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While most hotels undergo makeovers, very few get upgraded as frequently as the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Constructed entirely from a mixture of snow and ice, or “snice,” the structure has been rebuilt from the ground up every year since 1989, with each rendition more stunning than the previous. The 28th ICEHOTEL, which opened for business on December 15, is no exception.
The seasonal hotel’s 19 intricately sculpted, thematic suites are the work of artists that have been carefully selected from over two hundred applicants from around the world. This year’s rooms feature fluffy cumulus clouds, a pair of astronauts, and even King Kong – all carved from “snice,” of course.
Each 290-square-foot (27-square-meter) suite sleeps between 2-4 guests, enabling couples and families to share a room. To ensure visitors are comfortable, in the below freezing –23 to –18 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, the beds are covered in reindeer hides. Guests are also advised to wear thermal underwear and sleep inside the hotel-provided thermal sleeping bags. While there is a private changing room, the bathrooms and showers are located in the adjacent conventional hotel, which is open year-round.
Creating such icy splendor is no easy task. Preparation for each ICEHOTEL begins in March, when about 5,000 tons of ice is harvested from the nearby Torne River and placed in cold storage. Construction begins in earnest in late October when approximately 100 workers, half of them artists, descend upon the region. The transient hotel usually opens for business in late November, or early December, and melts by April of the following year.
Guests wishing to experience the freezing rooms during the warmer spring and summer months now have the option of staying at the year-old ICEHOTEL365. Constructed from 1,000 cubic meters — the equivalent of 20 million snowballs — of “snice,” the permanent structure that measures 22,600-square-foot (2,100 square-meters) features 20 rooms. Visitors can choose between the deluxe suites, which feature bathrooms and saunas, or stay in one of the beautifully sculpted art suites. In case you are wondering, the ICEHOTEL365 remains frozen thanks to 6,500 square feet of solar panels that help keep the heat out!
Not surprisingly, the unique hotel’s popularity has resulted in numerous copycats. Similar structures can now be found in Canada, Norway, Finland, and Romania. However, for true fans, the original is the best and grandest of all!
Resources: Icehotel.com, newatlas.com