Every winter since 1989, the small Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi has transformed water from the Torne River into the Icehotel — the world’s premier Arctic accommodation.
Then every spring, it melts.
Välkommen, Icehotel 365, a year-round, solar-powered ice hotel featuring 20 suites, an ice bar and an art gallery of — you guessed it — ice art. Warm and cold rooms are both available, but the frozen counterparts are the stars of the show, each featuring unique hand-carved ice creations such as “a 1920s era interactive story, a maze, a forest of crystals and a riff on Gustav Klimt's ‘The Kiss.’”
Before flying off to the winter wonderland, Icehotel wants you to know a few things. First, while they do furnish the rooms with beds covered in reindeer hides and thermal sleeping bags, you still need to bring appropriate clothing (read: thermal underwear). And while sleeping in a cocoon of ice is the raison d'être, they do recommend booking a few of your nights in a warm room as well.
You might be thinking, “Well, if they can make an ice hotel viable year-round in Sweden, surely they'll do it soon in America.” Sorry, friend, you’ve got to make the trek for this experience. Jukkasjärvi sits 124 miles north of the Arctic Circle, which made the original Icehotel feasible in the first place. But for Icehotel 365, it means the 100 days during the summer when the sun never fully sets provide extra fodder for the solar panels.
And even if there was an ice hotel of this caliber in closer proximity, being in Sweden is half the fun. Guests are given the chance to dip in the very river where ice was harvested to build the hotel and take half-day wilderness survival courses (if staying in a palace that would delight Mr. Freeze isn’t enough adventure for you).
If you want something less permafrosted, the good ol' temporary Icehotel is still going strong (for the 27th year).
As for Icehotel 365, it’ll be there for you whenever you need respite from a tolerable climate.