Located in the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, sits an ever-changing ice hotel that’s something out of a Disney fairy tale. The hotel is constructed entirely of ice blocks harvested from the nearby Torne River. Each fall the hotel is reconstructed to its full glory, and stays open until the ice melts in the Spring.
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Each season, more ice is harvested from the river, stored, and used for whatever the hotel requires, from ice sculpting classes to drinking glasses. Over the years, the hotel has featured work of more than 500 artists. Design elements range from custom ice sculptures, room architecture, overall decor, and other art forms.
While the details of the hotel’s architecture, decor, and themes change each year, the rare experience, and a few iconic mainstays, stays the same. Upon every new construction the Icehotel always includes a bar, a chapel, a main hall, a reception area and suites for over 100 guests.
While there is no indoor plumbing in the hotel, the warm bathhouse is close by. There is also an onsite sauna and an outdoor hot tub, so it’s not exactly roughing it.
At night you will rest your head on a bed made of ice, kept warm by animal furs and sleeping bags. The walls and ceiling are thick, constructed of ice and snow. No two rooms are the same.
They are each custom designed, in a different style every year. The selection process is exclusive and rigorous. Artists from around the world submit their ideas for room themes and a panel of selectors carefully sift through the submissions and make their decision.
The Ice Hotel isn’t what you would consider a well-kept secret, it’s quite renowned for its unique, once in a lifetime appeal. It was featured on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, and was even visited in an edition of The Amazing Race 17.
If you’re headed to Jukkasjarvi in the warmer months, or maybe in the winter months-but the idea of sleeping on a frozen bed doesn’t appeal to you, you’re in luck too! The Ice Hotel does have warm rooms, with non-ice beds. There’s also a wilderness camp, with an overnight tour with a dogsled or snowmobile and a gorgeous view of the northern lights.
So if you’re an adventure seeking Sweden-bound traveler looking for a unique experience that literally won’t be around for long, then head on over to the Icehotel!