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“Great 4 day trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ice Hotel Romania

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Ice Hotel Romania
Balea Lac | Fagaras mountains, Fagaras, Romania (Formerly Balea Lac Ice Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Fagaras
Largs
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Great 4 day trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

And now for something completely different. Travelling independently from Scotland proved surprisingly simple, a combination of Easyjet and Wizz Air et voila you arrive at Transilania Airport without too much fuss. If you can, avoid Bucharest, we concentrated on Brasov and Sibiu some of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns. Not only is the spectacular Dracula's castle closeby but the IceHotel at over 2000m in the Carpathian mountains is a real must. Getting there is half the fun. The cable car jostles above the Transfăgărăşan highway (voted best road in the world to drive by Top Gear recently) - a magnificent feat of engineering (the road not the cable car which to be honest looks like an oversized Kinder egg).
Even in a white out with high winds and all the activities cancelled (missed out on ice skating on the frozen lake and snowmobiling, made do with local glühwein instead ;)) this was truly a memorable experience. There is a chalet hotel nearby to re-fuel, make a pit stop and have a hot shower because the IceHotel is rustic in every sense of the word. You will have to wear your snow gear to visit and even sleep here, plan your wardrobe carefully (bring your woolies!). Even getting from the Chalet to the Hotel was a bit of a military expedition by the time all the gear was put back on. Our themed room was Candy Land which had two large ice cream cones above the bed and bizzarely an owl to watch over us as we slept. The clues in the description but the hotel is freezing so make sure every extremity is covered. I will never forget waking up in the morning and seeing the first rays of light through the translucent blue ice, that and not being able to feel my nose.
Overall a great experience made all the better by the attentive and welcoming staff and one day hopefully I'll be back in the summer to drive that road.....

Room Tip: If you are travelleing independently of a tour company get there early as you'll get first choic...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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113 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Cramlington, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

We arrived in Bucharest on Good Friday (UK only so it turns out, Easter this year in Romania is in May) and were met at the airport by our transfer who delivered us to Cristina (our guide) at the Rembrant Hotel (an excellent choice of hotel with very pleasant and helpful staff). The next morning we were collected, as promised, after breakfast and taken to Peles Castle for a tour. Our children were a little bored by this but good naturedly completed the tour. We then moved onto Rasnov fortress, much more to our enjoyment as it was outside and the weather was fantastic and we were left to explore this ourselves. There is a train to take the less mobile up to the fortress. The afternoon, evening and overnight were spent in Brasov - a beautiful town/city well worth a visit (Hotel Bella Musika).
Our next day was a trip to Bran Castle - fabled home to Dracula, before travelling on to the Ice Hotel. We had booked the tunnel trek and sledging which filled a lot of time in before eating our evening meal in the Ice Hotel. As there were 5 of us we wondered about our sleeping arrangements but we were asked if we would like adjoining rooms for 4 of us and given a double for the 5th. This suited us well and we all enjoyed the experience of sleeping in the Ice Hotel, despite a continuous drip from the doorway between the adjoining rooms. TIP: put more layers under you than over the top. Also useful to keep your gloves in your boots overnight as it prevents your boots getting damp. The sleeping bags are of the mummy type which I hate so had to sleep with mine unzipped all night and my husband who has quite wide shoulders had similar problems as one size does not fit all. Other than this minor niggle it was a great trip and all of us enjoyed it thoroughly.
After the night in the Ice Hotel we returned to Bucharest via Sibiu and spent our last night back at the Rembrant. The whole trip was superbly organised and our guide deserves a special mention as she went way and beyond what could have been expected of her.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

We stayed here at the end of March after purchasing a groupon travel deal with Untravelled Paths. Usually we would not book with a tour company, preferring to travel independently, but were very happy with the decision to travel via tour for this trip. Arriving at the mountain we were escorted by cable car up to the top, where we would stay for the next two nights. There is a short walk from the cable car to the cabana (through ice and deep snow, so I would not recommend bringing a huge bag unless you can carry it whilst also balancing on the ice!) The views were incredible, so the short walk is more than bearable even with luggage - it's half the fun to skid everywhere! Once at the cabana we were promptly given keys for our room by the friendly staff there and were told, if we wanted, we were able to stay there for both nights if we decided we no longer wanted to stay in the ice hotel. The room here was adequate, with ensuite bathroom, lovely warm shower, a comfortable bed and THE most amazing view of the mountains. Perfect. The only negative was our room wasn't particularly clean...the beds were made but the bathroom was left in a bit of a state from the previous guests. This didn't bother us to begin with as at first it was merely a place to store our bags whilst we explored and then stayed the night in the ice hotel, but I would have expected the room to be cleaned the next day when we were staying the night there and it wasn't.

This aside, we could not have been happier with what lay ahead. As soon as we arrived at the cabana, we were told which room we would be staying in in the Ice Hotel and my friend and I were allocated 'Candy Land.' Amazing! Our room was full of intricate carvings (including an owl, ice cream, candy canes, and a huge head (?!)), with a double bed and lights around the edges. There is only a curtain to seperate you from the main room (where we also ate dinner that night - an experience - and had drinks at the ice hotel bar) so I would have thought the noise from other guests would have woken us up the next day but it's surprising how sound proof our little ice cave was! We were told that when we were ready to go to bed that night, to let any one of the workers know and they would get our sleeping bags ready for us, bringing them to our room so we didn't have to drag them through the snow. We wrapped up warm - I had a thermal vest, a long sleeved top, a t-shirt, a big jumper and the provided sleeping bag - and tried to get a good nights sleep in th unusual surroundings. Despite getting used to wearing so much clothing to bed and the odd realisation that you are sleeping on a big block of ice (albeit with wood slabs, mattresses, fur and blankets in between you) I actually managed to get quite a good nights sleep. The only negative is the toilet is located outside in the cable car station, and I didn't fancy treking through two foot of snow at 5am to use it...plan in advance!

It was definately a great experience and one to cross of the 'things-to-do' list so I would definately suggest going. Bring a book though, or something else to amuse yourself, because if you're stuck in a snow storm/blizzard/just get plain sick of the cold, there's really not much else to do apart from eat/drink in the restaurant (cheap food and cheap beer! One particularly very friendly waitress as well, who was always smiling and giving great service).

At the end of our trip, we were given clear instructions when to meet to get transported to the other side of the mountain via cable car the next day and had no trouble getting across. However, after taking the cable car back to 'the other side', we were greeted by probably about a hundred people trying to catch the cable car up to the top of the mountain so felt lucky we hadn't had to queue at all for it! Others weren't so lucky!

If booking with Untravelled Paths, especially with the groupon voucher, make sure you also book the shuttle bus back to Sibiu with them (it's not included in the deal) as I'm not sure how you would get back otherwise. It's pretty isolated. I'm glad to have stayed there but think it was more of a once-in-a-life-time experience then somewhere we would return too. Geat fun though!

Room Tip: Our room was further in the ice hotel, away from the main entrance, and we didn't really have an...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

Having been in Sibiu before, we just couldn't stay away! Working in guest services in tourism myself, it's difficult to find professional, accurate, and absolutely fantastic impeccable services such as we've found with the folks at Secret Transylvania and I can only give them my absolute highest recommendation. Been here before for a ladies only vacation and needed to show hubby. As Di & Jez suggest, the Ice Hotel is of course an absolute must! Have already re-booked to come back in June....so looking forward to seeing a Transylvanian summer this time.

Room Tip: I've been in all of the locations Di & Jez have and can recommend them all. Just tell your h...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here in March. We puchased a groupon deal in conjunction with Untravelled Paths. I am sure this holiday could be undertaken independantly but having a designated driver who knew where he was going (Marion- great chap btw) made life much easier and relaxing.

We had some trouble getting to the ice hotel as the weather was poor, and riding the cable car when it was very windy was hair raising to say the least!

The Ice Hotel and restuarant were fantastic. All the rooms are different. As we arrived late due to he poor weather we were allocated rooms but normally i believe guests can choose their room. For a tip, rooms further into the hotel are warmer. A guest we were with was very cold but she had a room by the opening of the hotel whereas I had a room by the bar. It was cold but if you wear sutable clothing it is very easier to sleep. I wore fleece trousers, thermal vest, micro fleece, fleece top and fleece socks, a hat and i was toasty warm. i didn't need to wear gloves or a scarf to sleep in.

Toilets are quite far from theice hotel and as we were in a blizzard I didnt want to venture outside. Go to the toilet before you go to bed.

Other than the ice walk we couldn't participate in the other activities as we were in a white out. The walk was fun but its pretty tiring walking through many feet of snow and i like hiking so was surprised i found it so tough.

The cabana hotel is extremely hot! I was tryng to pack light and didn't bring any t-shirts and had to wear my thermal vest as a t-shirt because I was roasting. Guests will also smoke a lot in the Cabana. The resort is quite cheap but I found breakfast pretty poor and expensive. If you don't like eggs the selection of food is very limited. Dinner was fine though and reasonable given the hotels could get away with charging a lot due to the remote location. In general, romania is very cheap.

All in I had a great time in the ice hotel and if we had been luckier with the weather I think there is more to do he than the scandinavian ice hotels. It is definately worth doing this and Romania in general was fascinating.

Room Tip: choose a room furthest away from the entrance
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

We were indendant travellers to the ice hotel and found the experience an easy adventure.We booked flights with wizz air,hired a car and booked the hotel with booking.com.We found that everything ran very smoothly and saved quite a bit of money and we didnt have some tour guide following us around.
The hotel its self is fantasic and we managed to stay the whole night there,but it was quite cold.On arrival they give you two rooms one of which is in the warm hotel.If you were to change your mind though the other hotel is locked overnight,so you wont be able to get in.However they do supply you with warm sleeping bags.The ice tunnel was a bit of a disappointment,its very slippery but has a good view the other side.
All in all we found this hotel fantastic for the price,something to experience once in your life and were able to take some amazing photos whilst we were there.

Room Tip: there is a choice of rooms with themes.They are first come first served,but they are all fairly good...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

Earlier this year my wife suggested she fancied a stay in an Ice Hotel - this did come as somewhat of a surprise, as generally a sunbed is her first choice! We booked through "Secret Transylvania" who had everything so well organised. They drove us up the lower section of the "Top Gear Road" and they knew what time we should arrive at the Cable Car to avoid delays, and when to arrive to get first choice of the rooms (great personal service). Once the rooms were picked, we had lunch at the Cabana (provided as part of the all-inclusive deal with Secret Transylvania). We had a room in the Cabana hotel (where our guide was sleeping that night) where we could store our stuff (as ice hotel rooms are open to all in the days) and some of our group took a rest in the afternoon, while others had a drink in the bar. There are optional activities (sledging, snowmobiling etc). One thing most people do is walk through the Top Gear road tunnel (only accessible as a road in the summer). It is a small trek, which isn't easy in deep snow, but that's all part of it. On our day unfortunately the cloud cover prevented us seeing the amazing view out the other side of the tunnel, but you can never guarantee the weather! The evening meal in the Ice Hotel is the only extra to pay, but was well worth the experience, and there is a bar too. Back to the Cabana to warm up a little before the night in the ice hotel rooms. You are provided with a good sleeping bag each, and once inside you are warm enough (honestly)! Each room has just a curtain doorway and is themed, eg Mystery, Carousel, etc with Ice carvings and pretty lights. Only snag is if you need the loo in the night... you have to walk outside to the cable-car station - in reality 50 yards or so - but in our case a 30-minute round trip as between one and two foot of fresh snow had fallen, which can be hard to trudge though. Breakfast back at the Cabana before catching the Cable Car back down (all arranged like clockwork by Secret Transylvania again). Glad we were in a Land Rover for the trip as there was now over a foot of snow at the lower end of the cable car too! A Once In A Lifetime Experience - glad we did it, really enjoyed it, but probably not the sort of thing to do over and over again for me.

Room Tip: Rooms are allocated on a first come first served basis - get there early to pick yours - you have to...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ice Hotel Romania

Address: Balea Lac | Fagaras mountains, Fagaras, Romania (Formerly Balea Lac Ice Hotel)
Location: Romania > Transylvania > Central Romania > Brasov County > Fagaras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Fagaras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Faragas Mountains provide a perfect backdrop for the Balea Lac Ice Hotel. Its remote location, at over 2000m is reached only by cable car making it an exclusive 10 room hotel. Set amidst breathtaking scenery, the Ice Hotel is rebuilt every year and the views and silent nights make a visit to the Ice Hotel a must. The stunning Ice Church is a short walk away. Activities: Sledging, snow mobile, skiing. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ice Hotel Romania Fagaras

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