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Icehotel FAQs

Despite popular misconceptions – the original Icehotel isn’t in Iceland, it is in Sweden! Nestled amidst tranquil wilderness in the heart of Swedish Lapland, the Icehotel is actually located in Jukkasjarvi, 200km north of the Arctic Circle and just a short drive from the airport in Kiruna. The village of Jukkasjarvi has a small museum and a pretty church. There isn’t much else nearby apart from picturesque scenery and the Homestead (a highly recommended rustic restaurant), so evenings are usually spent in the Icehotel complex, where you can enjoy your intriguing surroundings.

Below we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions about the incredible experience of sleeping on ice at one of the world’s truly remarkable hotels – the Icehotel.

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Is everything in the Icehotel made of ice?

The Icehotel itself is made out of ice from the river Torne. Inside you will find almost everything imaginable in a normal hotel, but made out of ice – from shimmering ice sculptures and artwork, to glittering ice chandeliers, ice chairs, ice suites, beds sculpted from ice and even a hotel bar made out of ice! There are a few exceptions however, the Icehotel complex actually consists of a number of different buildings – there is a warm dressing room area with showers and sauna for use when you stay in the Icehotel, and warm hotel rooms or cabins for the remainder of your stay.

Why is the ice so crystal clear?

The ice which is used to build the Icehotel is a particular feature as it is crystal clear. Some say this is due to the mystical properties of the river, others say that the river Torne is usually so free-flowing that it ensures few bubbles are trapped within it, leaving a crystal clear ice once it is frozen. The sight as you open the main reindeer-skin clad doors is simply breathtaking – a grand, ice pillared hallway illuminated by a spectacular crystal clear ice chandelier.

How cold is it inside the Icehotel?

Kept at a constant -5°C to -8°C, the interior actually feels quite pleasant, especially when outside temperatures can drop to around -37°C! Walk past several ice sculptures and imaginatively lit ice art towards one of the most popular rooms – the Absolut Ice Bar. With its vaulted ceiling, plenty of ice block seating (thankfully covered in reindeer skins) and see-through bar, it serves an impressive range of colourful vodka cocktails, naturally served in chunky ice glasses! Hot cocktails are also served and provide an instant form of central heating, but be careful not to stand them on the bar, for obvious reasons! Read our guide on what to wear at the Icehotel.

Is there a restaurant in the Icehotel?

When staying at the Icehotel, meals are taken in a separate heated building across the road from reception. The restaurant offers an extensive breakfast and lunchtime buffet and a delicious à la carte dinner menu. The restaurant is often featured in gourmet magazines around the world and has been awarded the prestigious Werner Vögeli Statuette. We’ve created a special 3-night Culinary Adventure designed to showcase the integral role food, culture and lifestyle play in the Icehotel experience.

In addition, a selection of light meals and snacks are available in the comfortable lounge bar. And just a little further along the main road, the Homestead restaurant serves excellent hearty buffet style meals in a rustic setting.

When can I visit the Icehotel?

The Icehotel used to only be available from mid-December to mid-April, at which point it melted back into the Torne River. However, as of November 2016 Icehotel 365 opened, offering the chance to sleep on ice year round. Complementing the seasonal hotel, which is rebuilt every autumn, 365 remains open throughout the year with sub-zero temperatures maintained by solar power. If you are looking for a true winter break, then late December through to the end of March are the best months to visit, but if combining your night on ice with a summer adventure under the midnight sun appeals, choose our Icehotel & Treehotel summer fly drive.

What happens to the Icehotel in the spring?

As spring comes to Sweden, the winter Icehotel gradually melts away. Walls give way to fresh air, sculptures change and then disappear as the crystal clear ice melts into running water, which once again rejoins the Torne river. As if by magic, by summer time the Icehotel has disappeared and the river Torne flows at full capacity once again. Next door, the snow that covers the domed roof of Icehotel 365 during winter melts away to be replaced by grass and wild flowers.

What type of room should I stay in?

Some people visit the Icehotel for the novelty of sleeping on ice, others prefer to enjoy visiting the Icehotel by day and sleeping in a warm cabin at night. Most stays at the Icehotel are a minimum of three nights with two spent in warm accommodation and one night in the ice hotel itself. The night here is usually spent in an Ice Room or you may wish to upgrade to an Art Suite. Art Suites are the most spacious and impressive, individually themed with striking ice sculptures and a bed that can only be described as a work of art! These are very popular with honeymoon couples, with sleeping bags made for two!

The warm accommodation is heated and consist of Nordic and Arctic chalets and Kaamos hotel rooms. Discover more about Icehotel accommodation options

Please note that although sleeping in an ice room is a great experience, some people find it’s not for them. If you have particular sleeping requirements, you may wish to reserve a heated room as back-up at an additional cost, please call our reservations team for advice and to discuss your options.

Can I see the northern lights at the Icehotel?

During the winter months, the northern lights can be seen across a clear night sky. The Icehotel is in an excellent location for viewing the northern lights if they do make an appearance. We also offer a twin-centre break combining time at the Icehotel with a stay at Abisko National Park, recognised as one of the best places in the world for witnessing the aurora.

Remember the northern lights are a natural phenomena and as such can never be guaranteed to illuminate the night sky. But if you are lucky enough to experience nature’s most amazing light show, you’ll be hooked!

Can I get married at the Icehotel?

Yes – every year the Icehotel incorporates a beautiful ice chapel into its design and, as no two ice chapels are alike, this adds to the feeling of exclusivity and uniqueness for your special day. Everyone looks for that little something extra when choosing a wedding venue and the ice chapel certainly has it all.

What do I need to take to the Icehotel?

You need to make sure that you pack plenty of clothes, to enable you to layer your clothing as much as possible. On arrival at the Icehotel you will also be given special clothing for use during your stay. This includes a thermal suit, thermal boots, fleece lined hat and over-gloves. Make sure you bring your own hat, gloves and plenty of warm clothing to wear underneath. Flat shoes with a good grip are also essential – you won’t be wearing a skirt or heels in the Ice Bar! Rest assured, when you book your Icehotel adventure with us, you’ll be sent a comprehensive Travel Tips booklet detailing what you’ll need to pack together with other helpful travel advice.

Daylight hours in Swedish Lapland

Approximate hours of daylight recorded mid-month (varies according to snow and cloud cover) – this does not relate to sunrise and sunset but the actual full daylight period. Also in December and January during decreased daylight hours there is polar light (a blue subdued light) – not complete darkness. Approximate hours of daylight shown below.

  • December – 4 hours
  • January – 5 hours
  • February – 8.5 hours
  • March – 13 hours
  • April – 16 hours

Feeling inspired?

Don’t miss out on visiting the Icehotel! Fly direct on our exclusive #IceFlight and discover the magic of the world’s coolest hotel for yourself. Whether you choose to our classic 3-night break, a festive escape Christmas at the Icehotel or to combine with Abisko National Park on a twin-centre holiday, contact our team of Travel Specialists to discuss your options.

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Read our blog

What to Wear at the Icehotel

We recommend sticking to the 'layer principle' rather than packing lots of bulky items.
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