ICEHOTEL Sweden my own Arctic experience | Jukkasjärvi, Sweden | Have you ever dreamt on one of those warm nights of summer, to be sleeping on top of a huge bar of ICE.? Well then, how about spending two night at a hotel, all made out of ICE.? How does that sound…. freezing right? Indeed. That was my experience last December 2010 at the ICEHOTEL in Sweden. One of the trips I will never, ever forget. We were there just the week before of the season opening, so we got access to the whole hotel both front and back. What is ICEHOTEL? A hotel built of ice and snow, would be the most common response. The first and the largest in the world, someone might add. But we they more thrilling stories to tell.
Your experience begins once off your SAS Airlines flight from Stockholm to Kiruna in the Arctic Circle. As you can see on the video above (BTW it as around 1PM in the afternoon) there is only ICE and SNOW around. Kiruna is a charming little airport approximately 3 hours away from Stockholm. There you will be hosted by the staff of the ICEHOTEL, they will provide you with your heavy cold proof gear and set you on your way to the ICEHOTEL. Our option was to go by Dog Sledges, which took us about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Once you arrive to the ICEHOTEL you wont believe what you see. I can still remember my surprise and excitement. I hear a lot about the ICEHotel, and been to the ICEBAR in Oslo before, but his was beyond words. Not only the ICEHOTEL, but the surroundings of Jukkasjärvi are the perfect location for this crazy idea based on the river Torne that flows outside our the windows of the hotel, the cold arctic climate, The Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun.
Designer from all over the world compete year round with projects to own their signature room at the world renown ICEHOTEL. Yngve Bergqvist, the founder of ICEHOTEL says …” If you can build a hotel of snow and ice in a village 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, which strikes the world with amazement – nothing is impossible…”
As soon as winter begins, a team of snow builders, architects, designers and artists from all over the world gather in the little town of Jukkasjärvi far north of the Arctic Circle. Under the direction of the ICEHOTEL Art & Design Group, they create each year’s version of ICEHOTEL. The building process starts in mid-November when the snow guns start humming and large clouds of snow start to drift along the Torne River. The snow is sprayed on huge steel forms and allowed to freeze. After a couple of days, the forms are removed, leaving a maze of free-standing corridors of snow. In the corridors, dividing walls are built in order to create rooms and suites. Ice blocks, harvested at springtime from Torne River, are now being transported into the hotel where selected artists from all over the world start creating the art and design of the perishable material.
The first phase is completed December 10th and each week thereafter a new section opens. The Lobby, Main Hall and ABSOLUT ICEBAR opens December 17th and the Ice Church is completed on December 23rd. More suites and rooms will be available each week until December 30th when the construction of ICEHOTEL is completed. In total, ICEHOTEL 2010/2011 will consist of 60 rooms. Of course those who know me well know that the minute they’ve opened the ABSOLUT ICEBAR I was there at the bar asking for my frozen favorite Vodka.
When the hotel is completed, a hectic time begins. Thousands of guests will sleep in rooms made of ice and snow, over a hundred couples will share wedding vows in the Ice church (like LOVE IN THE AIR by SAS Airlines and Visit Sweden, reason why we came all the way to Sweden) and many cold drinks will be enjoyed in ABSOLUT ICEBAR. Until spring arrives and the sun starts to unthaw the walls of snow and we finally close the hotel and let it slowly return to its origin, Torne River.
At ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi you can choose between several different types of accommodation. The ideal is to combine one cold night in ICEHOTEL with several warm nights in our hotel rooms or hotel chalets. I spent one night at ICEHOTEL and one at the warm rooms. But if I would have been able to choose I would have stay both night in the cold rooms. I have to admit that in the beginning I was quite concern about the extreme freezing cold, but once through the night I have to say I have one of the best night sleep EVER in my life. The surrounding cold (which thank to the Thermal Sleeping Bags they provide with you don’t suffer at all) and the silence…. perfect combination for a great night sleep.
My COLD Room for the night. Inside ICEHOTEL, the temperature is never colder than -5 °C to -8 °C, regardless of how cold it may be outside. Dress in warm thermal underwear, put on a hat and slip into the cozy sleeping bag. You are awakened in the morning with a cup of hot lingonberry juice at your bedside. Breakfast buffet, morning sauna and towels are included in your stay.
The video above is of my favorite room at ICEHOTEL, called Legacy of the River. I spent the whole stay calling it the TRON room.
The WARM Room. Combine one night in ICEHOTEL with several nights in warm accommodation for that perfect ICEHOTEL experience. Winter clothes, shoes, entrence to ICEHOTEL, morning sauna and a breakfast buffet is included in your stay.ICEHOTEL Resturant has a modern Scandinavian style and the Old Homestead Restaurant is a charming, historical log building. ICEHOTEL Restaurant offers a gastronomic adventure and a high-end a la carte menu in a bright and modern atmosphere. The cuisine of ICEHOTEL Restaurant has been featured in gourmet magazines around the world and has been awarded the prestigious Werner Vögeli Statuette. In October 2007, the Nordic Council of Ministers awarded ICEHOTEL the honorary New Nordic Food diploma. Do not be surprise if you dishes and glasses area all made out of Ice.
During your stay at ICEHOTEL you may enjoy many of the activities they have to offer both indoors and outdoors. I did both. Snowmobiling, Ice Carving Classes, Dog Sledding, among many others.
ICEHOTEL and experience I recommend to everyone. A destination itself, perfect to be combined with one of my favorite cities in Europe as it is Stockholm. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone # 917.754.5515. Also check our scheduled Travel Groups. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, VIRTUOSO, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network. www.carlosmelia.com