This post has been sponsored by Best Served Scandinavia
Every so often it is fun to write about a place I’d like to visit, rather than somewhere I’ve already been. One such place is the ultra-cool (in all senses of the word) IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland. I asked Liberty Barrons, of Best Served Scandinavia, to tell me about her experience of staying in the IceHotel.
What is the IceHotel?
Liberty explained that “The IceHotel is a seasonal hotel open in Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland, during the winter months. It is constructed from ice cut from the Torne River, and snow as well, with very few other materials. In the summer, the temperature is too warm for the hotel to survive, so it is taken down and melted back into the river. Every year, new ice sculptors and other artists are brought in to design and build new rooms with different themes”.
She went on to say that the IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi was the first of its kind, opened in 1989. However others have been built since, in Norway, Finland and Canada. And later this year Jukkasjärvi will have a new hotel – IceHotel 365. As the name suggests, this one will be open all year round, housed in an eco-friendly cooled building. It is being billed as the “largest art exhibit north of Sweden”!
I asked Liberty to tell me a bit about the area and how you can get to the IceHotel. She said: “The ICEHOTEL is in a place called Jukkasjärvi, a small Swedish village a few hundred kilometres north of the Arctic circle, near the mining town of Kiruna. The best way to get there is to fly to Kiruna airport – this involves a stop in Stockholm if you are flying from the UK. After that, the transfer is around 20 minutes and can be provided by the hotel. The flights are always indirect but the connection time is short so the journey goes quite quickly. Plus, you get beautiful views of the arctic from the plane and maybe a glimpse of the Northern Lights if you’re flying in darkness”.
One way to experience the IceHotel is to take a four day package from Stockholm with Best Served Scandinavia.
What is it Really Like to Stay in the IceHotel?
It all sounds lovely, I said, but isn’t it cold sleeping in an ice room? Apparently not: “The temperature is around -5 degrees Celsius inside the hotel. However, with outside temperatures well below -25 degrees, it doesn’t feel as cold as you would think! People that have slept in the ice rooms have said they have actually woken up too warm in the night, as you are given arctic sleeping bags and sleep on top of a reindeer hide.” (The hotel provides you with thermal clothing and a special sleeping bag.)
Of course, there is much more to the experience than just sleeping in an ice room. I’ve been to Swedish Lapland myself and I know that it is a very special place. IceHotel has a whole range of activities to help guests to get the most from their visit. Liberty said her favourite was the moose safari on horseback. She added: “The Northern Lights snowmobile safari is also incredible – you can easily get away from any light pollution on a snowmobile, making the aurora that much brighter and increasing the chances that you’ll be able to discern more colours with the naked eye.”
There’s plenty more to choose from – if I visited I’d want to try the Ice Sculpture, or the Wilderness Meal.
Spectacular Ice Carvings
And finally, I asked, what is unique about a stay in the IceHotel. Liberty told me, “Well, you’re sleeping in a hotel made completely of ice, and there are not many places in the world where you can do that! The carvings and art within the Art Suites are truly spectacular and will leave you wondering how on earth they were created – think a giant life size elephant made entirely of ice, or a fully functioning swing (again made of ice) in your own room. A nice touch is being woken up in the morning with a hot lingonberry juice.”
It all sounds amazing!