Release | nobu Kawashima
Accommodation experience in “Ice Hotel” Hoshino Resorts Tomamu!
The wall, the floor, the table, the chairs, and the beds are all made of ice! That is the “Ice Hotel” appears in “Hoshino Resorts Tomamu” during winter. How do we sleep? What should I wear? Will I not get sick? How is the bathroom? I stayed a night there to solve all questions! I hope this article helps those people who are thinking of staying in the Ice Hotel.
What is Ice Hotel?“Ice Hotel” is a hotel built inside “Ice Village”, which is a magical town made of ice appears only during winter at “Hoshino Resorts Tomamu”. This is an accommodation in an ice town to enjoy coldness, which Tomamu can provide because of the harsh natural environment with temperatures sometimes minus 30 degrees.
▲Ice Village is available from approximately mid-December to mid-March in evening and night. (Depends on the weather)
In Ice Village, you can experience various things related to ice, and the hotel appears from January to February, which is the coldest time of the year. Those who enter Ice Village can visit and see the Ice Hotel during opening hours, but only one group (up to two people and over elementary school children) can stay per night. Which means, staying overnight at this hotel is an extremely rare opportunity.
▲The table, the chairs, and even the glasses we hold are made of ice! The hotel is very quiet and unusual. (The photo is provided by Hoshino Resorts Tomamu)
I was excited to experience this magical atmosphere but at the same time very worried about coldness and if I can sleep or not. I headed to the hotel with lots of expectations and anxiety.
First is checking-inStaying a night in Ice Hotel requires a reservation to one of “Hoshino Resorts Tomamu” hotels; “Tomamu The Tower” or “Risonare Tomamu”, just in case for bad weather. First, you will check-in to one of the hotels you have reserved.
You can use the reservation meaningfully, such as, leave the luggage and go skiing, go out for dinner, user the shower, etc.
▲“I will overcome the coldness!” I told myself and went to Ice Village with my luggage, where the Ice Hotel is located.
I checked in to Ice Hotel at “Nuku Nuku House” in Ice Village at 10:00 PM. “Nuku Nuku House” is as the name depicts, a warm room. This is used as a rest house during the day to warm visitors.
▲The staff welcomed me with a not welcome drink but a cup of welcome stew. The white cream stew had plenty of ingredients in it. I regret the amount I ate at the dinner buffet…
There are three facilities you can use during the accommodation experience. “Ice Hotel” where you sleep is about 1-2 minutes walk from Nuku Nuku House, “Arctic Bath” built next to the Ice Hotel, and “Ice Lounge”. The bathroom with a heater is built next to Nuku Nuku House, and you can use it all night. Of course, it is a flushing toilet, they have toilet papers, and you can wash your hands.
▲Listening to the staff’s descriptions such as precautions.
The thing surprised me was that after all the explanations, staffs leave and I could use the whole Ice Village just by myself. If an emergency happens, staffs will come right away by calling the number written on the description paper. That makes me relieved!
▲“Our guests enjoy chartering the place” I got more excited from the staff’s words!
This is an extremely rare experience to charter the big ice town. I should spend a fun time!
After listening to everything, I walked to the Ice Hotel.
Ice Hotel is like thisThe staff explained about the facility thoroughly at first.
When I opened the door and entered the room, space was big, white and shining! I felt like I traveled to the future with a time machine!
▲The dome-shaped guest room is 8.5 meters diameter and made of one single ice without any joints.
The day I visited was minus 7 degrees which is rather a warm night for winter Tomamu.
When I entered the room, not sure if it was because the ice protected from winds, I felt warmer than I expected even without any heaters. Although, it was probably below zero. Because every furniture made of ice like table and chairs seemed pretty firm and not melting at all…
▲The chairs and the table made of ice. They have fluffy carpets and cushions, so I felt a lot less cold.
There was an ice bench with blankets, ice bed in the center, two ice chairs and one ice table with cushions, and ice table with a pot containing hot water, green tea, and snacks. There was also a pair of boots which do not slip on the ice, instead of slippers.
▲There was a double bed made of ice in the center. They put a mattress and many cushions and blankets made of Ezo deerskin.
▲It seemed very fluffy, and I dove into the bed!
▲They provide sleeping bags which can stand up to minus 30 degrees for each guest. You sleep in this sleeping bag.
▲It was very fluffy!
▲I felt like I was covered completely with a down comforter! I feel like I can sleep if I have this sleeping bag.
I found the light switch and two plugs near the desk with snacks. It is great that we can charge our phones, etc., even in this environment!
After explanations from the staff, it was only us until the next morning.
The Arctic Bath is made of ice except for the bathtub!First, I went to the Arctic Bath.
▲This is the Arctic Bath. It is made of snow and ice except for the bathtub! (The photo is provided by Hoshino Resorts Tomamu)
The dressing room is a small building for overnight guests. You can get away from ice here. The dressing is heated, and it was very warm.
▲They provide towels, rental bathing suits, bathrobes, special pajamas, and coats.
You are required to wear bathing suits when getting in. Change to the bathing suits, wear the coat and let’s go outside.
Take off the coat by the side of the bathtub and get in!
▲It’s so warm! My body got very warm, and I did not want to get out of the bath.
After warming enough, take off the bathing suits in the dressing room, wear the bathrobe and visit the Ice Lounge.
Enjoy all-you-can-drink whiskeys on an ice chair under the sky full of starsThe Ice Lounge offers a whiskey cellar with ice chairs, and you can drink different Japanese whiskeys as much as you want! This is a special privilege for guests who stay overnight at Ice Hotel.
▲Two relaxing chairs made of ice. They also prepare carpets and blankets. The Ice Whiskey Cellar is at the back.
It was too cold when I was wearing only the bathrobe, so I changed my clothes; wore special pajamas and came back. The special pajamas were overall, and we could wear this on our clothes.
▲I look really fat… but it was fluffy and warm. I am wearing the boots prepared in the room.
The Whiskey Cellar had few ice glasses, straws, and honey infused ice cubes. Put your favorite whiskey into ice glass, add some honey infused ice cubes and compared tastes! You can put your mouth to the ice glass, but it is cold, so I suggest using straws.
▲I sat on the ice chair with the ice glass containing whiskey, I looked up and noticed the starry skies!
How romantic this is!
The outside temperature must have been way below zero but did not feel much coldness. I don’t know if it was because of the bath or gown or alcohol or unusual situation like this.
After enjoying drinks and skies outside, I took my whiskey glass to inside and prepared to sleep.
What should I wear when I sleep?▲Enjoying different whiskeys before going to bed!
▲Since they have plugs, I can even get the work done here! However, my fingers went numb with cold after 20 minutes typing without gloves…
I should get ready for bed.
One of the biggest questions was what I should wear when sleeping. Many people tend to wear too much because they worry the coldness, but the staff told me that the sleeping bag protects from coldness very well, so some people get too sweaty in the morning by wearing too much.
I put two layers of socks, tights, sweatpants, and ski pants for bottoms, warm long sleeve shirt, and thick hoodie and got into the sleeping bag.
▲See you in the morning!
I felt a little cold right after when I got into the sleeping bag, but it got warm soon from my body temperature! It was actually very warm! I fell in asleep instantly.
Special morning coffee with small snacks for people who participated in accommodation experienceWhen I woke up, I was in a dome made of ice. It was a very strange situation.
Thanks to the thick sleeping bag, I was sweating only a little bit when I woke up. Maybe it was okay to wear less, but I could sleep very well until the morning, so it was just right for me.
It was really cold when I got out from the sleeping bag and touched to the air under zero degrees! I missed the warm sleeping bag but wore my down jackets and neck warmer.
▲I used the hot water in the pot prepared in the room and made a morning tea after changing my clothes.
The check-out time for Ice Hotel is a bit early and is 7:00 AM. Change the clothes, bring luggage, and go back to the Nuku Nuku House you visited at first.
▲They offer morning coffee for free when you check out the Ice Hotel.
▲They also had a special snack for guest to the Ice Hotel! They don’t sell these cookies at anywhere. The cup and cookies were cute!
▲I felt fulfilled with fresh air! I wanted to take a deep breath and feel the cold air.
This is the end of chartering the Ice Village.
I left the Ice Village and got back to the guest room in the hotel. Enjoyed delicious breakfast, took a shower, and checked out the hotel. It was definitely a special night for me.
The accommodation experience in Ice Hotel is very popular since it is a rare experience only available in the severe cold environment. They accept reservations from around autumn, but they are likely to be fully booked in winter.
Those who are interested in staying Ice Hotel should plan from the summer!
If you are interested in staying the Ice Hotel, schedule your trip from the summer!
* The information and pictures in this article are as of January 2018. The plan and environment may change.
Photo / Hitoshi Miyamura, nobu Kawashima, Hoshino Resorts Tomamu
Text / Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima