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My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

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After two days of serious articles about the future of Avios and BA Executive Club, I thought we’d do something lighter today.

I visited the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden yesterday and thought you might like to see some pictures and a video.  We didn’t plan to come here but it turned out to be near to where we are staying so we took a trip over.

What most people who have only seen the odd random photo don’t understand is that Icehotel is really three hotels in one.  You have:

the temporary, annual, Icehotel, created from scratch each November by a team of artists – many of whom have not worked in ice before – flown in from around the world (whilst we were there, they were cutting ice blocks from the river behind the hotel to put in storage for this November)

the permanent Icehotel 365, which looks like the temporary Icehotel when you are inside but is actually a standard concrete block building with an exceptionally strong cooling system!

a standard hotel which, in this part of the world, means a collection of simple wooden cabins, very similar to what we are staying in ourselves in Kiruna

You do NOT stay in the Icehotel for your full stay.  It is obviously impractical.  Most people book a cabin for a few nights and then choose to spend a night on the ice, with all of their luggage etc remaining in the cabin or, if it is the first or last night, in storage.

The temporary Icehotel is just a collection of rooms plus a wedding chapel.  Icehotel 365 contains the Icebar and some larger, and arguably more impressive, rooms.  The standard hotel has the usual mix of bars and lounges.

Day visitors are welcome.  The hotels are empty during the day with the rooms left open as guests move across from their cabins in the evening and leave at breakfast.  A family ticket for four to tour both Icehotels was 699 Kr (£60).

(I cannot begin to explain how expensive most things are in Lapland.  The 10-minute taxi ride from the station to our hotel was £30.  All of the hotel activities, eg husky riding, are £500 – £1000 for a family of four for a 3-4 hour trip.  Using the hotel pool costs £90 for the four of us – it is not included in the room rate – because it is technically in the spa.  The shuttle bus ride to the Icehotel, 15 minutes each way, cost over £100 return for the four of us.  And so on.  If you have any concept of the value of money you should leave it at the airport.  The best one was when we found that our hotel charges £20 to sit in the lobby in the evening because you have a decent view through the windows of the Northern Lights should they turn up.)

You need to treat Icehotel as an art gallery rather than a hotel.  And, from that perspective (since it is clearly hopeless as hotel, having no facilities other than blocks of ice to sleep on) it is a huge success.

I made a video of some of the more impressive rooms which you can find below.  Here are some photos.  This is the central corridor, from which four side corridors contain the rooms:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

This is a sea-themed room.  Note the reindeer skins on the bed which cover you at night:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Another room:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

This is from a space-themed room:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

This room had some casual chairs for guests:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

This one had a travel theme, with the bed in a boat:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

The hotel is a popular wedding venue.  This is the chapel built into the hotel this year:

My trip to the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

I’m genuinely not sure I’d want to spend a night here.  As a work of art it is fantastic, but as somewhere to stay ….?  The cabins in the main hotel are also low on luxury, but this tends to be the ‘back to nature’ style in this part of the world and we have something similar at our own cabin at our hotel.

For a better view of the hotel, take at look at the video below.  This also includes some shots of Icehotel 365, the all-year hotel next door.  If you can’t see the video below, you will find it on our You Tube page here.  You can also subscribe to our channel via the same link.

The hotel website is here if you want to find out more.  Kiruna Airport handles 2-3 daily flights from Stockholm from SAS and, depending on season, Norwegian.

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Comments (42)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Richmond says:

    Renting a car in Kiruna airport is not that expensive and then you don’t have to pay for tansfers. Visited Kiruna twice, once by public transport from Tromso and second time flew via Stockholm on SAS. From Tromso there’s a bus to Narvik and then train to Kiruna.

    It can be done on reasonable budget and enjoyed.

    Regarding Saariselka, it’s expensive but I had excellent reindeer steak there and by London standards price wasn’t shocking.

  • Paddy says:

    Apologies, this is completely off topic – does anyone know whether Club World seat selection charges get refunded when upgrading the reward flight to First using more Avios?

  • pablo fonseca domingo panto says:

    This countries surrounding the north pole are very expensive.
    I once went to norway, and a baguette was £26 and a bottle of coke £5.
    I suppose this is what happens you pay your cleaners £30 an hour. Well paid people causes skyhigh inflation.
    it is very nice to see this hotel in all its glory but the price point is too high for me. For others, I hope they can enyoy their stay.

  • Curious says:

    Hi Rob, I’m genuinely curious. Why choose to go here? Was it imperative? Are there no better locations for the Easter break with your children? (I’m thinking of the vast array of European choice on our doorstep)

    • Rob says:

      Wife’s idea, ask her 🙂 I just went along with it.

    • Chris says:

      Even Rob is unable to respond… pffff…

      @Curious, may I return the question and ask why you would go somewhere else? Perhaps a diving trip to the Red Sea (or say the Mediterranean if you’d like to stay within Europe) or a cultural trip to Rome?

      There is lots to see and experience in this area, in particular Kiruna I find very interesting. The snowy landscape is beautiful and peaceful, you can go hiking, dogsledding, go on skidoo trips, (organised) camping trips, may see the polar lights, … Kiruna has the largest iron ore mine in the world and where else can you see an entire city being moved and planned in a modern way (because of the mine)?

      What I want to say is that this is everything but a dull place. I’ve been there already but during January, when you get the (almost) polar night on top whilst being a student and I loved it (and I’ve been again). It’s not as easy affordable as other places, but certainly doable if you plan a little ahead.

      But I can see that this location is not a place for everyone.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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