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Reviewed December 23, 2011

We stayed at the Kirkenes Snowhotel on Tuesday 20th December, opening night for 2011-2012 season. This was the highlight of our short holiday where we spent 2 nights on the Hurtigruten boat from Tromso to Kirkenes before rounding off our trip at the Snowhotel.

The location is very convenient, only 5 minutes away from Kirkenes town by bus, plus of course Kirkenes is the turnaround point for the Hurtigruten boat. On the down side, the hotel is only 100m or so from the road out of town. There isn't traffic noise at night, but if you want to watch the Northern Lights then the street lights do detract from the overall effect and it does not feel like a wilderness experience.

That said, the point of being at the Snowhotel is the sleeping experience and in that respect the hotel is very atmospheric and memorable. All the staff are friendly, relaxed and enthusiastic; indeed many of them helped to build the rooms you are going to be staying in!

On arrival you are treated to a welcome drink in the ice bar and an explanation of how to prepare for bed before heading off to choose your room. Each room is unique, although many of the rooms share a common theme and it's an enjoyable dilemma trying to finalize where you will spend the night.

The 3 course evening meal is simple, but tasty. There is a convivial atmosphere in the wood cabin where you eat and it's a good chance to get to know some of the other guests.

We spent a while outside watching the (faint) Northern Lights before turning in about midnight. I slept well enough, the sleeping bags are warm and the mattresses are comfortable, but the room lighting is kept on all night which can be slightly off-putting. My solution was to snuggle down in the sleeping bag and pull my hat further down over my head!

In the morning there was time for breakfast and a quick shower in the shared bathroom before saying goodbye to the reindeer and the huskies in the grounds.

Overall, a truly unique and unforgettable winter experience, although sadly one that may not be possible in 30 years or so, do it while you can!

Room tip: All down to personal taste, each room has it's own carvings in the snow.
Date of stay: December 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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4  Thank mh71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2011

The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is a must-do for any traveler! Not only do they offer wonderful excursions from the hotel, including husky sleigh rides, King Crab Safari and a visit with the reindeers, they also fetch you from your hotel in Kirkenes. If the conditions are good you also stand an excellent chance of seeing the Northern Lights - one of the few places in the world where your chances are very good.

The staff are extremely friendly and helpful and the hotel is beautiful, full of ice sculptures and magical features. Although the rooms are gorgeous and differently themed each year (also different to each other), I found the sleeping arrangements quite uncomfortable.

Maybe that's just me, other visitors claimed to have been toasty inside their sleeping bag in the -5 degrees that the hotel temperature is regulated at. Also be prepared that the toilets are outside - so if you need to go in the night, you need to get dressed, run outside, come back and try and warm up again. Not great.

But all n all a wonderful experience. The Gabba restaurant served delicious food - loved the reindeer sausages that we cooked ourselves!. A definite must-do!

Date of stay: January 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Marilouisee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2011

You really must visit this beautiful place even if you don't stay here. I have just come back from a wonderful week's cruise on a Hurtigruten ship (the Trollfjord), from Bergen to Kirkenes. The highlight of the trip came at the end of our cruise when we visited this hotel.

Not only is the hotel in a stunning location but it’s the home to 81 husky dogs. I had always wanted to ride on a husky pullled sled. The day we were there was the brightest, sunniest day and, with the temperature at minus 20, it was ideal for the dogs. The landscape was a snowy picture-perfect paradise. We were out for a couple of hours on the sleds and stopped halfway to have a lovely hot fruit drink and take in the dogs and surroundings as the sun set, turning everything pink for the second part of the ride.

All the staff at the hotel and with the dogs were incredibly friendly and made us feel we were special and not just another group of tourists. Camilla, who was leading the party that day has a wonderful sunny personality, and she and all the other staff really made a difference to our experience. I spent a while with the dogs and they are clearly well treated and are friendly and trusting. You can give them as much fuss as you want and the staff were happy to chat about the dogs.

The hotel has a large bar/reception area and 2 corridors with 20 rooms in total. The lighting in the hotel sets everything off perfectly. When you visit the hotel to stay, or just for a tour, you get to see all the rooms. Each room has an individual theme and I was delighted to find that we were going to stay in the husky room...the ice bed was carved like a sled and howling huskies were carved into the walls. I love glass sculptures and this place was full of gigantic, beautiful ice sculptures which were so clear they looked like glass. The wall murals are snow sculptures.

We stayed overnight which added to the experience. This gave us a chance to have dinner in the Gabba restaurant next door... a lovely round wooden cabin that seats 40 around a huge open fire. We ate yummy reindeer sausages in potato pancakes followed by a delicious fish dish and then a creamy, fruity pudding. After that we had time to take some walks around the hotel grounds which are set on the side of a big frozen lake with snow -covered trees all around the edge. We watched the Northern lights before visiting the dogs who were having their last meal after an evening sled ride. Then it was time to warm up in the lounge cabin where you can help yourself to tea and coffee. Don't drink too much though as you do NOT want to have to get up in the night! About midnight we followed the instructions carefully and got ready for bed. I actually had hot feet as the sleeping bags are so warm despite the hotel being kept at minus 5 degrees. I had a very small sleeping bag which I felt constricted in and this hampered my sleep but if I had taken a large one like my husband then I would have slept as well as he did. The hotel provides extra clothing and the sleeping bags....all top quality equipment. Take an eye mask if you don't like the light on at night as the lights do not turn off. Having said that, they are low enough not to bother most people and it was much better than being in the dark. The rooms are incredibly quiet considering they have just a curtain and no door. We were up at 7am ready for breakfast followed by a visit to the 3 resident reindeer and the dogs one more time.We then returned in the bus to the Arctic Hotel in Kirkenes which is a couple of Km's away. Here we could have sauna and showers before travelling on.

Visit the fjords of Norway if you get a chance and especially top it off by visiting this lovely hotel and town.

Date of stay: February 2011
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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12  Thank PPDoha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date of stay: November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 weeks ago
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Date of stay: November 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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