You don’t need to head to Iceland or Alaska to stay at igloos anymore. The world has anyway opened to the possibility of incorporating these unique ice homes into luxury hotels and resorts. Sweden’s Icehotel, Romania’s Balea Lake Icehotel, Norway’s Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Switzerland’s White pod Eco-Luxury hotel and Finland’s Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos are some of them.
Back home in India, we have Manali’s Keylinga's Igloo Stay. Located in the mountains in Hamta/Sethan Valley, which is around 18 km from Manali, the Igloo Camp is about 200 m away from the road head. This trek in the snow takes around 20 mins. During snow time, the Igloo camp is accessible only by 4 x 4 vehicles or by trekking which normally takes 3-4 hours from Mall Road, Manali.
There are three igloos available to occupy, with the three more under construction by January. Though Manali’s temperature currently vacillates between 3 to 7 degrees during the day and -4 at nights, the igloo has been kept at zero Celsius. In January it will again go down to minus 9 degrees. The igloos are 8 x 9-foot-wide and 6.5 feet in height and are made from blocks of compressed snow. Since the Igloos are smaller in size, one needs to sit and go inside. There will be a box to keep your clothes and bags, bed light and enough space to fit in 3 people comfortably.
The visitors will be provided sanitised sleeping bags, mattresses, and blankets and if that doesn’t make you happy you can even bring those along with you. They also play movies in an open area with projectors as entertainment for guests.
There are no washrooms inside igloos, though common washrooms are available outside with sufficient hot water. There is a dining area, kitchen area with fireplace and a separate dining area with fireplace. The washrooms are inside a tent-like structure. Inside the bathroom, there is a washbasin and a drum filled with water.
This place is not for budget travellers and has 3 different packages starting from Rs 5000 to Rs 18000 per person inclusive of all 3 meals, snow clothes, boots, skiing, sledging and tube ride activities. Accommodation is on a twin sharing basis. Transport charges from Manali Mall road to Igloo Site and back will cost you additional charges.
Make sure you are equipped with enough woollens, sun hat/ cap, thermals to wear inside ski clothes, waterproof gloves, thick woollen socks, sunglasses, sunscreen, and medicines. The igloos are only available till March. For booking visit www.keylinga.com