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 (click to enlarge slightly). This is the central corridor, from which four side corridors contain the rooms:
This is a sea-themed room. Note the reindeer skins on the bed which cover you at night:
And another room:
This is from a space-themed room:
This room had some casual chairs for guests:
And this one had a travel theme, with the bed in a boat:
The hotel is a popular wedding venue. This is the chapel built into the hotel this year:
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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