Ice hotel is the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow. Founded in 1989, it is reborn in a new guise every winter, in the Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi – 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. The Torne River, the arts, and creating a setting for life-enriching moments are at the heart of it all.
This winter season there is big news— a whole new ice experience to be enjoyed alongside our classic Ice hotel experience. ICE HOTEL 365 is a permanent structure that will include luxury suites, each with private relax 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.
Hearts beat for art
When the first snow has sprinkled the whole of Jukkasjärvi with white, artists from all over the world come together in the village to take part in creating the art exhibition of snow, ice and light that makes up Ice hotel.
“Ice hotel is an art symposium in a class of its own. The energy released here when creative people from a wide variety of backgrounds and places meet the ice is almost tangible,” says Arne Bergh, partner and sculptor who’s been part of Ice hotel since the start.
Ice hotel is all about ice and creativity – with art as the result. That’s why the artists invited to take part are not required to have worked with ice before – they’re selected from among those who send in their ideas based on originality and creating it in real natural ice would pose a new challenge. Each year some 40 artists are taking part in Ice hotel. The notion that several weeks’ hard work and months of planning and preparation culminate in something that only exists for a few months is in some respects a bittersweet feeling.
The river was also the core when the idea to Ice hotel was born. The summers in Jukkasjärvi were popular among tourists and a variety of activities such as river rafting and other wilderness activities were arranged, but the winters were long and cold. But Yngve Bergqvist, that later founded Ice hotel, got an idea. Inspired by the Japanese ice sculpting tradition and with the help of two professional ice sculptors from Japan as instructors; he invited artists to attend a workshop in Jukkasjärvi in 1989. This marked the start of a more than two-decade long journey with the Torne River- the world’s first hotel made of ice and snow.
Ice hotel was established as a brand internationally in the early 1990’s, following a successful brand partnership that went on for several years. Ice hotel was awarded the top Nordic brand of the year – the Signum Prize – for its strategic brand management in 2014, and are also multiple winners of World Travel Awards in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The making of ICE HOTEL
When the cold arrives to the Arctic, the river also slows down and the landscape changes shape. This marks a period of intense activity on the shore in Jukkasjärvi – Ice hotel is being reborn. “We see nature as our friend – we want to work with it rather than in spite of it. Sure, that means you can’t plan everything in detail, but at the same time that’s probably what makes it so much fun,” says Niklas Nyberg, who works in the construction team. Huge blocks of ice, weighing two tons apiece, were harvested from the river late the previous winter and have been stored in anticipation of the start of building. The drawings have been ready since May. At the end of November artists from all over the world come to Jukkasjärvi to be a part of Ice hotel and turn their ideas into reality.
To be able to cast the building, “snice” is produced – a mixture of snow and ice made of water from the river. The snice is sprayed onto molds, which are removed once the structure has consolidated. It’s then finally time to continue the creative process inside the meter-thick walls. The aim is to use water from the Torne River as far as possible. The rooms are constructed in a classic, catenary arch shape, which is self-supporting and incredibly strong. Room after room is filled with snow and ice in the right amounts, so when the artists arrive they can get started and immediately turn their sketches into reality. Six weeks later it’s finished – with the work of many hands the river has changed shape and been transformed into art.
Browse our rooms and rates. We offer warm and cold accommodation and we recommend you to book one night cold and a couple warm, starting or ending with the cold night. We also provide overnight wilderness excursions.
Cold room – Art Suite 365
Each suite is individually themed and hand carved by artists commissioned from around the world and a wide range of disciplines. Spending a night in Ice hotel is a surreal experience and a memory for life. You are awakened in the morning with a cup of hot loganberry juice at your bedside and a sauna session and hot shower awaits before breakfast. The art suites are part of the new concept Ice hotel 365, available all year round thanks to a new specially designed building run on solar power.
Warm room – Kaamos
The hotel rooms are spacious and comfortable with a calm feel. Natural materials are complemented by organic shades of white, grey and brown. All rooms are ground floor level with spruce and birth as your next door neighbors.
Life Enriching Moments
A hotel and art exhibition made of ice from the river Torne, each year reincarnated in a brand new design. A place to discover silence, northern lights, glistening snow clad forests, reindeer, cloud berries, kettle coffee and much more.