One night at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
The Ice Hotel at Jukkasjärvi in Artic Sweden really is something to behold.
Set beside the frozen river Torne, it is a hotel and art exhibition that melts with the coming of spring and reincarnated again in winter in a totally new guise.
There’s an ice chapel for ice weddings. An ice bar where you can drink from tumblers made from ice. And ice rooms where you can spend the night sleeping on beds made of ice.
Me and my daughter visited the Ice Hotel back in 2014.
We stayed in one of the basic rooms but got to see the more impressive ‘art suites’ on the complementary tour of the hotel that comes with every booking.
The art suites are created by artists from around the world, with designs chosen from an annual competition.
The rooms can crazy, innovative, creative or beautiful. The only requirement is that the design includes a bed and can be made solely from ice and snow.
Our favourite was the one that looked like a carriage on the London Underground.
So what’s it like actually staying at the Ice Hotel?
To be honest with you, the idea is better that the reality.
You can only go to your room when it’s time to sleep. You’ve got to leave all your stuff in a ‘dry’ building nearby and that’s where the toilets and showers are too. And while there’s a foam mattress picturesquely topped by a reindeer skin, you spend your night tangle up in a sleeping bag.
When the temperature drops below -30°C, believe me, it turns into a long old night.
The cup of hot lingenberry juice brought to you in the morning is a nice touch.
But even that is fraught with danger.
I rested mine on the ice table in my room and it melted rings into the surface.
Having said that, the sparkas (kicksleds) were a lot of fun.
They were left about the hotel for guests to use and my daughter and I were hardly off them. We did a circuit of the hotel, ventured out onto the frozen River Torne and even popped into the nearest town for a bite to eat. They were probably the best part of our stay.
So yeah, staying at the Ice Hotel is certainly a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience.
But with an emphasis on the ‘once’.
More information about the Ice Hotel
Icehotel Winter is open December – April
Tours of the Icehotel and art exhibition is complementary to all overnight guests. Day visitors can book and pay on the day of their visit.