The most prominent hotel of ice and snow in the world, the Ice hotel, is well-known to be an excellent and pleasant hotel to stay in for the holidays. It has a formidable and attractive appearance (depicting an art exhibition significantly made out of ice and snow), and it undergoes renovation annually. The Ice hotel gives an environment of a classic hotel experience. One can consider it a way to welcome the holiday period to visitors at the end of each year. Every visitor gets furnished with an exquisite, polar-tested sleeping bag. A Finnish steam bath produced by pouring water over heated rocks is present as there is no heating in the bedrooms. The water goes back to its source where it initially flows from antediluvian mountains positioned in the western region. Guests can snuggle up as they watch the magnificent and mesmerizing Northern lights at night. There are multiple places in the relatively large hotel to observe this ethereal occurrence easily. A survey shows many areas to relax and enjoy the experience to the fullest. The guests involved can, therefore, choose an area of preference that invokes respite from the cold winter nights.
The ice hotel in the Northern part of Sweden is a tourist attraction in itself as people from around the world visit it every year near the New Year’s to see and experience a one of a kind hotel in the world. It is located in a small village of Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna Municipality, Norrbotten County, Sweden. Only 548 people reside in this small village according to 2010 statistics.
It is situated at the height of approximately 1000 feet above the sea level which provides it with an outstanding view of the surroundings. This village is very near to the northern border of Sweden which touches both Norway and Finland. The northernmost part of Sweden and Finland is also known as Lapland which is known for its beauty and picturesque landscape.
The village boasts of a wooden made church that was built at the starting of the seventeenth century along with the more famous ice hotel. These are the two main attractions of that area which make tourist bonkers around the world. Also, it is the perfect location to view the uncanny natural phenomenon known as the Northern Lights.
A contrast of colors dancing in the sky is Northern Lights. It can be observed only in the winter season when the sky is clear. The science behind it is that some radiations or part of the sun divulges and reaches the poles of the earth (the North Pole and the South Pole) giving birth to this striking marvel.
Let’s talk about some facts now!
- This is the first ice hotel in the world which multiplies its charm and worth many times over.
- It is made every year in a new style in the winter season as it melts away once the temperature rises.
- It first opened its doors in the year 1990 and this year, e., 2017, it celebrates its 28th birthday.
- It boasts a total of fifty – five rooms which obviously remain full because of the soaring demand and popularity of the hotel. It also has ten restaurants offering different cuisines to the guests who come from different parts of the world with a broad range of cultures and food habits.
- It is made every year at an area of six thousand meter square or sixty-four thousand and six hundred square feet which makes it quite spacious.
- A team of architects carves the ice to make different sculptures, rooms, and other things. Every architect has a different role to play as they are widely skilled and have their own quality and talents.
- It has been opening its doors for five months every year since 1990 between the months of December and April.
- Everything is made up of ice and snow. Just name it, and you’ll get it! From chairs in the restaurants to beds in the bedrooms, everything is made of ice!
- A large amount of ice and snow is needed to make such a large hotel. The source of that much ice is the nearby river known as the Torne River.
- The hotel remains stable at minus five degree Celsius or twenty-three degrees
- The hotel also has a bar where even the glasses are made of ice. I know! Unbelievable! Right?
- Couples come here to marry in the most unusual chapel of the world entirely made up of ice.
- The hotel also contains a reception area, main hall, and a church.
- There are different sculptures and decorations around the hotel which need the finest precision of the hands.
- Every guest at the hotel feels special as no room is alike and has its own selling point.
- The mattresses, quilts, and bed sheets are made up of reindeer fur that are unbelievably warm and enough to give the guests a good night’s sleep.
- There is no room for heating as the hotel needs to be constantly frozen at five degree Celsius. Otherwise, the entire hotel will melt away like ice-cream.
- Also, plumbing is not a case for this unique hotel which is not at all shocking. However, there is a sauna and hot tub in the outdoors of hotel.
- No plumbing means no bathrooms as well, and the guests have to go to a nearby building to relieve themselves.
- The ice hotel is one of the seven wonders of Sweden. So, one can definitely not afford to miss it!
- Guests have to land at the Kiruna Airport, and many airlines operate regular flights from around the world. There are direct flights to and from London’s Heathrow Airport. This is the northernmost airstrip in Sweden. Guests can also arrive by helicopters or even by chartered flights. The Ice hotel is only fourteen kilometers from the airport and takes about 12 minutes to reach.
- There is a snowball room, a room with an electric blanket to keep the guests warm and cozy.
- The hotel opens one part in December and unseals a portion every week till the starting of January when the hotel is finally complete.
- It is just two hundred kilometers away from the Arctic Circle.
Things to do
There are many activities one can enjoy and cherish for their whole life in the Ice hotel as listed below:
- There are many guided tours to the Ice hotel for those who do not want to stay there but just want to experience the man-made One can opt for the making of the Ice hotel guided tour which educates people about its history and the hands behind this creation. Then, there is an ice melting guided tour which takes place in April or May when the hotel starts to melt away under the rays of the sun. It is a very eye-catching involvement, and it freezes one’s eyes on the melting hotel which is an irony in itself.
- One can also polish their inherent skills of ice sculpting, and there is also a fun activity to indulge in. Christmas day and New Year are the big holidays celebrated at the hotel like no other place. Santa Claus arrives on Christmas Day to give away presents to children.
- One can enjoy a one of a kind transfer to the airport. Guess what? It’s not a car, but a dog sled, which I can bet is the best ride you will ever have in your entire life! Just picture arriving at the airport with your baggage on a dog sled! Sounds fascinating, right?
- There are many guided tours which leave in search of the aurora borealis when the sky is clear with no clouds. The guides know the best location to grasp the mysterious northern lights. It is quite natural and unnatural at the same time.
- There is a snowmobile ride which guarantees an adrenaline rush. Children and adventurists will mostly appreciate the fun of driving a snowmobile in the snow-rich landscape like a maniac.
- Skiing is also one of the activities associated with snow and can be enjoyed near the hotel. One can even meet a reindeer, the most majestic animal of the Nordic countries and a lifesaver for nomads.
The Arctic Summer in Ice Hotel
Summer is also a celebrated season in this part of the Arctic as it has its own supernatural wonders in its pockets. As the sun starts to embrace the dark winters, the Ice hotel melts away to its own source which is the Torne River. Also, the other natural phenomenon, i.e., the midnight sun kicks in from mid of May to mid of July. The sun doesn’t set and shines bright twenty-four hours a day for two months. The farewell of harsh winters welcomes the lush green trees and wildflowers along with the flowing water in the Torne River. It is like waking up from hibernation. All the living and non-living things get their energy back from the sun. Light winds with birds chirping give back the life to this place.
This is a time to enjoy white water rafting, canoeing, and stand up paddle, kayaking, and many other water activities in the Torne River. One can also enjoy the famous Kokkaffe which is a coffee boiled in a kettle on an open fire by the side of the river. It is served in a finely made wooden cup. One can also soak in enough Vitamin D from the sun in these two months. So, no more need to consume those Vitamin D pills!
One can also indulge in hiking in the slightly steeped mountains covered in forest with the breathtaking view of the whole village. The fresh air revitalizes the soul of hikers and gives them the required energy to complete their challenging hike successfully.
Couples from around the world come to this hotel to get tied together in the bond of marriage. It is one of the unsurpassed places in the world to get married. The guests can stay in the Ice hotel along with the wedding ceremony in the ice chapel. The wedded couple can throw a one of its kind reception at the most serene place. It will be a wedding to remember.
The summer wedding is also as tranquil as the winter one. Getting in the ties of marriage under the midnight sun in the wooden church can be a day to remember for the couple, family and friends.
Spring in the Arctic Ice Hotel
This is the season when the six hundred locals of the village rise to the welcoming of the spring. This is also the last time to catch the northern lights as the sun starts to shine. Local’s favorite sport has to be ice fishing which makes for a great past time activity and their food as well. Remember to put a generous amount of sunscreen on the exposed area as the sun is awfully bright post winters. The weight of clothes also reduces during this time of the year as the temperatures start to rise.
The harvest of ice blocks begins in April from the Torne River and is stored in the ice storage to make it useful the next winter.
It is safe to say that this is one of those experiences which can’t be missed and should be felt at least once in a lifetime. The price to stay for a night at the Ice hotel is quite high for budget travelers. However, we can’t put a price on an experience of a lifetime, now can we? One should book the hotel in advance as it is very popular and rooms get booked in the blink of an eye. There are many websites from which you can book the hotel, or you can also directly contact the reception.
Best of luck for your next holiday! Happy winters!
Yogi and Suchna believe in taking the road less travelled and stumbling upon some hidden gems along the way! For over a decade, they’ve mapped their way across various continents, sniffed out unusual routes, discovered new flavours and stayed at quirky hostels. TheVillaEscape is their expression of soul travel. To see Northern Lights In Finland you can catch up with them at TheVillaEscape.