ICEHOTEL is an annual art symposium and the world’s first and largest hotel made from ice and snow. It is located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, in Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland.
Two hundred kilometres above the Arctic Circle, where the northern lights dance in the wintry sky and the midnight sun shines for 50 consecutive days and nights throughout summer, lies Jukkasjärvi. The little village alongside Torne River is currently home to 900 people and 1,000 dogs, but Jukkasjärvi’s history as a meeting place for people from near and far is a long one. The name Jukkasjärvi derives from a Sami word that roughly translates as ”meeting place by the water”, and the village was an important marketplace. At Icehotel, too, meetings take centre stage – the meetings between Jukkasjärvi residents and visitors, between different cultures, between people and nature, and between ice and creativity.
Torne River with its impressive length of 520 kilometres, runs from the ancient mountains in the west to the coast in the east, where it flows out into the Bay of Bothnia. As the largest of Sweden’s four national rivers it is rare – indeed, unique: one of the last untouched rivers in Europe. A wild river. It’s Torne River that provides Icehotel with its ice in winter – and when the art and parts of the hotel melt, the water returns to its source. Natural ice requires a lot of work before it is harvested in the very beginning of spring when it has grown its thickest. Months are devoted to maintaining the “ice field” and keeping it clear of snow so the ice can have the best possible conditions for growth. But in Jukkasjärvi. People think that the natural Arctic ice is worth the effort.
“The unique story and each individual ice block is an inspiration for us and something that can never be found in artificial ice. Furthermore, it is a necessity to create unique art year after year,” says Yngve Bergqvist, founder of Icehotel.
ICEHOTEL 365 days a year
For 27 years, Icehotel has followed the seasonal changes, but now, thanks to Icehotel 365 a year-round experience is offered – something unlike anything else in the world. Icehotel 365 accommodates nine Art Suites, eleven Deluxe Suites with private bathroom and relax, an ice gallery and Icebary by Icehotel Jukkasjrävi – all created by ice builders and artists from around the world. The building is designed by architect Hans Eek and the hotel’s iconic vaulted architecture is combined with traditional building methods, which makes the exterior harmonize with the surroundings. The indoor temperature is set on a constant minus five degrees Celsius and the refrigerating plant that makes sure the hotel stays cool during the summer is powered by energy from solar panels. 200 km north above the Arctic Circle, the sun is shining for the equivalent of 50 consecutive days during the summer months. The Arctic nature and environment are a huge source of inspiration and a necessity to create Icehotel year after year. The sun that previously melted the art is now what makes the year-round experience possible and gives guests the option to combine a night in sub-zero degrees with dog sled and northern lights or a boat tour on the river under the midnight sun – on nature’s terms.
The dining room and cocktail bar are warm and traditional – an escape from the sub-zero degrees, but still letting our ice and surroundings take centre stage. Sourcing our ingredients from the local area, we serve delicacies like reindeer, moose, Arctic char and bramble berries, prepared by Michelin-trained head chef Alexander Meier and his team. Choose from the a la carte menu or pre-book one of our specially crafted dining experiences – chef’s table, ice dining or wilderness dinner.
Icehotel was ranked the top restaurant in Kiruna and top three in Swedish Lapland in White Guide 2016 & 2017; Scandinavia’s most comprehensible restaurant guide.
The international kitchen brigade and head chef Alexander Meier, who trained at two-star restaurant Le Béarn, put a cosmopolitan twist to the local ingredients, sourced from the region’s rivers, mountains, marshes and forests. The beautiful Torne river ice adds an element to your dinner in the shape of table décor, dishes or bowls.
ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL has moved beyond Jukkasjärvi. You can find our icebars in several big cities around the world, where you can have a drink in a below-freezing setting, surrounded by the ice from the Torne River. Sometimes in the form of pop up bars that only exist for a limited amount of time and sometimes as a permanent addition to the city’s nightlife. Right now you can find Icebar by Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Stockholm and London.
No matter where you visit us, the place, as well as glasses, is made entirely out of ice from the Torne River. The design of the bars is created by known artists from around the world-changing from year to year just like the design of Icehotel.