Mountain hotel a real ice-breaker
Canadian-born Mr Adolph has built about 40 igloos in Alberta, where he
has a guiding business, but this is his first on New Zealand North Island's
"COLD COMFORT: New Zealand's coolest hotel is an igloo perched 2300 metres up Mount Ruapehu, featuring six rooms with luxury comforts. Mike Adolph, right, enjoys dinner with, from left, Alexandra Michaelson, Hans Hjelde, Michael Parkin, and Ben and Shannon Clement."
Image: ALEXANDRA MICHAELSON
Saturday, 15 September 2007
Step inside this country's coolest hotel - six igloos perched 2300 metres up Mt Ruapehu, featuring most of the luxury comforts of a five-star resort.
Carpeted floors, a five-course, pre-prepared dinner washed down with cold champagne or wine, and extra-warm, double-insulated sleeping bags are all provided for guests. But they can forget about enjoying a glass of red wine - it stains the ice. The Restful Ridge igloo megaplex is nestled 400 metres below the mountain summit and is a 15-minute walk from the Far West T-bar on Whakapapa.
Guests pay a cool $299 per individual and $499 per couple for a fully-catered overnight stay.
Inside, the igloos' natural insulation keeps the temperature between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius - sometimes higher, depending on the number of occupants.
The megaplex took two weeks to build and comprises six igloos joined together. Three double bedrooms are available for guests and there are two living areas, one of which features an ice table fit for 20 diners.
The traditional igloo design is the creation of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts back-country ski guide Mike Adolph with friends Hans Hjelde and Jan Kobi.
Canadian-born Mr Adolph has built about 40 igloos in Alberta, where he has a guiding business, but this is his first on the North Island's highest mountain.
Ruapehu Alpine Lifts management jumped at the idea of building an igloo near the summit, Mr Adolph said. He completed the megaplex in just three weeks, using a machete and knife to carve the 30 square-centimetre blocks of hard ice which form the structure....