Ok, I don't know about you folks, but sleeping, drinking even going to the bathroom sur la glace, isn't really my cup of tea. But for those of you who just can't get chilled enough, here are some ice hotels you might want to stay at on your next vacation! First let's explain what an ice hotel is shall we...
An ice hotel is a temporary hotel made up of snow, sculpted blocks of ice, and some steel framing. They are promoted by their sponsors and have special features for travelers who are interested in novelties and unusual environments, and thus are in the class of destination hotels. Their lobbies are often filled with ice sculptures, and food and beverages are specially chosen for the circumstances.
All of the ice hotels are reconstructed every year, and are dependent upon constant sub-freezing temperatures during construction and operation. The walls, fixtures, and fittings are made entirely of ice, and are held together using a substance known as snice (snow-like appearance but ice-like physical characteristics), which takes the place of mortar in a traditional brick-built hotel.
Icehotel (Jukkasjärvi), SWEDEN
|Main hall in ICEHOTEL |
Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, 2007.
Sculptures by Jörgen Westin
pic by Wiki user Laplandish
In 1989, Japanese ice artists visited the area and created an exhibition of ice art. In Spring 1990, French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a cylinder-shaped igloo in the area. One night there were no rooms available in the town, so some of the visitors asked for permission to spend the night in the exhibition hall. They slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin - the first guests of the "hotel".
The entire hotel is made out of snow and ice blocks taken from the Torne River - even the glasses in the bar are made of ice.
Each spring, around March, Icehotel harvests tons of ice from the frozen Torne River and stores it in a nearby production hall with room for over 10,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow. The ice is used for creating Icebar designs and ice glasses, for ice sculpting classes, events and product launches all over the world while the snow is used for building a strong structure for the building. About 1,000 tons of what is left is used in the construction of the next Icehotel.
When completed, the hotel features a bar, church, main hall, reception area and rooms and suites for over 100 guests to sit and sleep on blocks of sculpted ice in the form of chairs and beds. There is also warm accommodation available next to the hotel. The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi is known to be the biggest hotel of ice and snow in the world, spanning over some 6 000 m². Each suite is unique and the architecture of the hotel is changed each year, as it is rebuilt from scratch. Each year artists submit their ideas for suites and a jury selects about 50 artists to create the church, Absolut Icebar, reception, main hall and suites. When spring comes, everything melts away and returns to the Torne River. The Icehotel only exists between December and April, and has been listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Sweden.
Fun Fact: The ice palace in the Bond movie "Die Another Day" was inspired by this hotel.
| 'The Banished Dragon' Art suite in ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. |
Made by Valli Schafer & Barra Cassidy.
pic by Wiki user Laplandish
|ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, melting away 2008|
pic by Wiki user Laplandish
Kirkenes Snow Hotel
Lainio Snow Village, FINLAND
Each year in late November, about one thousand truck loads of snow are used to create the Snow Village - a complex of ice and snow, changing shape and size every winter while retaining its unique magic, combining ice artistry, handicraft and breathtaking constructions made of snow. Covering an area of about 20 000 square metres, the Snow Village consists of a restaurant, a bar, lobbies, hotelrooms and suites as well as outdoor buildings such as walls, slides and sculptures, made of nothing but crystallized water.
In Snow Village, you can spend a night in the SnowHotel, have a dinner in the IceBar or enjoy the igloo disco with drinks served in ice glasses. Or you can just marvel at the magnificent sculpture art all around the area. Snow Village is located in Western part of Finnish Lapland, in close proximity of Ylläs and Levi ski-resorts and easily reachable from the international airport of Kittilä.
|Ice Suite, Lainio Snow Village, 2008|
Aurora Ice Museum, USA
Chena Hot Springs Resort in Alaska, USA, is home to the world’s largest year-round ice environment in the world, the Aurora Ice Museum! It was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow all harvested at the resort. The museum was completed in January 2005 and stays a cool 20° Fahrenheit (-7° Celsius) inside. Keeping the museum icy cold in the heat of summer comes from the patented absorption chiller, the first of its kind in the world used for this purpose!
The Aurora Ice Museum gallery features amazing ice sculptures created by 15 time world champion ice carver Steve Brice, certified N.I.C.A (National Ice Carving Association) and his wife, Heather a 6 time world champion.
Within the museum, they have created a two story observation tower with a circular staircase, life size jousters on horse back, a polar bear bedroom, a Christmas tree bedroom, a kid's snowball 2 story fort, an igloo and an ice outhouse among other pieces of ice art and additional chambers made exclusively with their Alaska Diamond or Alaska Marble ice.
As you step inside the ice museum for the very first time, you are mesmerized by the ever-changing colored ice crystal chandeliers overhead depicting the Aurora Borealis.
After touring the museum, relax at the Aurora Ice Bar. Enjoy sipping their specialty beverage an “appletini” in an ice carved martini glass while awed by your surroundings. Sit comfortably on their caribou fur covered stools and take in the view or warm your hands by the ice fireplace. The Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs Resort is truly one of a kind because it is open year-round!
All this - at 20° Fahrenheit (-7° Celsius) when it's still warm outside.. hmmmm.. nice.
Never-the-less they are all great hotels in their own unique ways!! And there are MANY MANY more like the Lumilinna SnowCastle in Kemi, Finland, the Bjorli Ice Lodge in Bjorli, Norway; the Ice Hotel in Hunderfossen, Norway; Igloo Village in Saariselkä, Finland and probably more that I still have yet to discover. However, with the aid of this article, hopefully you will now have a better understanding and appreciation for these ICE HOTELS!
What a truly unique experience this would be vacationing at anyone of them! Fascinating!