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“Burr”
Review of Icehotel

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Icehotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Jukkasjarvi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 11, 2013

I think this is a good for anyone who is interested in doing out-of-the-ordinary experiences. The personal are very good and the atmosphere is xlnt.The programming is also good even though a little expensive

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Magnusadventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 7, 2013

These days there are a number of ice hotels in Scandinavia, but the original one is at Jukkasjärvi, a short distance from the larger settlement of Kiruna in northern Sweden. It comprises a lot of permanent buildings, including hotel-style sleeping accommodation and a
large restaurant, but its chief attraction is the ice rooms that are fashioned annually from the ice and snow that is abundant in these parts.

Preparing to spend a night in an ice room is a little like preparing for a dip in a local public swimming pool back home — you use a building full of showers, toilets and lockers, then plunge in. Each room comes off a public corridor of ice, and is austere, consisting of a bed on wooden slats over a large slab of ice, a snowy floor, and ice walls. On the bed is a moderately thick mattress covered in reindeer skins. There is no door to each room, just an archway with a curtain. The light in each room is controlled by a switch on the side of the bed, since, after cocooning oneself in the provided arctic-grade sleeping bag, it’s a marathon effort to get out again. In each room there are some ice sculptures, artistically illuminated. In most rooms these comprise a solid ice table and chairs, but in the more expensive suites are artworks from commissioned designers. All the rooms are on public display between 10 am and 6 pm, after which they become the domain of their overnight occupants.

The temperature in the ice hotel is kept at -5°C — just cold enough to stop the ice melting. Indeed, after spending some time on the aurora viewing platform at -25°, one could easily feel the extra warmth upon re-entering. In the morning we were greeted with a cup of hot lingonberry juice in bed.

There’s a large hall full of ice columns, a nearby ice church, and famously an ice bar where one can purchase cocktails of a wide range of hues in chunky ice cocktail glasses.

There’s a conventionally heated restaurant a short walk away, and the cuisine was beautifully prepared, as we were becoming accustomed to in Sweden. Rather expensive too, but we won’t go into that.

Very hard to give this place a rating. Normally I'd be very disappointed with any hotel where a room had no ensuite, no mini bar, no television, no temperature control, etc etc.!

Spending a night in an ice room at the ice hotel is certainly a “must” for everyone’s “bucket list”, but one night is probably enough. I was warm as toast once I’d snuggled into the sleeping bag, but if we’d stayed a second night I’d have been more than happy to go back to normality and sleep in a warm room with an ensuite.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank GrahamWM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2013

My husband & I stayed one night in a snow room at the Icehotel last week to celebrate a big birthday. And what an incredible time we had! But you do need to have done your planning in advance & not have unreal expectations of what a stay here involves.

Firsly, it's a well conceived & unique experience - it's luxury adventure travel beyond the Arctic Circle. If staying in the cold accommodation, it is not a Four Seasons with a snow room attached that you can pop in & out of as you please. You will spend a good deal of time in a locker room(clean, well thought out, communal single sex shower/changing rooms with a sauna in each - busy at peak times such as 8am) with other people organising yourself & changing from outerwear to thermals to normal clothes & back again to go between warm & cold accommodation. If you've been on a skiing holiday, it should be a familiar if slightly more communal experience than you're used to. If you're not comfortable with the thought of this, stay in the warm accommodation or just visit during the day.

But our trip there went like this:

- arrived at Kiruna airport at 13.10. We hadn't booked a transfer in advance & intended to get the bus into Kiruna & the bus out to Jukkasjarvi but managed to score a free transfer on the Ice Hotel bus just by asking if they were going there. It's a 10-15min transfer.

- checked in to the cold accommodation, dumped our gear in the locker & had a look around the suites & complex (church, exhibition, shop), had a drink in the ice bar (if staying have a drink during the day & a drink at night as they are completely different experiences). We loved the cocktails in ice glasses (105Kr each).

- went for a walk into Jukkasjarvi. Lots of pretty Swedish houses to look at (love Falun red) but not much to actually do. 500m to the co-op (crisps, chocolate, jerky, water), had a look at the church & the Homestead restaurant (900m) (doesn't open until 5pm which is a shame as it'd do a roaring trade in coffee & cake).

- returned to the warm accomodaton cafe/bar for a hot chocolate & brownie & to warm up before our night snowmobile trip (book with local operators rather than Icehotel =1/2 the price) Then we went back to the cold accommodation lockers to get kitted up.

- picked up at 6.30 by Kiruna Guidturs > 4 hrs of snowmobiling through forests & across frozen lakes. Dinner at a wilderness hut then back to the hotel at 11pm.

- back to locker room, outerwear on > to ice bar for a nightcap, then back to locker room, strip down to thermals, pick up sleeping bag & liner before heading out to the room. We both had a really restful sleep..the sleeping bags are really toasty & the mattress & reindeer skins are insulating & not too hard. There's no door as such, just a blanket across the archway into your room but it was really quiet. Being woken up with warm lingonberry juice was a nice touch of luxury & -5C is managably cold in your thermals.

- boots on > back to the locker room, showered/dressed > across to the restaurant annex for a more than decent buffet breakfast.

- another walk round the lake before 11am check out. Picked up at 11.30 for another activity & transfer to hotel in Kiruna for 2 nights

Tips:

- Take good merino underwear for sleeping in/wearing under your clothes
- you get to see all the suites anyway & are only in your room to sleep so for us, the snow room was the best value way to get the experience. I would rather have spent the money on an extra activity than an upgrade to a suite
- chance your luck with a free transfer from the airport! Or see here for buses, public transport is easy, reliable & punctual in our experience.. www.ltnbd.se
- bulk up at breakfasts...-30C is cold!
- we didn't eat at either of the 2 restaurants except for breakfast but there isn't anywhere else in town > booking a tour with dinner included is better value & eating round a fire in a wilderness hut is a memorably authentic experience
- do a tour at night so you can come back & go straight to bed (or to the ice bar). As mentioned previously the communal spaces are limited...no space for lounging really. The cold accommodation space is very functional, just a waiting room really though the warm accommodation communal space has its charms & does a good brownie.
- Once you've done your ice room overnighter, you really just need a place to sleep as a base for your tours & Jukkasjarvi offers nothing else - Kiruna may be a better base with more food/drink options. We were glad we decided to do 1 night at the Icehotel & 2 nights in Kiruna.
- If flying from the UK, it is much cheaper to put the package together yourself...we booked flights with SAS & the Icehotel via Expedia & got a discount on the package then booked 2 nights in Kiruna with Scandic hotels' website using their frequent guest programme to get 20% off > it worked out about £1000 per person cheaper than using Discover the World.
- Do as many tours as you can afford to get the whole experience....at night preferably to maximise your chances of seeing the Aurora.

Enjoy every magical moment! A truly one in a lifetime experience.

Room Tip: Go for a snow room
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Funky_travel_junky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2013 via mobile

The Icehotel is amazing! The actual art suites are decorated beautifully and are all unique. The two restaurants in the area are wonderful and serve lovely food. Be careful though as the prices are very high. Take some snacks such as pot noodles,crisps etc as there is only a small shop which is not cheap. We saw the northern lights from the hotel. We had a truly magical time. The activities on offer were great, especially the ice sculpting.
Make sure you take lots of warm clothes as it gets very cold. You need lots of layers, heat warmers are also a great idea. I would definitely visit again in the near future.

  • Stayed: February 2013
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1  Thank AndreaNicolaou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2013

We had 3 nights in the Ice Hotel at the end of February. It was very expensive but worth it for a once in a lifetime magical experience! We stayed in the cold room first in an Art Suite then 2 nights in a Nordic Chalet. Definitely recommend doing it that way and also having an Art Suite as the changing facilities and cubicle are excellent for this grade of room. I recommend the hotel tour included I the price of your stay and the talk on 'surviving the cold room' as they give you lots of useful tips. We are as warm as toast in our arctic sleeping bag. We got up once in the night and padded out to the dressing room/toilets In our boots and fleece. We were a bit chilly when we got back but soon warmed up. My husband was convinced he would end up sleeping in the dressing room halfway through the night but actually ended up sleeping till 8am when we were woken up by hotel staff.

We also had a cocktail in the Ice Bar which was fun and tasty - worth doing for the novelty value. The hotel restaurant was very 'Masterchef' but gorgeous food and very friendly service. It was expensive but then they have the monopoly on food there. We walked up to the Homestead Restaurant for lunch to find it shut and only open in the evenings. We considered walking up there but then decided not to and ate in the restaurant all 3 nights. It was the same menu each night but we were able to eat something different each evening. We had lunch there once but it was a buffet and too much food in the middle of the day. Breakfast was lovely, loads of choice and plenty of food available until 10.00 when they stop serving and take it all away.

The service is brilliant and as previous guests wrote they were very very friendly and helpful. You feel like you are part of their little family for the stay rather than staff and guests. The Nordic Chalet was very comfortable but very warm. Also the rooms are not cleaned or serviced during your stay, so the bins got a bit full and we ran out of toilet rolls. It wasn't a problem for a 2 night stay but may have been if we had been there more nights. So just remember not to put your towels on the floor because they won't be changed. As I said it wasn't a problem, but it would have been good to know beforehand. The shower was powerful and nice and warm but the shower curtain kept sticking to us.

The special clothing that is provided is very comfortable and warm although we only used it for activities and not general use as it was 'hot' while we were there at 0 degrees! We did snowmobiling which was great fun on the frozen river then through the forest. We also did the husky sled tour which was truly magical and half way we stopped for coffee and cake in the forest by a hut and sat round a camp fire.

There is a nice shop on site but could do with selling some normal things like snacks or chocolate. The bar in the warm reception area is nice but it is a shame they don't sell more light snacks. The only thing on offer was a cold ciabatta with cheese or smoked reindeer. So basically for lunch it is this or the buffet so not much choice.

It was everything we hoped it would be and more even though we only saw the tiniest wispa of a northern light. But all the other experiences more than made up for it. I thoroughly recommend it but just accept that it is not a budget holiday.

Room Tip: Choose an Arctic Suite and a Chalet for a few extra facilities
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Hevsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

This was a really beautiful place to stay and should be on everyone's to do list. It is harshly beautiful here and while we didn't get to see the Northern Lights the experience was so worth it. We had a basic room but it was so quiet and I got so hot that I had to take off what I was wearing. The sleeping bags are fantastic and the wake up call is delightful.

The only negative I have is the changing area where you leave your luggage, it is crowded and can get very claustrophobic which I found highly annoying, other than that it is clean and comfortable. Take any opportunity to do the tours as there is little else there to do.

the warm rooms are also very comfortable and of a good size, although they have single beds as opposed to doubles, little things that don't detract from the experience

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Woody2296
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 5, 2013

We stayed here on the last of our four nights in the Arctic Circle and it was a great experience, however looking back I would rather have stayed on the first night when the excitement takes over, after 3 days of freezing conditions sleeping in an ice room doesn't quite appeal as much!

It was a great experience though, more of an attraction than a hotel (if you are staying in the cold rooms that it). You certainly wouldn't do more than one night in the cold rooms. It was exciting getting ready for bed in the changing rooms and hanging out in the bar knowing bed time was looming. Having looked around the rooms in the day I was actually nervous about going to bed but those sleeping bags are remarkably warm and it's only if a little draft blows in that you realise how cold it is out there. The walk to and from the room is the worse part and needing the loo in the night!

If you are a couple definitely get a double sleeping bag, I noticed a lot of couples had a single each but we were so thankful of the extra body heat, the warm air circulates around the sleeping bag and there were two lots of body heat in ours! :)
My fiance slept like a log, me not so much and I wasn't grateful of his snoring! But so glad we did it, it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Ice Hotel restaurant was extremely expensive for what it was, a three course meal for two with glass of wine each and aperitif cost around £170. I am a vegetarian who doesn't eat mushrooms and every vegetarian option contained mushroom which they couldn't remove so I didn't eat much at all. All we craved was warm hearty food which you would expect here, but the fancy menu didn't satisfy unfortunately. Breakfast was good though!

You have to stay at the Icehotel if you are in the area, and try and do at the beginning of your trip!

Room Tip: Cold room for one night is a must!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Lalalu86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Icehotel

Address: Marknadsvagen 63, Jukkasjarvi 981 91, Sweden
Phone Number:
Location: Sweden > Norrbotten County > Jukkasjarvi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Jukkasjarvi
Price Range: $173 - $217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Icehotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 60
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, TripOnline SA, Hotwire, Orbitz and Evoline ltd so you can book your Icehotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Icehotel Hotel Jukkasjarvi
Icehotel Sweden/Jukkasjarvi
Ice Hotel Sweden

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