They call a 2,000 square foot ice lounge in Las Vegas an incredible "Arctic" experience, "one that takes guests into an icy wonderland of intricately hand-crafted ice sculptures..."
For me, it was more like an "Antarctic" experience. You see, I went to the Minus 5 in Queenstown, New Zealand, much closer to the South Pole than the North.
It was one of those times I was really glad I had joined a group, in this case a multi-sport trip Down Under. I was glad for many reasons. I loved this group of people and we had a blast throughout our trip, biking, hiking, kayaking, admiring all the sheep, then eating lamb for dinner.
But also, the ice bar is not the type of thing I would have gone into on my own. You have to get suited up in parkas, boots and gloves they lend you. Too much hassle for someone on her own just looking to poke her head in to see what's going on.
But with a gang egging each other on, off we went. We paid something like $15 to get in. That included a fruity vodka drink in a glass made of ice. (No cubes needed!) We admired the ice walls. And the ice seats. And the ice counters. And the ice sculptures.
We giggled and oohed and aahed and took pictures of one another. Then we got booted. There's a time limit. The people behind you need your parka and your space in the freezer...um...bar.
We moved on to the warmer lounge next door and continued to pay exorbitantly for more drinks. We were able to look through a porthole into the icy lounge next door and see how others were enjoying their time.
And giggle some more.
Photos: By Ellen Perlman, or friends. Minus 5 Ice Lounge, New Zealand