We stayed in the IceHotel in middle February for my 40th Birthday. I wanted to see the Northern Lights and this resort seemed to offer a good combination of activities. We booked through a speciality travel agent. We had one night in a Northern Lights cabin and one night in an Ice Suite.
Ok. Let's not mess around. Jukkasjärvi is in the Arctic. You will be cold. Down to -35 degs outside. Take lots of layers and accept the hotel's offer of arctic outer-wear. You can always peel off a layer if you get too hot (and you will be surprised how quickly you get used to it) but if you get cold then it will make you miserable. Really miserable.
Luxury is after all a relative thing. When you travel to another country / culture their perceptions and needs differ from ours. Swedish Lapland was after all until relatively recently inhabited only by the indigenous Sami people and their existence is considerably more basic than typical Western standards. The IceHotel offers two types of accommodation: Cold and Warm. Take no more expectation than that with you and you will be happy.
The Northern Lights Cabin was Warm. It was also considerably more basic than we had expected. But it was warm, and it has an indoor toilet and shower! A trivial observation? Read on…
The IceHotel is Cold. Of course. Everything is made out of ice or compacted snow. It is made up of 50 or so smaller rooms, 22 suites and 2 deluxe suites. All of the suites are fantastically sculptured, each one unique until it melts away into the lake come Summer. Truly they have to be seen to be believed.
Sleeping in -5 degs requires a certain routine. You prepare your self for the night in a warm changing room. Space is at a premium and toilets far too few in number. Wrap your arctic sleeping bag around you and make a dash for the room. You can’t take any luggage or clothes with you as they will freeze so you leave them in a locker! Once you get your head around this it is OK. What isn’t Ok is the rigmarole of going to the toilet at night and showering in the morning. The toilet presents expected problems, but the shower blocks are communal and quite a hike away from the hotel. They need to sort that out.
Other points of note:
- The Ice Bar is awesome and truly an incredible experience, whether you like vodka or not.
- Yes the stay is expensive but it is unique. They have to rebuild the hotel every year at the cost of £1m and they have a captive audience.
- The IceHotel excursions are rammed. I would seriously recommend booking through a specialist travel agent who has local connections. We had one-on-one snow mobiling and drove our own dog sled. We passed an IceHotel snow mobile outing that had 20 people on it!
Were we cold? Yes.
Were we uncomfortable? Yes.
Could our stay have been made better? Yes.
Was it an experience of a lifetime? Absolutely!
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- Also Known As:
- Icehotel Hotel Jukkasjarvi
- Icehotel Sweden/Jukkasjarvi
- Ice Hotel Sweden