with fire pits for roasting s’mores along with a cocktail menu that includes spiked hot chocolate and the Hot to Trot, a hot toddy with Ambhar Anejo Tequila, Amaro Meletti, lemon juice, and spiced honey. The rink is open until Jan. 20.
Chill Out (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
The W Scottsdale has transformed its rooftop pool deck into a winter wonderland complete with a 2,100-square-foot ice skating rink and wintery cocktails. Open through Jan. 6, the Chill Out package includes skate rentals, live music, and weekly ice skating performances.
Rate: Starts at $239 per night.
CHILL at Home Room (Los Angles)
Guests can skate on the W Los Angeles – Westwood’s massive ice rink and grab frosty drinks at The Ice Bar or chill in the skate-up cabanas. Saturday ice-skating shows and an hourly snowfall daily add to the ambience. On Sundays, Sweet Lucie's Organic Ice Cream is served rinkside. The CHILL Room Packages includes two daily CHILL admission tickets, two ice bar cocktails, $50 gift card to Z Gallerie, and a Bliss Mammoth Minty Soap Bar.
Rates: Start at $299 per night; valid through Jan. 3, 2013.
Pop-Up Winter Chalets (Geneva, Switzerland)
On the shores of a wintry Lake Geneva, La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa is in the winter spirit with a private ice rink and pop-up winter chalets. The hotel's pop-up chalets (open until February) add to the property’s 85 bedrooms and 17 suites. Guests can choose from five restaurants to indulge at during ice-skating breaks.
Rate: Starts at $405 per night.
Picturesque Ice Pirouettes (Lausanne, Switzerland)
The Beau-Rivage Palace’s annual ice rink is open until Jan. 31. Guests can practice their ice-skating spins with an instructor Dec. 26 and Dec. 30 and, after working up an appetite, dine at the hotel’s restaurants.
Rates: Starts at CHF540 ($587) per night.
Chill Out in Beverly Hills (Beverly Hills, Calif.)
Chill out at the Thompson Beverly Hills with its Beverly Hills Ice Package. The wintery package includes accommodation, two ICE Martinis at Above Beverly Hills, two tickets to the Beverly Hills Winter Ice Skating Rink in front of City Hall, and a complimentary upgrade, based on availability. End the night dining at the recently renovated Caulfield's, which features a redesigned menu by new chef Stephen Kalt.
Rate: Starts at $239 per night; valid through Jan. 4, 2013; mention code: BHICE.