ICEHOTEL is the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow. Founded in 1989, it is reborn in a new guise every winter, in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi – 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. The Torne River, the arts, and creating a setting for life-enriching moments are at the heart of it all.
This winter season there is big news— a whole new ice experience to be enjoyed alongside our classic ICEHOTEL experience. ICEHOTEL 365 is a permanent structure that will include luxury suites, each with sauna and bathroom, and art suites, all sculptured by selected artists. As well as a large ice bar that serves champagne, and an ice gallery. This ice experience can be visited year-round and is cooled by solar panels during the summer months. ICEHOTEL 365 opens mid-November 2016.
The Torne River
With its impressive length of 520 kilometers, it runs from the ancient mountains in the west down to the coast in the east, where it f lows out into the Bay of Bothnia. As the largest of Sweden’s four national rivers it is rare – indeed, unique. One of the last untouched rivers in Europe. A wild river.
It’s the Torne River that provides Icehotel with its ice in winter – and in the summer when the hotel melts, the water returns to its source. Natural ice requires a lot of work – before it is harvested in the very beginning of spring, when it has grown its thickest, months are devoted to maintaining the “ice field” and keeping it clear of snow so that the ice can have the best possible conditions for growth. But in Jukkasjärvi, people think that the natural Arctic ice is worth the effort. “For us the natural beauty and unique story of each individual block of ice provides inspiration that can never be found in artificial ice,” says Petra W Lindh, who has been working at Icehotel for 20 years.
Hearts beat for art
When the first snow has sprinkled the whole of Jukkasjärvi with white, artists from all over the world come together in the village to take part in creating the art exhibition of snow, ice and light that makes up Icehotel.
“Icehotel is an art symposium in a class of its own. The energy released here when creative people from a wide variety of backgrounds and places meet the ice is almost tangible,” says Arne Bergh, partner and sculptor who’s been part of Icehotel since the start.
Icehotel is all about ice and creativity – with art as the result. That’s why the artists invited to take part are not required to have worked with ice before – they’re selected from among those who send in their ideas based on originality and creating it in real natural ice would pose a new challenge. Each year some 40 artists are taking part in Icehotel. The notion that several weeks’ hard work and months of planning and preparation culminate in something that only exists for a few months is in some respects a bittersweet feeling.
Icehotel was established as a brand internationally in the early 1990’s, following a successful brand partnership that went on for several years. Icehotel was awarded the top Nordic brand of the year – the Signum Prize – for its strategic brand management in 2014, and are also multiple winners of World Travel Awards in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The making of ICEHOTEL
When the cold arrives to the Arctic, the river also slows down and the landscape changes shape. This marks a period of intense activity on the shore in Jukkasjärvi – Icehotel is being reborn. “We see nature as our friend – we want to work with it rather than in spite of it. Sure, that means you can’t plan everything in detail, but at the same time that’s probably what makes it so much fun,” says Niklas Nyberg, who works in the construction team. Huge blocks of ice, weighing two tons apiece, were harvested from the river late the previous winter and have been stored in anticipation of the start of building. The drawings have been ready since May. At the end of November artists from all over the world come to Jukkasjärvi to be a part of Icehotel and turn their ideas into reality.
To be able to cast the building, “snice” is produced – a mixture of snow and ice made of water from the river. The snice is sprayed onto molds, which are removed once the structure has consolidated. It’s then finally time to continue the creative process inside the meter-thick walls. The aim is to use water from the Torne River as far as possible. The rooms are constructed in a classic, catenary arch shape, which is self-supporting and incredibly strong. Room after room is filled with snow and ice in the right amounts, so when the artists arrive they can get started and immediately turn their sketches into reality. Six weeks later it’s finished – with the work of many hands the river has changed shape and been transformed into art.
We suggest you choose the Cold room – Art Suite 365
Each suite is individually themed and hand carved by artists commissioned from around the world and a wide range of disciplines. Spending a night in Icehotel is a surreal experience and a memory for life. You are awakened in the morning with a cup of hot lingonberry juice at your bedside and a sauna session and hot shower awaits before breakfast. The art suites are part of the new concept Icehotel 365, available all year round thanks to a new specially designed building run on solar power.
The art suites, like the winter suites, are our individually designed and sculpted thematic suites. The artists, perhaps from Kiruna, Germany, UK or the US have been picked from over two-hundred applicants and invited to make the suite you’ll be sleeping in. Each suite is unique and has never been created before.
The room holds a temperature of -5 to -8 degrees Celsius. New for this year is that the suites are furnished with exclusive Carpe Diem Beds, that provide the best comfort. The bed is covered with reindeer hides and on top of this, you sleep in a thermal sleeping bag.
The room has doors with locks for your privacy. Your luggage is stored in the luggage storage room prior to your overnight stay. There are communal changing rooms, toilets and saunas for women and men in the warm section of Icehotel. A complimentary private changing booth is included when you book an art suite.
Launching November 2016, the concept Icehotel 365 make the sleeping-on-ice experience available to combine with fall and summer adventures as well as the classic winter excursions. The interior hold the same standard and visual design as the winter structure. The exterior in winter will have the same shape and look as the adjacent winter structure, and in summer, the arched roof will be covered in grass.