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ICEHOTEL entrance, Jukkasjärvi
Photo: Hans-Olof Utsi/imagebank.sweden.se

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ICEHOTEL

The tiny town of Jukkasjärvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, is home to the iconic art project ICEHOTEL . Madness it may be, but it is a unique, world-famous madness and a totally inspiring venture.

How did it all start? … It’s 1989. There’s an ice and snow sculpture art course in the village of Jukkasjärvi – pronounced ‘you-kas-yayr-vi’ (try saying that with a reindeer salami in your mouth). A snow house has been built as the art course venue. But there’s a sudden shortage of accommodation. What to do? Easy. Stick them in the snow house with the frozen art, of course: give them sleeping bags; survivalist advice; tips on toilet trip management on ice; and a sauna in the morning to burn off the frostbite … And the ICEHOTEL was born.

Now, every winter, ice is cut from the frozen Torne River in Jukkasjärvi. Builders and artists get to work with mammoth sized ice blocks and at the end of frenzied months of chopping, cutting, sculpting and probably a lot of schnapps drinking, you get one ICEHOTEL and an ICEBAR. And a lot of tendonitis injuries. Then to add insult to injury, it melts every spring! But that is the joy of the ICEHOTEL. You get a new hotel and art installation every year.

ICEHOTEL 365 is a permanent structure that will include luxury suites, each with sauna and bathroom, and art suites, all sculptured by selected artists. As well as a large ice bar that serves champagne, and an ice gallery. This ice experience can be visited year-round and is cooled by solar panels during the summer months.

Tips?

Get married here. Take guided Northern Lights tours, try ice sculpting, ice fishing, husky sleighing, moose watching or a snowmobile safari. Or even check out the nearby Esrange spacecenter in Kiruna. And be sure to book your stay at the ICEHOTEL up to a year in advance. The ICEHOTEL is full year-in, year-out and not the type of place to turn up outside the door looking for a room. There is an excellent hostel close to the hotel. ABSOLUT ICEBAR fans can also visit replica icebars in London and Stockholm.