Amidst the gorgeous Narnia landscape of the Swedish Lapland stands Icehotel, the world’s first hotel built entirely of ice and snow. It’s hard to believe that everything here is made of ice, until you see it for yourself.
We recently visited the Icehotel on a daytrip from Abisko and were blown away by this work of art. Everything is made of ice: The ice chambers have rock solid ice beds and frosty ice chairs, and ice chandeliers hang from the ice ceiling. Even the glasses in the Icebar are made of ice. Thankfully, despite the all-ice philosophy, guests are snug under reindeer skins and thick sleeping bags.
Since it first opened its doors to guests, many ice hotels have popped up around the world, but few can compare to the original Icehotel in terms of size and artistic style. Each winter, the hotel is built afresh in Jukkasjärvi, right next to Tornio River where the ice is collected from. Over 21,500 tonnes of snice (a mixture of snow and ice) are used to build the the 5,500-square-meter building each year. Once summer approaches, the ice all melts away and flows back into the river. To avoid pollution, the hotel never uses color or paint in the ice.
Each year, around 45 artists from around the world are invited to design the suites. These artists have been carefully selected by a panel of judges based on their artistic skills and ice sculpting experience. Each suite features its own unique design and story so before you book your stay at Icehotel be sure to find the story behind your suite.
Here’s a photographic tour of the Icehotel:
The main entrance of the Icehotel is simply constructed of rectangular blocks of ice and a reindeer hide door.
This year’s theme is ‘unfold’, thus the folding patterns in many of the ice sculptures around the hotel. The photo above shows the arches in the Icebar.
My favorite suite in the Icehotel is the Whitewater Suite, which is designed to give the sensation of floating in the Tornio River.
The Flower Room is designed by a Japanese couple who have been designed suites at the Icehotel seven times. This room represents the re-growth of Japan after the tsunami.
The Northern Lights suite has gorgeous turquoise green lights fluttering overhead to resemble the auroral display.
The Cold and Crazy suite is at its name implies, wacky and icy!
The Virgin of Space Suite was inspired by the movie, ‘The Moon’.
This suite is designed by a Dutch artist who wanted to create “an iceberg in a soft environment”, which prompted him to design a single icy object lit from within, incorporating a bed, a sofa and a dining table with two seats.
A standard room is gorgeous on its own.
The Icebar is eclectic in design and features a huge collection of cocktails. There are also Icebar branches in London, Copenhagen and Oslo.
The entire bar counter is made of nothing but ice.
The ICEBAR produces more than one million ice glasses each year. All the cocktails in the ICEBAR are named after the suites.
Sipping from an ice glass can be quite an experience.