Travel | September 14, 2016 9:00 am

Ice Hotel Stays Open All Year-Round With Solar Power

So crazy it just might work

For almost 30 years, the Icehotel has reigned as a must-see pop-up hotel: an ephemeral, winter-only travel experience made possible by (literally) Arctic conditions. Located over 100 miles north of the Arctic Cirle, in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, the Icehotel — built of ice blocks quarried from the nearby Torne River — springs to life every November, only to melt at the end of the season. Consider it a hotelier’s cross between Burning Man and the suitably dark Scandinavian children’s classic, The Ice Palace, about a girl who gets lost in a frozen waterfall and freezes to death. 

Times, though, are changing — and this year, the hotel team behind the Icehotel will debut a project adjacent to it: Icehotel 365, which will, like the original, open its doors in November … but this one won’t come down (read: melt) as the weather heats up. 

Icehotel 365 will offer 20 suites across a nearly 13,000-square-foot space: nine “luxury” suites with saunas and 11 “art” suites, with features carved by ice sculptors. The management team promises that Icehotel 365 will “be filled with ice and snow from the Torne River [and] with the arrival of winter, it will become a permanent ice experience, and part of the classic Icehotel.” 

To maintain those snowy features, staff will use solar power to cool the facility: “It really couldn’t be any simpler,” says Hans Eek, a sustainable construction expert working on the project, in a press release announcing the hotel’s debut. “We use the physics of Isaac Newton – the same that we normally use to make energy efficient housing that keeps the cold out, only in this project we use it in reverse.” The backers expect to create an energy surplus, which will be used to power other permanent structures, including staff quarters and offices.  

The result: a snow-and-ice trip under the Midnight Sun … and 365 days of bookings for the hotel. Everybody wins!

Note: We’ve reached out to the Icehotel team for more information on these Newtonian physics and how they’ll help cool down the facility. We’ll update with those details as soon as they show. 

Main image: Icehotel/Asaf Kliger. Additional images (top to bottom) by Icehotel/Nicolas Triboulot, Icehotel/Asaf Kliger, Icehotel/Paulina Holmgren,  Icehotel/PinPin Studio, and Icehotel/PinPin Studio.