Most hotels are lucky if they go through one or two renovations during their lifetime. However this hotel in the tiny village of Jukkasjarvi, Sweden gets a complete makeover every year because believe it or not, it is carved entirely from Ice blocks lugged in from the nearby Torne River. What's even more stunning is that the hotel gets increasingly fabulous each year!
Now in its 23rd year, the idea of building a frozen hotel came about quite accidently, after a local tourist company trying attract visitors during the severe winter months, hosted an art exhibition in a specially built igloo atop the frozen Torne River. While the 60sq.ft. structure was a huge success attracting many day visitors, it was not until a group of brave souls arrived with reindeer hides and sleeping bags and announced their intention to spend the night inside the igloo that the villagers had an 'aha' moment!
The Ice Hotel has come a long way since these humble beginnings. The design is unique gets increasingly sophisticated, year after year. Each area is now advertised as a 'work of art' with artists from all over the world competing to carve one of the 47 bedroom suites, reception lobby or ice bar. The hotel even houses a church for couples looking for an offbeat wedding location!
In order to accommodate every kind of visitor, the hotel offers something for every budget - Ranging from a luxurious Art Deco Suite, which boasts of beautiful ice sculptures to the bare bones Snow Room, which contains just an icy bed and a reindeer skin.
But no matter what room they are in, the temperature is the same - A bone-chilling -5°C (23°F)! It is therefore not surprising that guests are advised to keep their gloves and winter hats on, in addition to the thermal sleeping bags they snuggle into. As you have probably guessed by now, most guests end up spending just one night in this freezing environment before moving to more conventional warmer cabins nearby - But they all agree it is truly worth experiencing, at least once in a lifetime!
Similar to any hotel, guests can choose to lounge around all day or pick from a number of activities ranging from snowshoeing, Moose safaris, dog sledding, snowmobile safaris to even, overnight wilderness camps. Though dining choices are pretty much limited to the restaurant in the hotel, guests have very little to complain about given that it somehow manages to whip up amazingly gourmet meals. As for the drinks? They are always chilled to perfection!
The best part about this semi-permanent structure is that it is the ultimate green building - One that houses and entertains guests all winter and then, as summer approaches and the temperatures rise, simply melts into one giant puddle, leaving behind no trace of its existence.
Over the years, many copycat ice hotels have emerged and similar destinations can now also be found in Quebec City, Canada, Norway, Finland and Romania. However, the original one remains the biggest and the grandest of all. To see additional pictures or book a room, click on www.icehotel.com.