Starting last year, every winter, a special hotel is built at Balea Lac, in Romania. What’s so special about it? It is built entirely from ice: walls, corridors, pillars, decorations, everything is made of ice, including the beds. Yet, the temperature inside is about -4 degrees Celsius (you can’t expect to get to sleep in your pajamas, but as the beds are covered with sheep furs, it can be quite cozy for one night experience. The hotel includes also a bar, where you can have a drink (or more) served in glasses made of ice (of course). From the colored lights playing around, to ambient music, from marvelous translucent ice sculptures (imitations of the works of Constantin Brancusi, the famous Romanian sculptor) to the bar counter and tables, everything is thought and planned in detail, giving the visitors a strange “North Pole” sensation. Although there are no toilets inside, all facilities are available from the chalets nearby. Last year, the price of one night accommodation was about 35$ per person, in double room.
The ice is extracted from the nearby lake, by a team of workers from villages within the area. Last year, the construction took about two months, so the hotel opened in February 2006, but this year, with the already gathered experience, it is expected to be ready much sooner (now, as I write this, at Balea Lac people are already skiing). This winter’s project includes also an ice church to be build nearby the hotel.
The access in Balea Lake area can be done by car only from July to October. For the rest of the year, the final part of the road is closed (at that altitude – 2034 meters, winter starts in October-November and ends in June – I remember once that it was July and skiing was yet possible on one natural slope there), the access being possible only by cable car from Balea Waterfall.
Balea Lake, one of the glacial lakes in Romania, is situated at an altitude of 2034 meters. It has an aria of 0.46 square kilometers and it has a maximum depth of 11 meters. Surrounding the lake a reservation was settled. The Transfagarasan road is located in the vicinity of Balea Lake. The Balea Lake Chalet is situated on the lakeside and it offers a warm atmosphere for the tourists, people working there are extremely nice and helpful and the food is great. If you ever plan a visit to Romanian Mountains, a stop at Balea Lac is a must, even if you don’t want to try the cool sensations of the Ice Hotel.