Every year the Austrian alps call to millions of skiers around the world. Its largest ski resort, SkiWelt, is a complex of interconnected villages and has more than 150 miles of ski runs and around 90 lifts. There are many options for lodging in and around the resort, but only one place offers unique overnight experiences surrounded by walls of ice. Alpeniglu is an igloo Village in the Brixental Valley where visitors to the area can spend their nights warming up in huts made of ice and snow.
The igloos of Alpeniglu are constructed every year by hand, creating a wonderland of ice that is also a work of art. You can stay in the village even if you are not skiing at SkiWelt, but it is convenient to the slopes if you are. From the Hochbrixen station, it is an 8-minute gondola ride to reach the igloos. There are only a handful of suites at Alpeniglu, which means that guests can enjoy a quiet stay with few distractions. Guests are treated to an ice-sculpture lesson where they can carve their own creations, a nightly torch walk, and breakfast at a nearby restaurant is included in the stay.
How do you stay warm in an ice hotel? Temperatures inside the suites will range from about -7 to 0 degrees Celsius (19-32 degrees Fahrenheit), regardless of outside temperatures. While that might not sound very toasty, the rooms of Alpeniglu have sleeping bags atop snow-proof mattresses and fur blankets. Guests will need to pack for staying warm and comfortable in bed as well as on the slope. Thermal underwear, wool socks, a soft hat, and a fleece jacket (for layering) are all recommended.
You do not have to be an overnight guest at Alpeniglu to experience its magic. The hotel also features an exhibit of ice sculptures called Ice Land, which is open for anyone to tour. The sculptors are given a unique theme each year, so Ice Land will look quite different if you visit one year and return the next. Skiers can stop by Alpeniglu and grab a drink at the ice bar. Here you can enjoy your cocktail in a glass made of ice, while sitting on an ice chair at a bar made of – you guessed it – ice. For a fun night out or romantic date, book an Igloo Magic Evening, where you can combine drinks at the ice bar and a private tour of Ice Land. You will also get to carve an ice sculpture before enjoying a fondue dinner, then conclude the night with a torch hike and bonfire.
Alpeniglu is worth a visit if you are going to be skiing in the area, even if you do not book an igloo stay. Those who want the overnight adventure should know that overnight stays are only available on Thursday through Sunday, and there are only a few igloos available for lodging. So book early, grab your warmest clothes, and head to the Austrian alps for a hotel stay like you’ve never imagined.