Last weekend I got to see the beautiful work of art which was the Ice Hotel. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, the name pretty much says it all. It is a hotel, made completely out of ice. It’s located in Jukkasjärvi, a small village with a population of just as many sled dogs as people living in it (about 1,000 if you were wondering).
This Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi is the first and biggest ice hotel ever. It has been done every winter for almost 25 years! Now it competes with a few other ice hotels, one for sure I know is in Quebec, Canada but I believe there is one more somewhere else also. The Swedish Ice Hotel is, in my opinion, the best one out there, and there’s a few reasons why I think that. The hotel has no steel structure, it’s all made out of ice and snow and only that. Well actually they use 3 materials: ice, snow, and “snice” which is a combination of the two.
There are around 100 people who participate in the construction of the Ice Hotel, half being artists who design rooms and all other areas of the hotel. They let the artists contact them, and then if they like that artists work, they then pay for their plane ticket to Jukkasjärvi, give them room and board, food, and a little stipend more for the work that they do. The artists come from all over the world, they said this year there was an artist from Brazil who had never seen snow before but built these beautiful ice sculptures!
The actual construction of the hotel starts in November, but it is a year long process, as they collect ice from the local river (Torne River) in March/April and keep it in cold storage until construction starts. The hotel opens around December and closes mid-April. When the hotel slowly melts, it returns back to the the river. They don’t keep anything from the hotel, all of that beautiful art just turns back into water.
You can stay the night in the Ice Hotel, or you can just go there during the day to look around. There is the cold accommodation which is in the hotel made of ice, but there is also warm accommodation just outside of the ice hotel also! The prices to stay in the Ice Hotel vary from about 1,000kr (around $150) for a basic room to 13,500kr (about $2,080) for a deluxe suite, prices also depend on the day and time of year and then obviously the type of room it is.
About 50,000 people visit the Ice Hotel every year, and this year I was one of them. I went with Celine, who is also an exchange student living in Gällivare. Her host mom drove us there. Jukkasjärvi is a short 1.5 hour drive from Gällivare, so we made a nice day trip there and spent some time in Kiruna also. Kiruna is a bigger town which is a 20 minute drive from the Ice Hotel.
You pay to go into the Ice Hotel. At the beginning you are given a small tour of the church, Ice Bar, and the main hallway. I thought this was good so you could hear the history and about how they made the hotel. After that you could go off on your own and explore almost everything, the only restriction was the deluxe suites. The hotel closes to viewers around 5 or 6, after that time only people who are staying in the hotel can be in it.
As you may have guessed, I have a great deal of pictures to share! I think I had around 600 total, but somehow I narrowed it down to less than 200 🙂
Click on the picture to enlarge, scroll over the picture to see the caption (if there is one).
Going into the actual hotel, you enter to a reception area. If you go to the left, you go into the Ice Bar. If you go straight, you go into the main hallway with smaller branching off hallways to the rooms. And if you go straight down this main hallway, you come to the unicorn.
The main hallway:
Above is what the hallway to the rooms, entrance to the rooms (just a curtain which serves as the door), the room number, and emergency exit at the end of the hallway.
As I said there are a few different types of rooms. First off there are: snow rooms, ice rooms, and northern lights suites
The snow room is the most basic, with just a bed. Kind of like if you were staying in an igloo I suppose.
The ice rooms are a little less basic with ice chairs.
Last the Northern Lights suite, which had green and blue lights on the ceiling and walls acting as the Northern Lights. It also had more artwork in the rooms.
Next are the Art Suites. These were all have different designs and were so interesting to look at! Each one you walked into was a whole new piece of art. I declared one my favorite then walked into the next room to change my mind!
BEFORE THE BIG BANG
MIND THE GAP
FACE IN THE CROWD
(This room had a little movie theater in it, with a projector)
Lastly, the Ice Bar!
That’s all I have from the Ice Hotel! It is an absolutely beautiful place, I would definitely go back another year and maybe even stay the night there!