Unbelievable hotels: Icehotel, Sweden
A hotel and art exhibition space forged in the ice and snow of the Arctic Circle.
Where: 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in the Swedish town of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
What’s unique about this property? Icehotel is a dynamic, ever-changing hotel and art exhibition space whose formation is driven by the ice that develops in the nearby Torne River. Since its conception in 1990, every winter around 2,500 bricks are harvested from the Torne and used by a team of artists, engineers, ice sculptors and light designers to create the hotel's new guise.
Around 15-20 creatives from around the world are invited to put their stamp on the Icehotel with new suites, new ice sculptures and new details, which remain in place until the spring sun returns it back to the Torne River.
Design: Jens Thoms Ivarsson, Elin Julin, Kalle Ekeroth and Håkan Jutblad. Photo Asaf Kliger.
Despite its annual reincarnation, the hotel and experience is open 365 days a year thanks to Icehotel 365. This is a permanent construction on the site and features ice and snow suites, an ice bar, a church, an ice-gallery and an event hall.
The ice hotel offers cold rooms made of ice and snow and warm cabins. Cold rooms are equipped with Arctic sleeping bags with the temperature inside never dropping below -5°C. At the end of your stay, you'll be given a certificate stating the date and temperature – for bragging rights, naturally.
What is there to do in the area? Depending on the season, Jukkasjärvi and its surrounding area offers different adventurous outdoor activities. In summer, cycling, river rafting, ice sculpting and fishing are popular while in winter, skiing, husky sledding, ice sculpting and hunting for the Northern Lights are available.
Image: Markus Alatalo
What do other people say? Icehotel welcomes 50,000 guests annually. According to reviews and recommendations by hotels.finder.com.au users, many of these were couples who had nothing but praise for its cleanliness, dining, facilities, locations and rooms.TripAdvisor users also rave about it, calling it an "unordinary hotel" and "a bucket-list worthy experience" as well as praising it for its beautifully decorated rooms and friendly staff. All kit is provided for you to keep warm and comfortable, including insulated pyjamas, gloves and sleepwear. And despite the option for warm cabins, one user suggests its better just "staying one night in the cold room and staying in Kiruna for the next night" to save money.
Another way you can keep costs down in this otherwise expensive country is to take a tour. "The day tour guests get to see all the rooms...and pay considerably less", advises one TripAdvisor user.
All images: Courtesy of Icehotel