Times Staff Writer

The Arctic without a thermostat

SEARCH for cold comfort on an overnight journey to Sweden's Icehotel, 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

The hotel, built each winter from about 7 million pounds of fresh snow and ice, has walls, beds, chairs, doors, light fixtures, even glasses made of ice.

"Why do people want to sleep on ice?" said Linda Rasmussen of Scandinavian American World Tours. "It's different. Sort of crazy. People love to say they've done it."

The two-day trip to Jukkasjarvi is usually available early January through April, depending on the temperature. Included in the ice complex are a church, art gallery and bar. Nearby is a normal -- heated -- hotel.

Cost: $520 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $150), including round-trip air transportation from Stockholm to Kiruna, Sweden, transfer to the hotel, sauna, breakfast and local taxes.

Contact: Scandinavian American World Tours, based in Cranbury, N.J.; (800) 545-2204,



Critical eye on film in Berlin

HOBNOB with glitterati at the Berlin International Film Festival on a tour led by Movieline film critic Stephen Farber.

The tour, Feb. 5 to 14, will include meetings with filmmakers, post-screening discussions, admission to festival parties and a pass to screenings. Farber has led tours to festivals in Venice and Havana.

Cost: $2,395 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $325), including accommodations at the Westin Grand Berlin and many meals. Airfare is not included.

Contact: Let's Travel, Santa Monica; (800) 458-7477 or (310) 451-5805,



Bargain hunt at Harrods

Launch a shopping spree of international proportions with a low-cost air-and-hotel package to London.

Three- and six-day packages are available Jan. 5 to 17 during the annual sale at Harrods, a well-known London department store. Other London merchants also offer January sales.

Cost: Three-night packages from LAX or San Francisco start at $669 per person, double (single surcharge $140). Six-night packages start at $769 (single surcharge $240). The package includes breakfast daily, a $42 (25 British pounds) Harrods gift certificate, hotel taxes and service charges. Not included are government fees and surcharges of about $109. Packages must be purchased 30 days in advance.

Contact: Virgin Vacations; (888) 937-8474, Packages booked by phone rather than online incur an additional $20 fee.



A Jewish heritage tour

Explore Jewish heritage in India on an 18-day tour that includes highlights of the nation's northern and southern states.

The tour, scheduled Jan. 7 to 24 and Oct. 20 to Nov. 6, will focus on synagogues from the 18th to 20th centuries and on Jewish settlements in Mumbai (Bombay) and Cochin in south India. In Cochin, the group will visit the Pardesi Synagogue, one of the oldest in the world. Other stops will include Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur.

Cost: $3,475 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $1,160), including accommodations, some meals, transfers, sightseeing, entrance fees, guides and service charges. Airfares are not included.

Contact: Asian Pacific Adventures, Tarzana; (800) 825-1680 or (818) 881-2745,



Stop to smell Philly flowers

Visit one of the world's largest garden parties on a three-night tour to the 175th annual Philadelphia Flower Show.

The March 11 trip will include private early admission to the show. There also will be a tour of Longwood Gardens, created by millionaire industrialist Pierre S. du Pont in Kennett Square, Pa. Other stops will include the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Delaware.

Cost: $995 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $246), including accommodations at the Warwick Hotel, daily breakfast and lunch, flower show, garden and museum entrance fees, transportation, guide service, tax and service charges. Round-trip airfare is not included.

Contact: Sterling Tours, San Diego; (619) 299-3010,

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents, cruise lines or tour operators. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or write via e-mail to

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