What's better than an annual ice hotel that lets frost-loving travellers stay in snowy surrounds every winter? A chilly accommodation provider that offers all of the above all year round. After falling into the former category since 1989, Sweden's Icehotel has made the leap to the latter. Yes, that means that you can now head to the village of Jukkasjärvi, check into rooms moulded from snow and ice, and enjoy keeping cool — in several senses of the word — every day of the year.
Unsurprisingly, it's the world's first permanent place to stay of its kind, and there's more in store for anyone visiting the not-so-humble abode on the banks of the Torne River 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. The new venture covers 2,100 square metres and features 20 ice suites, a champagne ice bar and an ice art gallery. Among the sights you'll see within the appropriately named Icehotel 365's frosty -5°C walls: private saunas and spas for an added touch of warmth in such cold surroundings, and artist, architect and designer-fashioned rooms inspired by everything from fairy tales to dancing — and featuring ice chandeliers and winding ice staircases, too. Plus, the gallery also boasts the largest permanent art exhibition north of Stockholm.
Stopping the year-round attraction from turning to slush is when summer comes and near-constant daylight hits is a solar-powered undulating roof that achieves a particularly impressive feat: harnessing the warmth from above to maintain the requisite cold state below. That makes the venue sustainable as well as icily spectacular, in case it needed any more drawcards.
Icehotel's seasonal section will continue as normal, with the non-permanent part of the site built when the weather starts to cool each year and then melts when the sun comes out. And with good reason: in previous years, artists have crafted rooms that riff on Tron: Legacy, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 1920s cult horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, UFOs and giant sea monsters, to name a few previous themes.
For more information about Icehotel, visit www.icehotel.com.
Images: Asaf Kliger.
Published on December 11, 2016 by Sarah Ward