Founded in 1989, Icehotel is a hotel and art exhibit that is (re)made of ice and snow each year. Located in Jukkasjärvi, a Swedish village 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, the hotel utilizes natural ice from the Torne River to create a high-quality experience for visitors.
Description of the destination or original product
Icehotel contains approximately 300 beds each year (150 warm and 150 cold). For cold rooms (rooms made of ice), visitors are provided with expedition-style sleeping bags that withstand extreme conditions. From 10 am to 6 pm, Icehotel is open to the public, and day visitors as well as guests are able to access all rooms (aside from Deluxe Suites). Guests can access their cold room starting at 6 pm, but the Riverside Lobby (the heated service building where bathrooms, showers, and a sauna are located and visitors’ belongings are stored) is open on a 24-hour basis. Cold room beds are comprised of bedframes made of ice, a slatted bed base with a mattress, reindeer skins, and pillows.
Each room has its own design, giving visitor a unique experience. Also located on the premises are an ice church, ice bar, ice sculpting studio and pillar hall as well as two heated restaurants, a lounge, four meeting rooms and two wilderness camps. The Main Hall includes chandelier installations made from 1,000 hand-cut ice crystals.
Approximately 40 artists are selected each year to participate in the creation of Icehotel. Throughout the years, Icehotel has worked with a total of 546 artists.
Due to the insulating abilities of snow, the average interior temperature of Icehotel is -5 C (21 F), whereas outside temperatures can get as cold as -40 C (-40 F) in January. Icehotel is constructed in sections, meaning that parts of the hotel are opened before the entire structure has been completed.
Process that led recognition that change was necessary
Jukkasjärvi had been a popular destination for summer tourists who wanted to experience the midnight sun or participate in outdoor activities such as river rafting, but the long, cold winters made it undesirable for year-round tourism. This led Yngve Bergqvist to consider innovative options that might attract visitors during the area’s off-season.
Process that facilitated change
Bergqvist, who founded Icehotel, was inspired by the art of Japanese ice sculpting, and in 1989 he invited artists to attend a workshop that resulted in the creation of the first ice structure the following year. The first structure was a 60-meter-square igloo that was named ARTic Hall, and it served as an art gallery. Subsequently, the vision for ARTic Hall expanded; it became larger and housed a bar, and other events such as church services and film showcases began taking place there. It was not until a group of visitors spontaneously asked to spend the night in ARTic Hall that reindeer skins and sleeping bags were provided and the concept of Icehotel was born.
Icehotel is constructed from two-ton blocks of ice that are harvested from the Torne River during the winter prior to their use. Plans are drawn up in May, and at the end of November, artists arrive in Jukkasjärvi to implement their vision. The process involves creation of a cast of a building through the use of 35,000 cubic meters of “snice,” a mixture of snow and ice from river water that is sprayed into molds and removed when the structure is ready. All rooms in Icehotel are made of ice and self-supporting, and once the building is completed, artists create their works inside the hotel.
Following the success of Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, the ice hotel idea has been replicated elsewhere, including in Canada, Romania, Norway and Finland. Icehotel’s great success over the year has also led to product diversification and expansion that has been experienced throughout the world. Since, 2017, Icehotel has offered a cold sleeping option year-round. ICEHOTEL 365 houses an ice bar, ice gallery, and luxury suites with private bathrooms, and the facility is kept cool by energy from solar panels during the summer.
Since the first permanent ice bar was created by Icehotel in 1994, the concept has become popular. In addition to the original ICEBAR in Jukkasjärv, a location has opened in Stockholm.
The ice bar concept has also been replicated worldwide in places such as Boston, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas.
ICEHOTEL Creative Experience is a business venture that offers ice products for events throughout the world. Orders, whether large instillations such as sculptures and catwalks or small items such as ice glasses and dishes, are tailored to the needs of the clients. These products are made with the same Arctic ice used for the hotel.
Icehotel, Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Phone: +46 980 66800