Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.
Today: Top 10 best hotels to see the Northern Lights
Also called the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are a spectacular, magical display in the night sky. They are caused by solar storms and giant flares from the sun, which send blasts of charged particles towards our planet. When these particles enter earth’s atmosphere, the glowing colors we know as the Northern Lights are the result. Witnessing the Aurora Borealis is a bucket-list experience that many travelers wait years to see, since the conditions – which depend on solar activity and clear skies – need to be perfect for this spectacular display to take place. It requires some luck to glimpse the Northern Lights in the night sky, but December through March is usually the best time to observe this elusive natural phenomenon. Here are the 10 best hotels in the world from where to watch the Northern Lights.
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10. ELIASSEN RORBUER, NORWAY
Eliassen Rorbuer is the oldest fisherman’s cottage resort in the Lofoten Islands, a stunning place with a story and a heart. Accommodations consist of traditional and modern fisherman’s cottages and sea house apartments. Experience spectacular nature, silence, midnight sun, Northern Lights, storm, breathtaking sea, fjord and mountain view of the famous Reinefjord, fishing boats and red fishermen’s cottages – the genuine Lofoten atmosphere. Some of our fishermen’s cottages were once used by fishermen from all over Norway as accommodation during the world’s biggest annual cod fishing event in Lofoten, which takes place from January to April. Most of the cottages have been renovated and the genuine character and décor of the cabins reminds guests of their original use. Guests can also sample high quality local food with Italian twist in our newly renovated restaurant Gadus.
9. TREEHOTEL, SWEDEN
Why not create a hotel that gives people a chance to experience nature amongst the tree-tops, while also providing a uniquely designed housing experience? These questions led Scandinavia’s leading architects to create Treehotel in Harads, where rooms are suspended 4-6 meters (13-20 ft) above ground with spectacular views of the Lule River valley, miles of forest and a powerful river. The Mirrorcube is the hotel’s most exciting accommodation, camouflaged by mirrored walls that reflect their surroundings. Treehotel was inspired by the film ”The Tree Lover” by Jonas Selberg Augustsen. From September to March hotel guests have the chance to watch the Northern Lights illuminate the sky above them. Summertime, the lodge enjoys daylight all night long. One thing’s for sure at the Treehotel, you’ll be inspired by your surroundings and experiences.
8. KAKSLAUTTANEN ARCTIC RESORT, FINLAND
Kakslauttanen is a 4-star resort in North Lapland which has quite rightly earned the nickname ‘Igloo Village
7. ICEHOTEL, SWEDEN
Icehotel is a world-famous hotel and an art exhibition made of ice and snow from the Torne Rover, the largest of Sweden’s four national rivers. Founded in 1989, it is reborn in a new guise every winter, in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi – 200 km (125 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. When the first snow has sprinkled the whole of Jukkasjärvi with white, artists from all over the world come together in the village to take part in creating the art exhibition of snow, ice and light that makes up Icehotel. Creating a setting for life-enriching moments, the hotel is a place to discover silence, northern lights, glistening snow-clad forests, reindeer, cloudberries, kettle coffee and much more.
6. ION ADVENTURE HOTEL, ICELAND
An abandoned inn turned boutique hotel in Iceland, Ion Adventure Hotel is where modern design meets Iceland’s incomparable natural landscape. Situated in the south-western town of Selfoss, near a national crossroad making the hotel accessible to various parts of the country, Ion is conveniently located to offer guests the best of Iceland. From the volcanic marvels of Mount Hengill to the urban sophistication of Reykjavik nearby, the unique landscape plays a pivotal role in the rich design of the hotel, which leans heavily on sustainable practices and the natural features of the island. Throughout 45 rooms, guests can expect a mellow mix of concrete chic and earthy ambiance, combined with the warm accents of locally salvaged driftwood and lava; all deftly handled by design studio Minarc.
5. THE RETREAT HOTEL AT BLUE LAGOON, ICELAND
In 2018, Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon completed a significant expansion, opening the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland. Encompassing a subterranean spa, a geothermal lagoon, a restaurant that reimagines Iceland’s culinary traditions, and a 62-suite hotel encircled by the Blue Lagoon’s mineral-rich waters, the Retreat is a place where guests can leave the world behind. Modern matte black pendant chandeliers and sleek concrete walls are juxtaposed against warm wood paneling and leather seating in the public areas. This same aesthetic carries over to the rooms, where those on the ground level with a direct view of the lagoon are decorated with blue accents while those on the 2nd floor that showcase the olive-hued moss are adorned with bits of green.
4. ARCTIC BATH, LAPLAND, SWEDEN
From the spa with its open-air bath, to the restaurant showcasing local ingredients, Arctic Bath taps into its wonderland setting. Striking cabins are modern architectural marvels that seem to hover above the ground – or water. Glass walls, floating walkways and sky-gazing decks connect the inside with the great outdoors – and take loft living to a whole new level. This is Scandinavian design at its most chic, where the elements intertwine with interiors crafted from wood, stone and ‘touch me’ textiles. Stepping out from your fire-warmed lodge could see you forest bathing, kayaking along Luleå River or exploring the wilder Storforsen Nature Reserve. And, of course, this hotel is set in Northern Lights territory. Winter brings plenty of opportunities to sled or snowmobile your way across the frozen landscape, while spring sees the midnight sun rise – along with local bears, which you can watch out for on an overnight adventure.
3. HOTEL RANGA, ICELAND
The outdoor geothermal hot tubs with volcano views. The wraparound glass windows in the gourmet restaurant. The observatory – and resident astronomers – for star spotting and Northern Lights hunting. Every inch of Hotel Rangá celebrates its awe-inspiring setting. Whether you visit during the Northern Lights or when wildflowers are springing up, a genuinely warm welcome awaits at this one-of-a-kind boutique hotel. The retreat is a cross between a hunting lodge and (palatial) log cabin. There’s a lounge and bar for hot chocolates or hot toddies. While the games room, with its stag horn ‘chandelier’, pool table and puzzles, is all set up for cosy (or competitive) nights in. The property offers a dizzying array of activities at your feet: from snowmobiling to super jeep safaris, dog-sledding to horse riding, caving to fishing.
2. ARCTIC TREEHOUSE HOTEL, FINLAND
Located in Rovaniemi, in Finnish Lapland, the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel is one of the planet’s most luxurious spots from where to observe the northern lights. The property provides a unique blend of luxury comfort in the heart of Arctic nature, local Lappish traditions and modern Scandinavian design. Accommodations range from the cosy, nest-like Arctic TreeHouse Suites and the Arctic GlassHouses with their own private sauna to the luxurious ArcticScene Executive Suites sit in their own tranquil location on a steep wooded hill slope. In contrast to the meticulously designed accommodation and nest-like cosiness, the panoramic views from the windows provide impressive spectacles of the forest and Arctic skies: the Northern Lights (winter) and Midnight Sun (summer) can be admired from the comfort of your bed. The lodg’s excellent restaurant serves culinary delights prepared in stylish surroundings using Arctic ingredients.
1. SHELDON CHALET, ALASKA, USA
Sheldon Chalet is an all-inclusive experience like nothing else in Alaska or the world. Prior to Sheldon Chalet the only way to experience an overnight in the wilderness of Denali National Park was to be a climber, sleeping in a tent, eating freeze dried food and battling the elements. The 5 bedroom chalet offers a majestic setting, pure luxury sleeping on plush bedding, gourmet dining, and relaxing saunas with some of the most dramatic vistas in the Alaska Range. A stay at Sheldon Chalet does not come cheap – rates start around $75,000 USD per four guests for three nights – but the upscale experience includes an inbound and outbound helicopter flightseeing tour from Talkeetna or Anchorage, all food prepared by a world-class chef, use of adventure apparel & gear, guided exploration and adventure in the mile Don Sheldon Amphitheater.
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