“Superb - if chilly - igloo hotel at 2,700m in Zermatt, with an ice-cool bar, snowshoeing and toasty alfresco Jacuzzis”
The rooms at Iglu-Dorf range from Standard Igloos (dorm-style sleeping for up to 6 guests), through to Romantic Igloos (just for 2) and Romantic Plus Igloos (just for 2, with your own indoor loo), and the lavish Romantic Suite, which comes complete with its own loo, sitting area and private Jacuzzi with obligatory view of the Matterhorn.
The rooms to go for are the Romantic Plus Igloos, and it’s best to avoid the Standard Igloos unless you’re travelling solo or booking one exclusively for a group of 4-6 people. If you’re travelling with kids, the Family Igloos have plenty of space and offer good value (sleep 2 adults and up to 4 children).
Most of the rooms, apart from the Standard and Family Igloos, have huge ice carvings cut into their walls; when we visited there were lots of Greek gods and scantily clad women, but the theme changes each year. All rooms have their own electricity in the form of a small lamp. The corridor linking them is lined with artworks sunken into the snowy walls and frozen in ice - these range from arty bottles of vodka to small carvings. Apart from this, decoration is basic. Plump Arctic sleeping bags lie on top of ice plinths covered with faux-fur throws and sheepskin rugs and, well, that’s it really.
There are no showers and running water is very limited. Those staying in the Standard, Romantic and Family Igloos also don't have an ensuite. Instead, there’s a shared unisex toilet block just across the outdoor lounge area, where the bar is during the day. It’s a bit of a walk but the loos flush and are perfectly clean, plus the block is heated and has 2 sinks. If this sounds a little too much like hard work, the Romantic Plus Igloos and Romantic Suite all have private ensuite loos.
Given that this is an igloo village, set in splendid isolation at 2,727m in the middle of a mountain, it's a wonder that food is on offer at all. But it is, if only rather basic options. The evening meal is a simple but delicious cheese fondue followed by chocolate brownies. You can eat as much as you like of either, although we challenge anyone to eat vast quantities of cheese fondue. An aperitif plate of cheese, garlic sausage, dried fruit and rye bread with a glass of Prosecco is also available at any time of day, and is included in some room rates.
There's an Igloo Bar which serves an impressive array of drinks, from flavoured vodkas to schnapps (recommended after the fondue), local white wine and beer, as well as an outdoor bar for daytime socialising. Alcoholic drinks cost extra (bring cash) but are fairly priced, and draw in lots of day visitors from the piste. There is also a tea bar which you can help yourself to all evening, stocked with a variety of herbal teas and powdered stock to make a light soup.
Breakfast is served at Hotel Riffelhaus after your night’s stay in the igloo village. It consists of fresh pastries, croissants, fruit, yoghurts, and a selection of hot options including eggs, bacon and sausages - perfect for warming up after a night on ice.
A stay here is an activity in itself, but there are a few options to help keep you warm and the blood pumping:
There is nothing specially set up for children, but little ones might really enjoy the experience of sleeping in an igloo. There is no age limit - it is up to parents whether they want to bring really small children - but we wouldn't recommend bring children under 5 years old (see our 'Families Should Know' section).
The Family Igloo is the best bet. It can only be booked by families and is suitable for 2 adults and up to 4 children, though bear in mind this room does not have an ensuite loo. Sleeping bags can be zipped together for exchanging body warmth.
The igloo village has no running water and no showers, plus most rooms do not have ensuite toilets. Its temperature is kept at around 0 degrees, and the mountainside setting means it's not easy to leave if your children are cold or aren't sleeping well.
In the event of a medical incident, rescue transportation may take some time due to the exposed location and possible weather issues; no rescue transportation will be provided for minor injuries.