A First Look Inside the Stunning New Suites of Sweden’s Icehotel
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Would you sleep in a room sculpted entirely out of ice and snow? In a remote corner of Swedish Lapland, high up in the Arctic Circle, the Icehotel just unveiled the 29th annual incarnation of its artist-designed rooms.
Though there is a permanent part of the property that stays open year-round, every year, 15 to 20 suites are designed and built out of snow and ice from the Torne River, which then melt back into the river in April. As TPG news editor Emily McNutt noted in her review of the Icehotel, "Each room really is a work of art, and being able to interact with it and to sleep in it was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Out of 150 applications, 34 artists from 13 countries were chosen to execute their designs for the new rooms, including a ceremony hall for weddings and other events in the main building. A whopping 30,000 cubic meters of snice (that's what they call the mixture of snow and ice) were used for the floors, ceilings and walls — the equivalent of 110 million popsicles. The enormous chandeliers are made of 1,000 ice crystals that were sculpted and mounted by hand. Each artist-designed room is a totally distinct space.
"We are inspired by the meeting of people and want to create an experience that invites curiosity, creativity and collaboration. It feels like a dream to get to work with ice that allows our love for light, shine and reflection to wander free from thought to creation," Jonas Johansson, one of the artists involved in the project, said in a statement.
Every year, the project begins in March, when 2,500 tons of ice are harvested from the Torne River and stored until October, when the sculpting begins. The artists travel from as far away as India and New Zealand to create the frozen masterpieces, which are constructed over the course of two weeks before the start of the winter season.
Guests staying at the Icehotel can go cross-country skiing, ice fishing, reindeer sledding and, naturally, try their hand at ice sculpting. Other popular (albeit quite pricey) activities include snowmobile safaris to see the Northern Lights, and trips to the Nutti Sámi Siida, a museum in the town of Jukkasjärvi that offers a glimpse into the native Sámi culture and a chance to feed reindeer. And if you do book a stay at the Icehotel, don't miss a visit to the Icebar, where creative cocktails are served in glasses made out of ice.
Just keep in mind that these ice suites are, well, a little chilly: 23 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. So be sure to pack plenty of layers and bundle up in your Icehotel-supplied snowsuit and sleeping bag. Even then, you might wake up with a numb face. Fortunately, Icehotel staff members will arrive at your door early in the morning with a hot cup of lingonberry juice to warm you up.
Interested in booking a stay? Because the Icehotel isn't part of any awards program, consider using a travel rewards card such as the Citi Prestige Card, which gives you 3x points on hotel stays (you might also want to use the fourth-night free perk if you’re going to stay for a long weekend) or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, also for 3x points.