First look at Sweden's latest Icehotel

In Sweden’s Lapland region, the annual Icehotel has opened its doors for another winter season, celebrating its 30th anniversary with new layouts and suite designs, including an ice-carved observation deck built above the hotel.

New Designs and British Artists

More than 30 artists from 16 countries spent several weeks in the village of Jukkasjärvi to create the hotel (made entirely out of ice and snow from the free-flowing Torne River) under the guidance of Luca Roncoroni, the hotel’s new creative director. Among the artists were two British teams; father and daughter duo Jonathan and Marnie Green and professional sculptor Robert Harding, both of which have created art suites for Icehotel before.

The Green’s suite celebrates 30 years of the Icehotel with an Icehotel-themed West End production called A Night at the Theatre, with ice-carved curtains, reindeers waiting in the wings, a scale model of the hotel entrance in the center and a frozen bed surrounded by miniature theater seats in the auditorium, with six life-size ice seats for guests to sit on.

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Harding’s Bone Room celebrates the natural melting process of the Icehotel each spring as it slowly dissolves back into the Torne River and aims to “highlight the beauty found in the cycle of life” with giant ice-carved bone sculptures overlooking the frozen bed, each with an internal glow courtesy of an under-floor white light.

The Main Hall's “Brutalism” celebrates the construction of the hotel, the Ceremony Hall's “Gingko” plays homage to the Chinese ginkgo tree and includes 30 stars carved into the ceiling—one for each year of the Icehotel—while the IceBar “TorneLand” has ice-carved roller coasters, games and hot air balloons surrounding the bar.

To mark the 30th anniversary, the designers have have built a special ice-carved observation deck with views of the surrounding frozen landscape and the Torne River, from which the ice is harvested. A new sculpture is in the property’s entrance in the shape of a 4-meter-high tower that guests can climb. 

Building the winter hotel requires a large amount of work, beginning in March each year when around 2,500 tons of ice is harvested from the Torne River.


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Five Icehotel Stats

  1. The amount of ice used to create the hotel equals 10 seconds of water flow from the Torne River
  2. The chandeliers contain 1,000 ice crystals, each sculpted by hand
  3. The building is created from 30,000 cubic meters of “snice” (or snow ice), the equivalent of 110 million ice cream cones
  4. The hotel uses 1,000 blocks of ice, each weighing 2.5 tons
  5. The construction sees 30,000 liters of water used, the equivalent of more than 700 million snowballs

Photo credit: Asaf Kliger and Discover the World


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