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ICEHOTEL exteriorHot as Ice

The World’s Original ICEHOTEL is Still on Fire

By Paul Rubio

While it may sound like the fantasy of urban legends, the world’s original ICEHOTEL in remote Jukkasjärvi, Sweden is very much a reality. What appears to be the palace of Candy Land’s Queen Frostine exists a living playground of wintry mix for the select travelers who trek to visit Santa’s neighbors.

The ICEHOTEL feels as surreal as it sounds. Constructed each autumn from 10,000 tons of ice sourced deep in the Torne River, blocks are shaped, tweaked, mixed with 30,000 tons of snow, and applied to an ever-changing architectural vision of the ICEHOTEL Empire. In the same fashion that ice sculptors carve the inspirational designs that grace wedding tables, this figurine formula is multiplied 1000-fold to create an entire ice enclave, where the ice pieces that once impressed you are now merely ornamental.

Ice SculptureThe ICEHOTEL boasts all the amenities and commonalities of other hotels – yet in frozen form. The stunning chandeliers, the fur-clad lobby couches, the reception desk, the beds, the chairs, the walls, the artwork are all made of ice. The overgrown frosty assembly forms spectacular patterns of bizarre blues and whites that represent any and every possible color combination in the process between pure liquid and pure solid.

The ice suites themselves are miniature portals of artistic integrity. Each suite is designed and executed by a different artist ever year, with bespoke and eccentric themes ranging from a recreation of “Gotham City” to a living dollhouse to 2008’s “Coming Out” suite. The fruits of genius and obsession are evident in the minute creative details that fill the rooms – wall etchings, baroque patterns, life-sized ice pets, carvings at different depths to add color dimensions. Meandering through the oversized frozen furnishings and accessories plays out like a deleted scene from Alice in Wonderland where Alice becomes lost in grandma’s Swarovski crystal cabinet.

Nevertheless, freezing your ass off at temperatures below 23 degrees Fahrenheit is just half the fun; the imaginative methods for keeping warm are the other half. The ICEBAR’s rainbow-colored cocktails are the panacea of Main Hallchoice for patrons eager to infuse their veins with Absolut vodka at the ideal temperature. A series of jumping jacks and clumsy attempts at exercise in four layers, a snow suit, and snow boots are surefire ways to raise your body temperature before stripping down and jumping into your sleeping bag (which is layered over reindeer skin and slabs of ice). And, of course, it’s human nature to act out the most impure of thoughts on the purest of ice, and by far the best way to remember the ICEHOTEL. It’s an accomplishment that ranks even higher than the Mile High Club. But if your carnal lust grows too sinful, simply confess next door at the ICEHOTEL Church, which hosted its first gay wedding in 2009.

The only two things you can’t do in the Ice Hotel are “number one” and “number two.” For those who were envisioning a joyous time on their ice throne and having deep thoughts about plumbing, think again. BedroomThe warm welcome center across the frozen terrain is home to the luggage storage, the showers, toilets, Internet access, and a place to load up on warm Loganberry juice when your testicles have formed a new Adam’s apple in your throat. If you are quick to become an ICEBAR fly, it’s highly likely you will need to find your way to the welcome center in the wee hours, shivering in your pajamas (the snow suits are collected before bedtime). Exploring a lost world of stark white half-asleep and halfcrocked feels like a mind-blowing acid trip engineered by DC Comics super villain, Mr. Freeze.

While visiting the ICEHOTEL is an once-ina-lifetime experience, the novelty of sleeping in subfreezing temperatures wears off after 24 to 48 hours. Knowing this, the ICEHOTEL offers comfortable, heated wooden Aurora chalets nearby to enjoy the hotels’ activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice carving, and reindeer sledding, with the option of returning to a toasty sanctuary! For the ultimate chill experience at the ICEHOTEL, visit www.icehotel.com or call +46 (0) 980 66 800. 

















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