ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is the world’s first and largest hotel made completely out of ice. Take a trip to Sweden to see the exquisitely designed rooms and enjoy perfectly chilled drinks in the ICEBAR. Don’t forget to bundle up! By Shrimayee Thakur
Every year, the village of Jukkasjärvi sees thousands of tourists from different countries pouring in to see, and to spend the night at, the famed ICEHOTEL, a hotel made completely out of a mixture of snow and ice, nicknamed ‘snice’, taken from the river Torne, including all furniture and even glasses. The idea of a hotel made out of ice first occurred to creators when guests, equipped with reindeer skins and sleeping bags, at an art exhibition in an igloo in the village asked if they could stay overnight. Though it was never intended for the igloo, named the ARTIC Hall, to be used as a hotel, the experience of the guests inspired the creators to create ICEHOTEL, marking the beginning of a 29 year old tradition.
Open from mid-December to mid-April, the interiors of the hotel are kept at a chilling minus five degrees constantly. After closing, the structure melts and returns to the river Torne. The spectacular hotel is built completely from scratch each year, after months of planning, starting as early as March. Each room is designed and carved out by artists and designers. November is when the actual construction of the hotel begins. With 15 Art Suites and 20 Ice Rooms, along with a Main Hall and a Ceremony Hall, ICEHOTEL is both, a hotel and an art exhibition. It is open to the public between 10 AM to 6 PM, with guided tours. Bathrooms, sauna and storage are all available in the heated service building, the Riverside Lobby, for overnight guests.
Though the original ICEHOTEL is a seasonal structure, ICEHOTEL 365, started in 2016, is a permanent structure, with 20 suites, ICEBAR and an ice gallery, constructed out of ice. The interiors maintain minus five degrees at all times, which is made possible through the use of solar panels in the summer. Guests, therefore, are no longer hindered by the seasons when planning to visit ICEHOTEL. The art in ICEHOTEL 365 does also melt and is replaced.
ICEHOTEL also offers warm rooms, for those unwilling to sleep in below freezing temperatures. The website for ICEHOTEL recommends spending one day in a cold room, made out of ice, and two to three days in a warm room, starting or ending with the night in the cold room. The establishment also offers various activities like dog sledding, skiing and snowmobiling in winter, and river rafting and cycling in summer. ICEHOTEL Restaurant, with Michelin-trained head chef Alexander Meier and his team, serves delicacies like reindeer, moose, Arctic char and bramble berries.