How Does it Feel to Stay in a Real Igloo?
This question has been in my bucket list for years – I always wanted an answer. So when I headed to Zermatt I remembered I had seen a photo of a stunning igloo hotel: the Iglu-Dorf. It has igloos in Davos Klosters, Gstaad, Kühtai, Stockhorm, Zermatt and Zugspitze. One can book it for the night, for a couple stay in the romantic suite, or just for a day visit and lunch, in non-pandemic times of course. And you know how it feels? Cold, but less cold than I thought. By the way, the temperature is always around zero.
Iconic Red Train
The trip to reach the Igloo village is already an experience in itself; the iconic red train with huge windows to enjoy the panorama, the Gornergrat Railway, is known for a peculiarity: here nobody watches his/her phone. Even the most bored tourist and the most seasoned local, at one point, has to stare out and marvel at the beautiful snow, the 4’000 peaks, and the mountain of mountains, the Matterhorn.
Allow plenty of time, for your visit: after the last train has departed, there is no way to travel anymore, so you need to go early enough and be on time. As far as the weather and the pandemic situation allow it, it is worth to spend the afternoon on the terrace. Enjoying the stunning view, a fondue , or just a drink.
Martina, my lovely guide for the day, lead me to the main entrance and made sure to step out of the way so I could open all doors myself. I tell you, the moment I was in front of each door I felt like Alice in Wonderland. A lantern was in front of most rooms. The tiny wooden doors perfectly embedded in the white walls made a light creaking noise and….wow! What a place opened in front of my eyes. There is a common area where drinks are served at arrival, an ice counter that looks like a proper bar, small tables and seats, fresh flowers in ice sculptures, beautiful lights scattered in key position to make the atmosphere magic. A corridor leads to the the rooms. The beds are rigorously on snow, but with a wooden base and a thick thermal mat. On top, sleeping bags and….chocolate – apparently sugar helps at altitude. Every room is decorated with a different snow sculpture, that this year follows the theme of fairy tales. The most luxurious rooms have a toilet; you can see them in the video below. No hot water or shower; even though this is a luxury igloo, so it has a common whirlpool with pleasantly warm water (and another private one in the suite). I had to try it. There is a small changing area, heated. I simply couldn’t believe it. After all I come from Tuscany, so getting undressed at zero temperatures isn’t my speciality. And that’s why I absolutely love it – Martina told me this is always the guests highlight, especially at night, when they dip into the bubbles watching the stars with a glass of champagne.
For more practical information, I collected some of the frequently asked questions, and their answers, from the Igloo-Dorf website. There you can check also the opening hours. See the video at the end, to get an idea of how the igloos look like.
How is the village built, and is it stable?
Year in, year out we build every igloo village from scratch in about 3,000 working hours with the help of large balloons, snow ploughs and a lot of muscle power. An igloo village simply cannot collapse in winter! Due to the special construction method it is extremely stable. During the winter, the snow becomes so hard that a snow groomer could drive over it without anything happening.