Icehotel: Art of Innovation Awakens

Andrea Hausold - Dec 29, 2008
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If it is possible to build a hotel of ice in a small village 200km inside the Arctic Circle, which strikes the whole world with amazement, then anything is possible. ICEHOTEL took form for the nineteenth year in the little village Jukkasjärvi.


Each year a new embodiment of the world-famous hotel is created. Thanks to visiting artists and creators from around the globe ICEHOTEL is a unique place to visit year to year. It is a parenthesis in time, which you can travel as long as it takes to reach. ICEHOTEL is power of innovation and modern design crossbred with genuine knowledge of architecture. It is a project with lofty ambitions, which leaves no one unmoved. To create in snow and ice is a new art form that allows you to explore, experiment and challenge your skills. Let yourself be inspired by spending time amongst the art.

Brave Tourists

The ice of ICEHOTEL is borrowed from the river each year. And it is here, on the river shores in the village of Jukkasjärvi that our story begins. The company Jukkas (present day ICEHOTEL) has been a tourist operator in the region since the 1970s. For many years, the company focused on the summer season and the magnificent outdoor experiences that the land of the midnight sun had to offer. During the dark winter the river was frozen and the people of the small village of Jukkasjärvi went into hibernation.

By the end of the 1980s it was decided to turn things around. Instead of viewing the dark and cold winter as a disadvantage, the unique elements of the arctic were to be regarded an asset. Inspired by the work of visiting Japanese ice artists, French artist Jannot Derit was invited to have the opening of his exhibition in a specially built igloo on the frozen Torne River in 1990. The igloo named Artic Hall was only 60 m3 large, yet it attracted many curious visitors to the area.

One night a group of foreign guests, equipped with reindeer hides and sleeping bags, decided it would be a good idea to use the cylindrical shaped igloo as accommodation. The following morning the brave group raved about the unique sensation of sleeping in an igloo. Hence, the concept of ICEHOTEL was born. A lot has happened since. Today ICEHOTEL is world famous for its unique concept, its fantastic works of art and its extraordinary experiences. The fairy tale nature of ICEHOTEL brings out the child in guests of all ages.


To live at ICEHOTEL is an experience that finds no resemblance. It is a must for the modern adventurer. As the outside temperature drops, the warm air in ICEHOTEL meets you as you set your foot in the doorway, dressed with reindeer skins. It never gets colder than –5° C (23 F), regardless of how cold it may be outside.

Before you climb into bed, you dress in warm thermal underwear, pull the hat over your ears and slip down into a comfortable sleeping bag on a bed built of blocks of ice, a thick mattress and reindeer skins. The phantasmagorical night is best spent with someone special.

During daytime ICEHOTEL is open to the public and everyone who wants can join a guided tour through the pillar hall, the suites and the ice rooms.

74 Rooms

ICEHOTEL 2008/2009 has seventy-four rooms and occupies an area of 5 500 square meters. The building material – nearly 21 500 m3 of snow and 900 tonnes of ice – is borrowed from the nature. The hotel is open from the 10th of December until the middle of April. When winter turns into spring, the loan is returned to nature and once again ICEHOTEL turns into the world’s most modern ruin.

Acquaint yourself with the entire range of activities offered by ICEHOTEL. Dine sumptuously in one of the restaurants. Discover how simple and comfortable it is to explore the unique, subarctic environment of Jukkasjärvi. Join a snowmobile, reindeer and dogsled safari along with experienced guides. Let the northern lights tickle your sensations, for example from the hot tub – while steaming water turns your hair into tiny icicles when meeting the clear air.

By Camilla Bondareva

Photo: ICEHOTEL (Ben Nielsson)

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