Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden was the first and largest hotel built of snow and ice from the free-flowing arctic river Torne. It all melts away and trickles back to the nearby river in springtime. The Icehotel opened for a new season on December 14th.
The 29th edition of the hotel comprises 15 uniquely designed suites, one ice ceremony hall for weddings and ceremonies and the main hall. Upon arrival, an ICEHOTEL guide holds a ‘survival course’ for guests staying the night in the hotel. The introduction includes information on dressing appropriately and making the bed with the arctic sleeping bags. These sleeping bags are more than sufficient as they are intended for temperatures as low as -13° Farenh (-25° Celsius).
Icehotel, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, has been certified an eco-hotel by the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Scandinavia’s most comprehensive eco labelling program. With a substantial portion of rooms melting away and being re-built out of ice and snow every year, it has proven a unique challenge for the certification team and the Icehotel itself.
The construction process
The annual building of the hotel begins in march when 2,500 tons of ice is harvested. The ice is then stored until ICEHOTEL’s construction in October. 33 artists from 13 different countries arrive in Jukkasjärvi to sculpt the 15 unique suites of ice and snow, as well as the ceremony and main halls which feature the columns and chandeliers for which the hotel is famous.
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Sweden’s Ice Hotel Reopens for a New Season
“The Torne River is the mother of our product and our business. She has provided our guests with life enriching experiences for over thirty years. We were the European pioneers of guided river rafting tours and we were the first in the world to build a hotel and art exhibition using only frozen water,” says Kerstin Nilsson, Senior Quality Advisor at ICEHOTEL.
Annika Fredriksson, CEO of Swedish Lapland Visitors Board points out that ICEHOTEL has been an engine for attracting international visitors to the region from the very start.
Feature image (on top): New Year’s Eve at the ICEHOTEL
Sweden’s Ice Hotel Reopens for a New Season, written by Tor Kjolberg