In a few months, the temperature in Jukkasjärvi (pronounced… ‘Jukkasjärvi’ in urr… Swedish) will rise, and the 27th version of the world-famous ICEHOTEL, 200km North of the arctic circle in Sweden will melt. Mother Earth once again ruining the fun for everyone.
Not so fast! This year, for the first time, they built a solar-powered, air-conditioned building next door with a second hotel inside, dubbed the ICEHOTEL 365, because (you’ve got it!) it’s open all year round. The irony is, the cruel sun that robs us of our frozen fun, is the very same provider of electricity that allows us to keep the second building a chilly -5 C all year round. What’s more, this far north Sweden has 24 hours of sunshine a day – a solar panel’s dream.
Every one of the twenty suites in the original ICEHOTEL is designed and built by artists from all over the world, the hotel is continuing this tradition with the second building, vowing to recreate new rooms every year using only ice harvested from the Torne river, less than 100 meters away.
For those that haven’t yet been to the ICEHOTEL, here’s a little explanation of how it works: typically you fly into Kiruna Airport (a short hop from Stockholm) where you’re whisked away by sled dogs who’ll take you to the hotel compound. The ICEHOTEL is surrounded by more typical buildings, made of more sensible materials, like wood. The hotel’s reception, restaurant, conference rooms and sauna are all scattered around the complex – for guests of the all-natural-original hotel, there is a warm changing rooms where you can spend some time not being cold, collect serious outdoor gear for the daytime, and arctic sleeping bags for the night time. This same area houses the communal bathrooms. You spend your days exploring all the rooms (which are kept open for guests and the public to see), or going off on ice-fishing expeditions, or snowmobile adventures. Whenever you’re ready for bed, you head to the guest-centre, get changed out of your arctic gear, collect your arctic sleeping bag and march off to your now private room. The bed frame is made from ice, not the mattress.
Luckily, this new all-year-hotel, from the inside is indistinguishable from the original hotel, however, the 9 deluxe suites come equipped with an en-suite, accessible via an airlock and equiped with your own private shower, bath, sauna, and plug points.
My night in the frozen rooms of the ICEHOTEL 365 was a unique experience. Do I regret it? No. Was it a great night’s sleep? In o way shape or form. Would I do it again? Sure, just not this year, I’m still thawing out now. The deluxe suite is an absolute must – the ensuite offered a warm, private and nearby respite in the early morning. Visiting the ICEHOTEL should be on your bucket list and you have to stay in the cold rooms for at least one night, but I (and so would the hotel) suggest the warm-rooms or cabins that are right next door for the remainder of your stay.
More information on the ICEHOTEL 365 is available online: icehotel.com