This year marks the 25th anniversary of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden’s Ice Hotel — that’s a quarter of a century of people willingly sleeping upon glacial beds in below freezing temperatures. It takes 30,000 tonnes of ice and snow collected from the nearby Torne River to construct the 64,000 square foot hotel, which operates for about four months each year.
As the first and largest of its kind, the Ice Hotel has grown to include 61 rooms, a bar, movie theatre and even a chapel where venturesome couples tie the knot.
Each year, around 50 artists from around the world are chosen to design 16 art suites. This year’s creations were particularly innovative. The ‘Spring’ suite by Wilfred Stijger and Edith Van De Wetering appears as though it has water droplets trickling down its walls.
‘Borderland’ by Tomaz Czajkowski and Eryk Marks includes an intricately carved bed inspired by Polish folk-art.
Charli Kasselbäck and John Bark used three-dimensional typography to adorn their ‘Hot Type’ suite.
During the peak season from December to March, a single night in an art suite costs 4,700 Swedish Kroner or about $580 USD. The slightly more affordable snow and ice rooms are priced between $333 and $456.
The temperature inside the hotel hovers around -5°C and there is no indoor plumbing. Guests are provided with cold weather sleeping bags and in the morning, they awake to hot lingonberry juice. While the ice is novel for a night or so, most travellers opt to spend the remainder of their stays in the adjacent, well-heated hotel.
There are numerous activities available to the 55,000 tourists who visit the Ice Hotel each year — horseback riding, snowmobiling, ice sculpting, cross country skiing, dogsledding and Northern Lights viewing.
Thinking of planning a trip? It’s best to pack your long johns as temperatures in Jukkasjärvi, located 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, range from about -6 to -16°C during the winter months.