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“Our Honest Opinion”
Review of Ice Hotel Romania

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Ice Hotel Romania
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Fagaras
Certificate of Excellence
Kent
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Our Honest Opinion”
Reviewed 11 April 2013

We spent a week in Transylvania from the 10th March 2013. We booked the whole stay with 'Jez & Di at Secret Transylvania' including the Ice Hotel package and having read Victoria Rodon’s review, I’m so glad we did. Since our return, we have heard many stories of people being dropped off at the cable car at the bottom of the mountain and left with no instructions or guidance. With Secret Transylvania, they don’t do that!
Jez drove the 3 of us from their accommodation in Cisnadioara, to the bottom of the mountain where the cable car is located for the Ice Hotel, and after a short wait we were in the cable car with Jez as our guide for our whole Ice Hotel stay. When we arrived at the top, there was no confusion. Jez showed us where everything was located, then took us to the main Cabana hotel/restaurant where the hotel owners greeted him and us warmly. We had requested to stay our night in the Ice Hotel itself and have dinner there. This had been pre-booked by Di and a room is booked at the Cabana hotel for Jez (at no extra cost to guests) for his stay, plus it enables their guests to have a base. You can store your bags, shower or just chill out, if you so wish. So, with bags stored securely, we all had lunch in the Cabana restaurant, which was lovely. Then, on with the tour. Jez showed us all around the Ice hotel, Igloo’s and the Ice church. You can’t help but be impressed by this beautiful, amazing and magical setting. Ice sculptures dotted around and every bedroom has a different theme. I think it was at this point we were told nobody else would be staying in the Ice Hotel that night. We then had the option for the Tunnel trek (this is free). Jez took us through, giving info and facts along the way. When you exit the tunnel, you are greeted with amazing views and stunning mountain backdrops. We all made our way back through the tunnel and stopped at a small cabana for a hot chocolate. After which, Jez supplied us each with a sledge (again, free of charge). He left us to re-discover our youth and old injuries. When we were all knackered, we headed back to the Cabana hotel for a few drinks and a well deserved rest. Jez escorted us over to the Ice Hotel, where we would be served dinner shortly. Again, he left us to it and advised anything we needed, just come over and find him. The meal was fantastic. We had great wine at such reasonable prices and beers for a £1. After our meal, we picked our Ice Hotel bedrooms for the night and met up with Jez back at the Cabana hotel bar. Later in the evening, we were advised our rooms were ready. So, we grabbed extra drinks from the bar, bid everybody goodnight and wondered over to the Ice Hotel. At night, it is lit up beautifully and one of those great moments when you think 'wow'. We carried on enjoying ourselves till late o'clock. Climbed into our arctic rated sleeping bags in the small hours and had a great night’s sleep.
The next morning was beautiful and bright. Good opportunity for photos. We had a lovely breakfast in the Cabana restaurant. Settled our food and drinks bill from the night before with the hotel owners and made our way to the cable car for our trip down at 10 o’clock. What a fantastic experience.

To sum up, all 3 of us have travelled extensively independently, so don’t need our hands held. But having Jez from Secret Transylvania as our tour guide, interpreter, support and backup, meant we could just sit back and enjoy the whole Ice Hotel experience, without that feeling of “what do we do now” or “where do we go”.
Don’t miss out on this place, it’s a gem and with Secret Transylvania, its hassle free.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank MickeyClyde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
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English first
Houston, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
95 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2013

Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The Ice hotel is not much more than a 15 foot tall mound of snow that has been tunneled out in the center with rooms adjoining either side of the main tunnel. Christmas lights have been imbedded in the ice on the ceiling and in the rooms for light along with fluorescent beer signs. This would be impressive if the neighborhood children made it, but a "hotel" it is not. We stayed at the Ice Cave as we now call it in early April. It was cold but very wet. All the ice seats were melting and wet to sit on. The bed was indeed a slab of wet ice with a musty 4" mattress on top, covered by a mangy small piece of fur, then topped with a thick felt blanket. We were given the professional type sleeping bags that look like coffins with a hole for your face.
The entire experience was unorganized with little guidance from the hosts who appeared to be in their teens or early 20's. We were advised by Untraveled Paths to arrive at the site of the cable car lift at 1pm which we did. When we reached the top, the cable car doors were opened and we were on our own with no guidance as to where to go or what to do. We followed a snow path marked with hula hoops buried in the snow to the "chalet" which has a restaurant on the first floor. We passed some cave like areas on our way up to the chalet (about the length of a football field) but no direction or signs were posted as to what they were. We asked at the restaurant (we were still lugging our backpacks) how to check into our room. We were directed back out to one of the cave structures where a girl told us to choose a room. We chose our room but were not able to go into it until 8pm that night so that visitors could look at all the rooms..surprise number one. Apparently you are allowed to just visit the ice hotel, see the rooms and the bar area and ride back down on the cable car for just the price of the cable ride (25 lei). Had we known this we likely would have opted just to visit. That would be my recommendation for anyone interested in the "Ice Hotel". Surprise number two: all guests spending the night in the ice cave are allowed to use one room in the chalet to shower and store their luggage/backpacks etc. There is only one key and you must take turns using the room. You may be sharing with up to 20 people and all your belongings are in the room unprotected. You must leave your belongings because they will get wet in the ice bedroom. You may not sleep in the shared chalet room. Surprise number three: there is nothing to do until bedtime except eat and drink. There was no direction for ski rental, or any other snow activity. We considered cutting our losses and going back down the mountain to find a hotel for the night. Which reminds me of surprise number four: we paid Untraveled Paths for the round trip cable car ride and the room but had to pay 50 lei each way because there was no voucher or proof that we had paid...the man at the cable car station "didn't understand".
We did stay the entire night, awoke early, anxious to leave and....surprise..... found the chalet still locked at 7am. We went to the cable car station where it was warm and there was a sofa where we spent an hour until the employees arrived at the chalet. We were informed then that there would be no trip down until 10 am. We ate breakfast in the restaurant where an extremely rude young woman was aggravated that I wanted my bacon cooked instead of served raw...yes, cold and raw (slanina)
Overall... a big disappointment and very boring after the first hour.

Room Tip: All rooms are open to the main hall with only a curtain for privacy. Supposedly rooms closer to the...
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
8 Thank Victoria_Rodon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Luton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2013

We stayed here at the beginning of March. The hotel is linked with another chalet so if you feel the cold too much you don't have to stay overnight in the ice hotel (they lock their doors at around 23.00 though!) Unfortunately the ice hotel does not have any toilets the nearest ones are at the cable car a 2-5 mins walk (depending on how you walk in the snow). The bed is made out of ice, with a crate & mattress on top. You are also provided with a mummy sleeping bag which keeps you fairly warm. Each room in the ice hotel has a different theme & are beautifully carved. The hotel also has an ice church next to the igloos which is just beautiful. You can upgrade to an individual igloo but personally I found the hotel rooms to be nicer. If you are going to have the dinner, the vegetarian option is nicer. The food is brought over from the chalet & there is only one waitress so be patient! Overall an amazing experience.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kirby19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Largs
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2013

And now for something completely different. Travelling independently from Scotland proved surprisingly simple, a combination of Easyjet and Wizz Air et voila you arrive at Transilania Airport without too much fuss. If you can, avoid Bucharest, we concentrated on Brasov and Sibiu some of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns. Not only is the spectacular Dracula's castle closeby but the IceHotel at over 2000m in the Carpathian mountains is a real must. Getting there is half the fun. The cable car jostles above the Transfăgărăşan highway (voted best road in the world to drive by Top Gear recently) - a magnificent feat of engineering (the road not the cable car which to be honest looks like an oversized Kinder egg).
Even in a white out with high winds and all the activities cancelled (missed out on ice skating on the frozen lake and snowmobiling, made do with local glühwein instead ;)) this was truly a memorable experience. There is a chalet hotel nearby to re-fuel, make a pit stop and have a hot shower because the IceHotel is rustic in every sense of the word. You will have to wear your snow gear to visit and even sleep here, plan your wardrobe carefully (bring your woolies!). Even getting from the Chalet to the Hotel was a bit of a military expedition by the time all the gear was put back on. Our themed room was Candy Land which had two large ice cream cones above the bed and bizzarely an owl to watch over us as we slept. The clues in the description but the hotel is freezing so make sure every extremity is covered. I will never forget waking up in the morning and seeing the first rays of light through the translucent blue ice, that and not being able to feel my nose.
Overall a great experience made all the better by the attentive and welcoming staff and one day hopefully I'll be back in the summer to drive that road.....

Room Tip: If you are travelleing independently of a tour company get there early as you'll get first choic...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank alexnar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cramlington, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2013

We arrived in Bucharest on Good Friday (UK only so it turns out, Easter this year in Romania is in May) and were met at the airport by our transfer who delivered us to Cristina (our guide) at the Rembrant Hotel (an excellent choice of hotel with very pleasant and helpful staff). The next morning we were collected, as promised, after breakfast and taken to Peles Castle for a tour. Our children were a little bored by this but good naturedly completed the tour. We then moved onto Rasnov fortress, much more to our enjoyment as it was outside and the weather was fantastic and we were left to explore this ourselves. There is a train to take the less mobile up to the fortress. The afternoon, evening and overnight were spent in Brasov - a beautiful town/city well worth a visit (Hotel Bella Musika).
Our next day was a trip to Bran Castle - fabled home to Dracula, before travelling on to the Ice Hotel. We had booked the tunnel trek and sledging which filled a lot of time in before eating our evening meal in the Ice Hotel. As there were 5 of us we wondered about our sleeping arrangements but we were asked if we would like adjoining rooms for 4 of us and given a double for the 5th. This suited us well and we all enjoyed the experience of sleeping in the Ice Hotel, despite a continuous drip from the doorway between the adjoining rooms. TIP: put more layers under you than over the top. Also useful to keep your gloves in your boots overnight as it prevents your boots getting damp. The sleeping bags are of the mummy type which I hate so had to sleep with mine unzipped all night and my husband who has quite wide shoulders had similar problems as one size does not fit all. Other than this minor niggle it was a great trip and all of us enjoyed it thoroughly.
After the night in the Ice Hotel we returned to Bucharest via Sibiu and spent our last night back at the Rembrant. The whole trip was superbly organised and our guide deserves a special mention as she went way and beyond what could have been expected of her.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Spiderswife_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2013

We stayed here at the end of March after purchasing a groupon travel deal with Untravelled Paths. Usually we would not book with a tour company, preferring to travel independently, but were very happy with the decision to travel via tour for this trip. Arriving at the mountain we were escorted by cable car up to the top, where we would stay for the next two nights. There is a short walk from the cable car to the cabana (through ice and deep snow, so I would not recommend bringing a huge bag unless you can carry it whilst also balancing on the ice!) The views were incredible, so the short walk is more than bearable even with luggage - it's half the fun to skid everywhere! Once at the cabana we were promptly given keys for our room by the friendly staff there and were told, if we wanted, we were able to stay there for both nights if we decided we no longer wanted to stay in the ice hotel. The room here was adequate, with ensuite bathroom, lovely warm shower, a comfortable bed and THE most amazing view of the mountains. Perfect. The only negative was our room wasn't particularly clean...the beds were made but the bathroom was left in a bit of a state from the previous guests. This didn't bother us to begin with as at first it was merely a place to store our bags whilst we explored and then stayed the night in the ice hotel, but I would have expected the room to be cleaned the next day when we were staying the night there and it wasn't.

This aside, we could not have been happier with what lay ahead. As soon as we arrived at the cabana, we were told which room we would be staying in in the Ice Hotel and my friend and I were allocated 'Candy Land.' Amazing! Our room was full of intricate carvings (including an owl, ice cream, candy canes, and a huge head (?!)), with a double bed and lights around the edges. There is only a curtain to seperate you from the main room (where we also ate dinner that night - an experience - and had drinks at the ice hotel bar) so I would have thought the noise from other guests would have woken us up the next day but it's surprising how sound proof our little ice cave was! We were told that when we were ready to go to bed that night, to let any one of the workers know and they would get our sleeping bags ready for us, bringing them to our room so we didn't have to drag them through the snow. We wrapped up warm - I had a thermal vest, a long sleeved top, a t-shirt, a big jumper and the provided sleeping bag - and tried to get a good nights sleep in th unusual surroundings. Despite getting used to wearing so much clothing to bed and the odd realisation that you are sleeping on a big block of ice (albeit with wood slabs, mattresses, fur and blankets in between you) I actually managed to get quite a good nights sleep. The only negative is the toilet is located outside in the cable car station, and I didn't fancy treking through two foot of snow at 5am to use it...plan in advance!

It was definately a great experience and one to cross of the 'things-to-do' list so I would definately suggest going. Bring a book though, or something else to amuse yourself, because if you're stuck in a snow storm/blizzard/just get plain sick of the cold, there's really not much else to do apart from eat/drink in the restaurant (cheap food and cheap beer! One particularly very friendly waitress as well, who was always smiling and giving great service).

At the end of our trip, we were given clear instructions when to meet to get transported to the other side of the mountain via cable car the next day and had no trouble getting across. However, after taking the cable car back to 'the other side', we were greeted by probably about a hundred people trying to catch the cable car up to the top of the mountain so felt lucky we hadn't had to queue at all for it! Others weren't so lucky!

If booking with Untravelled Paths, especially with the groupon voucher, make sure you also book the shuttle bus back to Sibiu with them (it's not included in the deal) as I'm not sure how you would get back otherwise. It's pretty isolated. I'm glad to have stayed there but think it was more of a once-in-a-life-time experience then somewhere we would return too. Geat fun though!

Room Tip: Our room was further in the ice hotel, away from the main entrance, and we didn't really have an...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AmyH963
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 March 2013

Having been in Sibiu before, we just couldn't stay away! Working in guest services in tourism myself, it's difficult to find professional, accurate, and absolutely fantastic impeccable services such as we've found with the folks at Secret Transylvania and I can only give them my absolute highest recommendation. Been here before for a ladies only vacation and needed to show hubby. As Di & Jez suggest, the Ice Hotel is of course an absolute must! Have already re-booked to come back in June....so looking forward to seeing a Transylvanian summer this time.

Room Tip: I've been in all of the locations Di & Jez have and can recommend them all. Just tell your h...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Undutchable01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ice Hotel Romania

Property: Ice Hotel Romania
Address: Balea Lac | Fagaras mountains, Fagaras, Romania (Formerly Balea Lac Ice Hotel)
Region: Romania > Transylvania > Central Romania > Brasov County > Fagaras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Fagaras
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Faragas Mountains provide a perfect backdrop for the Balea Lac Ice Hotel. Its remote location, at over 2000m is reached only by cable car making it an exclusive 10 room hotel. Set amidst breathtaking scenery, the Ice Hotel is rebuilt every year and the views and silent nights make a visit to the Ice Hotel a must. The stunning Ice Church is a short walk away. Activities: Sledging, snow mobile, skiing. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ice Hotel Romania Fagaras

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