Jon Snow once said: “Let the South have its sun, flowers and affectations. We Northerners have home.”
And you can get a brief taste of that home at HBO Nordic’s new collab with SnowVillage in Lapland, Finland, a pop-up hotel 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle built from a reported 33 million pounds of snow.
The SnowVillage is an annual event (this is the 17th year), but this is the first year it’s embraced the obvious Game of Thrones tie-in — including, yes, a life-sized Iron Throne on the premises.
Amenities? Quite a few. An Ice Bar with ice glasses (drinks served “on the rocks”). An Ice Chapel to get married in (just like she’s always imagined!). Immaculate carvings of cheery old Thrones favorites like the Braavosi Hall of Faces and a glowing-eyed White Walker.
Bundle up: The temp inside hovers around 23 Fahrenheit, so prepare for one heroic night in a sleeping bag or a (warmer) teepee or log cabin nearby.
Tired of the GoT gimmick? There are also several ski resorts nearby.
And if you’re looking for other accommodations this winter that offer something more memorable than a free breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express, here are a few other spots where the rooms alone are worth a visit:
- The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden gets an artistic touch this year, with 36 artists from 17 countries carving up the 35 suites (highlight: a reindeer-hide covered bed clasped to King Kong’s bosom.)
- In the same Lapland area that the SnowVillage resides, you’ll find the Levin Iglut Golden Crown, a family-owned business that gives guests the chance to take in the area’s scenic winter landscape from the comforts of a luxury, glass-ceilinged igloo.
- Sweden’s Treehotel features multiple, uniquely themed adult treehouses, from a UFO to mirrorcubes to a giant bird nest.
- Leaving the Nordic region, the Palazzo Odescalchi in Rome is a 17th-century private palace designed by Vatican artists that was recently converted into a rental. It’s like living in a museum.
- If you’re looking for a safari that gets really up close and personal, the Giraffe Manor Nairobi features a herd of giraffes actually living on the property (and they’ll stick their necks through your window to beg for snacks).
- Hidden within a forest reserve, the volcano-like Huilo Huilo Magic Mountain Chile hotel has a waterfall running down it. Located near natural hot springs, lakes and the real Mocho Choshuenco volcano.
- At the Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita in southern Italy, luxury hotel rooms are carved into the volcanic hillsides, and some of the caves date back to Paleolithic times