Discover the Mystical Winter Wonderland of Sweden’s Icehotel

by Brenna Kehew Sculley

by Amber Edwards
The Icehotel, situated in the modest town of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is an incredibly unique hotel that is rebuilt annually, melting back into nature each spring, and offering a new version each winter. It has become an alluring destination where the Torne River’s pristine waters freeze, providing massive ice blocks for artists to sculpt a truly original Icehotel.
Visiting Jukkasjärvi offers a unique and unforgettable experience.  There, you can enjoy the stunning Arctic landscape, a range of winter activities like dog sledding and Northern Lights viewing, and charming art and architecture throughout the region. For those curious to know just what a very cold room would be like to sleep in, this combination of art, nature, and culture makes the Icehotel a bucket list destination for travelers seeking an adventure.
The Icehotel’s ever-changing nature ensures a fresh and distinct stay every winter. The ice room has a classic design and holds a temperature of about -19to –25’F. You sleep covered in reindeer hides and in a thermal sleeping bag atop a thick mattress that rests on a wooden base. Instead of doors, the hotel rooms have curtains that you draw to give you and your company privacy.
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For those interested in permanence, there is also Icehotel 365, which offers visitors the option to stay in standard ice rooms or opt for more luxurious art suites, uniquely designed by artists worldwide. Each suite is a one-of-a-kind creation, providing an ephemeral and unforgettable experience. Visiting allows you to experience this Arctic wonder year-round. This permanent ice and snow structure includes a vast ice hall with attractions such as an art exhibit of hand-carved ice sculptures, a five-course Scandinavian menu, and the famous Ice Bar serving drinks in ice-carved glasses. This makes for a truly cool and memorable adventure, regardless of the season.
The Main Icehotel Restaurant has a lovely menu based on locally sourced ingredients. You can sample local delicacies like reindeer, moose, and arctic char here as well as lingonberries and cloudberries (which are in ample supply) and tiny almond potatoes.
For a very fine dining experience, you can eat at the Chef’s Table at the Veranda Restaurant.  The menu is themed to follow the 8 seasons of Swedish Lapland, and each course is cooked right in front of you.  With produce from the highest mountains and water from the deepest valleys. The menu will not be revealed beforehand, but every dish will be a surprise where all senses will be present in the experience.
Visiting Jukkasjärvi, Sweden is a unique experience, filled with activities and peaceful vistas. Connect with the Sámi culture at  Nutti Sámi Siida where you can go for a reindeer sleigh ride, guided hikes in the mountains, and fishing excursions. The Nutti Museum features a series of outdoor exhibits showcasing the life of a reindeer herder, along with traditional buildings from the past. The on-site shop offers books and handicrafts, while the cozy café, illuminated by a roaring log fire, serves hot drinks and lunch. The draw of this city and region lies in the Sámi and embracing the true beauty of nature.

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