26 Swedish Icehotels have previously come and gone – melted away back into the river they once came from……until now that is. From now on a permanent Icehotel will remain, even through the summer months, and in a strange twist of fate it is all thanks to the sun.
In 1989, Japanese ice artists visited the area around Jukkasjarvi in northern Sweden (actually 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle) and created an exhibition of ice art. In the spring 1990, French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a cylinder-shaped igloo in the same area. One night there were no rooms available in the town, so some of the visitors asked for permission to spend the night in the igloo at the exhibition hall. They slept in the igloo in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skins, and were the first guests of the "hotel".
Ever since then a hotel has been erected for the months from December to April. Spread over 64,000 sq ft when completed, the hotel features a bar, church, main hall, reception area, plus about 100 ‘cold and warm’ rooms for guests of which no cold room (or suite) is identical as each is individually designed by an artist, which also vary from year to year. All the water needed to erect the structure is taken from the nearby Torne River - to put it into perspective it basically uses the equivalent of 700 million snowballs to make it.
However another building has been constructed adjacent to the original Icehotel. This one is on a slightly smaller scale – spread over 2,100 sq ft – but still accommodates 9 deluxe suites with private sauna and bathroom in each suite, 11 art suites, and ice bar and an ice gallery; all hard carved by carefully selected artists from around the globe. The building is designed exquisitely and the hotel’s iconic vaulted architecture is combined with traditional building methods, which makes the exterior harmonise with the surroundings.
There is a major difference to this one though. This is permanent!
One thing about being situated so far north is that for all the winter months fail to generate much daylight, the opposite effect is found during the summer months where it is not unusual to have almost 100 days of sunlight from April to August……and when we say days we mean virtually full days, as the sun very rarely sets.
So to make sure that the hotel doesn’t reduce to a puddle during these months they have installed solar panels to harvest all this free sunlight. 600 sq metres of panels generate 130,000 kWh per year – way more than is actually needed to keep the hotel cool – the excess is used to power regular buildings in the area.
The inner walls are made from ice blocks, but for the building to remain year-round, the exterior walls are made of concrete (ok that is a little bit of cheating) and covered with a mixture of ice and snow. In order for the indoor temperature to be -5 degrees Celsius (which is what the creators have determined is the optimal temperature to preserve the ice and snow sculptures, as well as being a comfortable climate to reside in), the Icehotel has utilised the natural cold by drilling steel pipes into the permafrost, five meters below ground. The building is then thoroughly isolated so it won’t let the cold out or the heat in – essentially like a thermos.
For further information or to Make an inquiry or booking please visit the official Icehotel website here.