We started getting the feeling the visit here wasn't going to go as well as we'd hoped when we went across to the restaurant for dinner on the first night.
Even though we were the first in the dining room, we were the last served. My partner and I watched as everyone else that came in was brought their bread, food, drinks etc. first.
We couldn't understand, as we were polite, civil and quiet like everyone else, yet there we were being treated like second-class citizens, too polite to speak up about it. We were finally served by a nice woman 10 minutes later, but she made no apologies and essentially ignored my remark when I said "I thought we'd been forgotten about". This, on top of the crazy prices for small servings of (albeit delicious) food didn't exactly put me in any mood to leave a nice tip as I usually would.
From then on, any time we returned for a meal I noticed both glaring from the woman that served me (alongside her co-workers), as well as a staff member that suddenly found something else to do when we approached to be let in to the restaurant. I wanted to put it down to paranoia, but even my partner noticed it.
A warning to those with glasses: Do NOT book and pay for any snowmobile trips, because you will be treated like a lying nuisance if you dare ask for a refund for not even being able to participate in something you've already paid for. What these people fail to tell you is that certain types of spectacle lenses -will- frost up in such bitter-cold conditions. According to the manager; I'm the first one, in her 28 years on the job, to complain about the fact that my glasses were frosting up and wouldn't allow me to see anything I paid to see in the first place. Really.
In the words of a fellow Australian we met while we were there: "That's bullsh**".
No apologies. No refunds. They were even going to charge me to take me back to the hotel after I made it clear a "positive attitude" wasn't going to help me see my surroundings any better through glasses that wouldn't defrost without constant cleaning from a cleaning solution (and no, saliva doesn't work - I had to try). After arguing and realizing the manager and her superiors weren't going to give me my money back, we settled for an "equal value" offer with other activities we didn't want to do.
Thankfully, those activities were pretty good, though they were certainly not what we paid to fly to the other side of the world for. Had they ended up giving me a refund, I may well of felt grateful enough to spend that refund money + extra to try out the 'Driving On Ice' instead. But the management's stubbornness killed off any sense of joy I had left for trying out any other activities.
Ice sculpting is quite fun and our instructor was friendly. I definitely recommend that. The Ice Bar is overpriced but you soon stop caring after you've had a few, and the bartenders were awesome (geez, I must of left around 400 SEK in tips alone now that I think back on it). Good fun.
Dinner under the stars wasn't quite what I expected but our hostess was a wonderful human being. In fact, she was the highlight of the evening; The world needs more people like her.
We didn't end up staying in one of the 'cold' rooms, though the artwork on display in those rooms is well worth a look when they're open to the public during the day. Very talented artists.
All in all however, my partner and I have both agreed that we wouldn't go back.
I'll miss our dinner hostess and the Ice Bar's bartenders (as well as some of the other friendlier workers around there), but nothing else.
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- Also Known As:
- Icehotel Hotel Jukkasjarvi
- Icehotel Sweden/Jukkasjarvi
- Ice Hotel Sweden