Resort Review: Alpha Resort Tomamu, Japan

UNDER THE TOP ESCAPE: Hokkaido, The Ice Cave

LOCATION:

Hokkaido, Japan

RESORT:

Alpha Resort Tomamu

They call it a resort — Alpha Resort Tomamu, to be exact, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. You might call it an igloo, or a dare. Inside the 14-degree room (there's only one) are an ice bed (with, oh yes, sleeping bags!), ice plates and ice tables. Guests usually have ice on their lips after trying to warm up at the resort's ice bar, where you're invited to use an ice pick to make your own ice goblet before pouring a drink. No hot teas or toddies; they could melt holes in the ice floors. Outside the ice-block walls is a ski resort, known to be family-friendly for its adventure park, tower suites, Jacuzzi rooms and hot buffets. But hey, you give up a few things for privacy like this.

This article first appeared in Twenty of the World's Greatest Escapes, in the January/February 2012 issues of ISLANDS.