Icehotel – Sweden

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Wonderfully-enough, this Icehotel is exactly what it sounds like, in that it’s a hotel made of ice. Yep. How cool is that? get it? cool sorry, I couldn’t resist. Like I can never resist calling a Kansas City tow truck company when I have car issues back home. Anyway, the hotel can be found in Sweden in a place called Jukkasjärvi, which is located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Chilly! The idea for the Icehotel actually began as a kind of art festival in 1989. One Yngve Bergqvist, who would later found Icehotel, decided that Jukkasjärvi – a popular tourist destination in the summertime – need not be abandoned in the winter.

Inspired by Japanese ice sculpting, he invited some artists to come to Jukkasjärvi for a workshop in the winter of 1989. The next winter, an ice structure was created in the shape of an igloo measuring 60m2, which was used as an art gallery and called ARTic Hall. Clever, right? For a number of winters after that, the igloo, growing larger as it was built each winter, was used not only as a gallery, but also for church services, and Bergqvist set up a bar inside and made an attempt at sleeping out there in the cold. One night, a group of guests asked to stay in the hall, equipped with sleeping bags as well as reindeer skins, and loved the experience. Thus, the idea for Icehotel was born.

To actually make the hotel, natural ice is used from the magnificent Torne River that flows through Jukkasjärvi. Huge blocks of ice are harvested from the river in the late river of one year to be used the next year, and artists come from all over the world at the end of each November to aid in the construction of the creative collaboration that becomes Icehotel. In order to cast the building, you need something called snice, which is a combination of snow and ice that’s made from river water. The way it works is that this icy concoction is poured into molds and left to freeze. Once it’s frozen into metre-thick walls, the artists get in that and work their magic.

At Icehotel, you have the opportunity to stay in cold or warm rooms, and can choose a deluxe suite with your own private heated room and en-suite bathroom, if you’re extra fancy. Some of the cold rooms are art suites, meaning that they have been designed and created by an artist, and are exceptionally unique because, as they will melt in the spring, they have never and will never exist in the same way again (except for the new 365 rooms, I supposed, which are, newly this year, to exist year-round thanks so solar-powered cooling).

The recommendation is to combine one cold room night with a few warm room nights, which sounds like a good idea to me. There are also tons of daytime activities like ice workshops that guests are encouraged to enjoy! Oh, and there’s a heated lobby building that’s open 24/7, and it has a sauna, so don’t worry about getting too cold. There’s always somewhere cozy available to warm your bones.