Icy Hot Spots
The Coolest Winter Wonderlands
From charming ski towns and ice hotels to the coldest bar in London, we've rounded up the best spots for wintry fun. These icy hot spots are so cool that you'll never miss the summer sun.
It's always cool in London's chilly Absolut Icebar where temperatures hover around the mid-20s Fahrenheit. Every 6 months, the bar and decor are sculpted from crystal-clear ice imported from Sweden's Torne River. Bar staff provides each guest with a designer cape and gloves to keep warm while sipping icy cold cocktails. Reservations are necessary for a 40-minute session at the bar.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
The Bachelor Gulch Ritz Carlton is nestled in the Rocky Mountains in tony Beaver Creek. This ski-in and ski-out resort offers the best of winter luxury with 5 fine dining venues including Wolfgang Puck's Spago and the rustic Anderson's Cabin, which is set in the woods. After a day on the slopes, guests rest their bones at the spa, relaxing in the heated whirlpool grotto or soaking in a giant copper claw-foot tub.
There's no better way to experience winter than with a stay at Sweden's famed ICEHOTEL located in a remote town about 200 miles north of the Arctic circle. Hotel staff members meet guests at the airport in a snow mobile or dogsled to embark on an icy adventure. Every year, the hotel is carved out of ice with architectural flairs like cathedral ceilings and accessories like icicle chandeliers. The fanciest rooms are the Art Suites, which allow guests to sleep like a snow queen on a bed of ice covered by reindeer skins.
Jet-setters head to Chamonix Mont Blanc for chills and thrills with some of the best winter fun in the Alps. While most visitors come for the skiing, the dog sledding is one of the area's best-kept secrets. Huskydalen takes novices on sledding trips deep into the mountains to explore the woods and visit old villages that seem to be straight out of a fairytale.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is best-known for its wild backcountry skiing where daredevils can make fresh tracks through untouched terrain. Located in the Grand Tetons, this easily accessible resort town maintains a small-town friendliness coupled with quiet luxury. The Four Seasons Resort is close to the gondola and offers luxe accommodations, a spa and a gourmet s'mores bar.
Iceland's popular geothermal pool is naturally heated by volcanic lava flow to temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These aquamarine waters aren't just pretty to look at -- many swear by the water's therapeutic nature, thanks to the high content of silica and sulfur. If floating in the azure pool isn't relaxing enough, there are in-water massages and spa treatments at the clinic.
You don't need to be a champion skier to enjoy Aspen's many riches. There are 4 mountains packed with trails for skiers of all levels, from meandering runs perfect for beginners to the elite Aspen Highlands. And if you prefer to stay off the slopes, the town offers high-end shopping, ritzy restaurants and the private Caribou Club where insiders schmooze and dine on local specialties like cherry-wood-smoked elk tenderloin.
All aboard for a panoramic journey through the Alps aboard Switzerland's famed Glacier Express. Since 1930, this dramatic train ride has been shuttling passengers from St. Moritz to Zermatt. Along the way, the train encounters 291 bridges and 91 tunnels as it reaches its pinnacle at 6,670 feet. Pampered riders can enjoy a glass of wine, served in a spill-proof glass, while watching the peaks and glaciers roll by.
Cartier Polo Tournament
St. Moritz, Switzerland
A little snow isn't going to stop polo enthusiasts from enjoying their favorite pastime. Each year, Europe's elite gather in St. Moritz to watch top players compete over 4 days for the exclusive Cartier Cup. The battlefield is St. Moritz's frozen lake where steady horses gallop across the snow and icy landscape. Each team is sponsored by one of the masters of luxury including Maybach, Cartier, Julius Baer and Brioni.
Park City, Utah
Utah's Park City strikes the perfect balance of resort chic and laidback cool. This small ski town, complete with a bustling Main Street, has become the perfect setting for skiing and schmoozing with Hollywood's A-listers. Each year, 50,000 leading men, starlets and movie buffs descend on the town for Robert Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival. After dodging the crowded cafes and clubs on Main Street, Deer Valley Resort is the place to get your skis on. Staff limits the number of skiers on the slope so the trails are well-groomed and wide open for fun.
Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is straight from a wintry fairytale with picturesque snow-capped mountains. Perched atop a hill overlooking the St. Lawrence River, Chateau Frontenac is the castle in this fairytale. Little girls can indulge their princess fantasies and adults can tempt their palette with top-notch food and an extensive martini bar. Every year, these charming turrets offer the perfect vantage point to take in the wild shenanigans at Red Bull's Crashed Ice, an adventure competition that combines skiing, hockey and roller derby.