At a Glance
Located 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Icehotel—the first of its kind in the world—is a two-part hotel that is built entirely from ice and packed snow. The property offers artistically designed but cold rooms (they are kept around 23 degrees Fahrenheit).
- The deluxe suites with en-suite bathrooms and saunas
- The multi-course ice menu at the hotel restaurant
- The concept of Icehotel’s temporary lodging, a hotel that is built each year and disappears when it melts in the spring
Icehotel was first conceived of in 1990, when a group of travelers arrived at ARTic Hall, an art hall made entirely from ice. Desperate for accommodations when all the hotels in town were booked, they asked if they could spend the night. ARTic Hall founder Yngve Bergqvist agreed and provided reindeer skins and sleeping bags. The next day, the guests raved about their experience and Yngve decided to invest in the idea and in 1990, he opened the first hotel made entirely of ice.
Icehotel has since spawned several similar hotels around the world. The original property is actually made up of two hotels set on the banks of the Torne River, where ice for the hotel is sourced every winter. Icehotel 365 is open year-round, and implements solar power to keep the lobby, bar and 20 suites at a frosty 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Icehotel 28 (the name’s number changes annually to reflect how many years it has been open), is the seasonal hotel that operates during the winter and closes once it and its 35 rooms have melted. The most luxurious rooms are Icehotel 365’s deluxe suites, which boast en-suite bathrooms and saunas; those staying in other rooms will need to walk to reception to use the facilities and access their luggage. Guests are provided with cozy sleeping bags that will keep them warm overnight. While an overnight in one of the cold rooms is what makes Icehotel so unique, guests who are staying more than one night should stay in a kaamos (warm) room. While simple, they are a fine place to lay your head after a day exploring the Arctic. Families with kids should book a kaamos as a back-up, just in case their ice room is too cold.
One of the most interesting aspects of Icehotel is its design, which is constantly being updated. The rooms are decorated by renowned international artists and the aesthetic is often inspired by unique and quirky elements, like a Victorian library or psychedelic mushrooms. As the rooms function as art installations as well as accommodations, they are open for public tours from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, during which time they are closed to guests.
The hotel’s main restaurant serves a breakfast and lunch buffet of local food. Dinner is an ice-themed prix-fixe or à la carte menu prepared by Michelin-trained chef Alexander Meier. Icehotel also offers the casual Jukkasjärvi Homestead, a rustic eatery in an old timber building set a short drive from the property. Here, patrons can savor comfort food like burgers.
Who Should Stay
Adventurous, daring travelers with the Icehotel on their bucket list.
Written by Rose Allen