Next April, the North Pole Igloos Hotel will open, allowing guests to spend the night in one of ten heated domes. The igloos will only be available for a short time since April is the only month of the year that adventurers can safely travel to the North Pole. The destination, which can be reached by helicopter, only attracts a thousand people a year.
According to Janne Honkanen, founder of Luxury Action, which offers upscale, personalized travel experiences in Finland, Lapland and other Nordic countries, there are also igloos available at the glaciers at Svalbard – the archipelago midway between Norway and the North Pole - at other times of the year.
The heated igloos, which have been tested in extreme Arctic weather conditions, feature a glass ceiling roof and wall that enables guests to fully enjoy the surrounding nature as well as experience the Northern Lights. "Depending on weather conditions, we move the heated glass igloos to the safest places around the Arctic glaciers," says Honkanen, who also runs the five-star private wilderness Octola. "The North Pole Igloos hotel is movable and sustainable, but still a little extreme."
The igloo hotel, located on the isolated Arctic tundra, starts at $52,792 per person for a three-night stay. The North Pole option, which starts at $104,484 per person, includes two nights at Svalbard, a remote town between Norway and the North Pole, a round trip flight to the North Pole, a night at the North Pole in the igloo hotel, and camp manager, arctic wilderness guide, chef and security services. The igloos are themselves are designed to be portable just in case the weather turns.
During the day, guests can enjoy sightseeing tours around a glacier, interact with indigenous communities who live in the polar regions and arctic scientists working nearby, and experience sightings of seals, polar bears, and other wildlife.
Some experts have warned about the impact that travel to the Arctic can have on the environment. "I think it's a very interesting opportunity, but I hope someone who has that kind of money would also be willing to be responsible to carbon offset a trip like this, which would have a massive carbon footprint," says Shannon Stowell, CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association.
Honkanen, however, says that his company shares the concerns for the environment and climate change, noting that the hotel and its carbon footprint will be completely removed at the end of each season. He also believes that guests can help educate others on the need to preserve the Arctic as well as its animals and nature.