Sweden's Iconic ICE HOTEL
Touriosity Travelmag|June 2020
200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle one finds the famous Ice Hotel of Jukkasjärvi. Situated in the Kiruna Municipality, in Norrbotten County of Sweden, Jukkasjärvi is a small village with about 1,500 people and an equal number of dogs as the permanent population. The IceHotel is its greatest claim to fame.

While most hotels are built to last for years, with maybe some refurbishment from time to time, this hotel is an exception. While there are many ice hotels today, this one is claimed to be the ‘original Ice Hotel’ and was conceived way back in the 1980s and in 1989 they opened the doors to the first guests. Since then every winter the hotel has been given new shape and designs. Over the years the footfalls have also gone up.

The hotel is not a permanent structure, it is built in a new design each time. To begin with, here’s the story of how this hotel is built every year. About 40 artists from around the world come together every winter. A new design thus comes up on the empty riverbank. The water of River Torne freezes and chunks are cut out from there to build a unique hotel. It would be open to guests for the winter months. In Spring, the hotel begins to melt and the water returns to the river. To accommodate visitors all the year-round, in 2016, the hotel built a permanent structure where guests can stay 365 days of the year.

The Ice Hotel of Jukkasjärvi is a unique art exhibition in itself. There are beautiful sculptures and carvings all around. The hotel authorities provide guided tours today visitors who come here mainly to admire the various themed rooms (each one is different, with beautifully carved ice sculptures), its chapel (where weddings take place) and the ice and nice carvings in the passages.

One can also visit the Ice Bar and have a drink that is served on an Ice Glass. The whole bar is made from ice, including the chairs, tables and the glasses the drinks are served in. But the drinks are a little on the expensive side. So one may rather drink only for experience! Also it is important to consider the fact that alcohol thins the blood. So, in case if one plans to stay in the Ice Hotel overnight, he could end up feeling colder at night.

There are about 20 Ice Rooms and 15 Art Suites in the hotel. Inside the rooms the beds are made of blocks of ice and are beautifully sculpted on the sides. Reindeer hides cover the beds to protect one from the ice blocks. Guests are asked not to place anything on the bedside table as the same may get frozen overnight. Despite the fluctuating outside weather, the temperature in the room is maintained steady at -5°C. Guests are recommended to sleep in thermal innerwear only inside the thermal sleeping bags that are provided by the hotel. The clothes and other belongings are kept safely stored in the lockers of the adjacent heated building.

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