The ICEHOTEL is the world’s largest hotel built entirely of ice and snow. Located in the hamlet of Jukkasjarvi, it was also the first of its kind. While Jukkasjarvi is a small village of just 1,100 people (and 1,000 dogs, the website helpfully points out), each year more than 50,000 visitors arrive to see the ICEHOTEL and experience the Northern Lights. The construction of the hotel and its centerpiece ICEBAR begins between March and April each year, when more than 5,000 tons of ice are harvested from the Torne River. The ice is kept in cold storage during the spring and summer and then building begins in November. The hotel is open from December through mid-April, before the entire structure is returned to the Torne River once again.
While the basic structure of the hotel is consistent, visiting artists and designers lend different touches to it each year, making it an always new and unique attraction. It is, according to the website, “beautiful and ephemeral, changing yet consistent.” The ICEBAR, too, is different every year and is designed separately. This year, the bar was produced by sculptor Maurizio Perron from Italy, architect Viktor Tsarski from Bulgaria and Wouter Biegelaar from the Netherlands. “We wanted to celebrate the 25th ICEBAR, the heart of the ICEHOTEL, with a big bang. BOOOM! is an ice explosion where sharp ice blocks shoot through the dome. Where the ice clashes to the wall waving splashes of snow appear,” the trio said in urdesign.
Want to stay for a night at the ICEHOTEL? It will be chilly. Luckily, there are both warm and cold accommodation options, with most guests choosing a combination of the two. You receive a survival guide and are given a sleeping bag that is rated down to -25 degrees Celsius (-13 degrees F). The temperature inside the hotel never dips below -5 degrees Celsius (25 degrees F), so there is no need to worry. Once you stay a night in the cold, you are given a diploma and warmer accommodation.
Photos by Viktor Tsarsis