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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 and enjoy a drink in the Ice Bar.

Below we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions about the incredible experience of sleeping on ice and staying 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 all the furniture and features also 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!

However, the entire complex actually consists of a number of different buildings and many are conventionally heated. There is a warm dressing room area with showers and sauna for use when you stay in the Icehotel, as well as warm hotel rooms and cabins for the remainder of your stay. The restaurant is also located in a heated building.

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Why is the ice so 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.

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What is 'snice'?

The Icehotel is built out of ice, snow and ‘snice’ – snice combines snow, water and air. It is made from snow cannons and has a higher density than snow itself making it stronger and perfect for building purposes. In the snice, the small ice crystals with air in between them makes it as white as snow and insulating because of the air. It weighs 500-600 kg/m3. Ice 920 kg/m3. Snow 200 kg/m3.

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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 Icebar. 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!

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How do I sleep on ice?

In all types of cold room the ice beds consist of a large block of illuminated ice with a thick mattress and a layer of reindeer hide on which you lay a cosy polar sleeping bag. You only need to sleep in a single layer, usually your thermals, as you snuggle down inside the bag. Warm socks and a hat are also recommended. The snow walls are very sound-isolating so you can be sure of a peaceful night. You will be awakened by one of the hotel guides and served hot lingonberry juice in bed.

You change in the adjacent warm Riverside Lobby, which has a comfortable lounge area with a log burner plus warm showers, toilets, sauna and lockable storage facilities.

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Is there a restaurant in the Icehotel?

When staying at the Icehotel, meals are taken in the elegant Icehotel Restaurant, which is a separate heated building across the road from reception. A fine dining experience, the restaurant offers an extensive breakfast and lunchtime buffet and a delicious à la carte dinner menu. It’s often featured in gourmet magazines around the world and has been awarded the prestigious Werner Vögeli Statuette.

Furthermore, you can dine in style at the Chef’s Table at The Veranda where culinary delights are served by talented chefs with theatre and panache. With only 16 spaces, you need to book your place!

We’ve created a special 3-night Culinary Adventure designed to showcase the integral role food, culture and lifestyle play in the Icehotel experience.

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Alternatively, the Homestead restaurant, which is located a short walk along the main road, offers a homely option serving excellent hearty buffet style meals in a rustic setting.

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Situated behind the Icehotel’s main reception, the Lounge Bar is a comfortable place to enjoy a selection of light snacks, hot drinks, wine and beer during the day.

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When can I visit the Icehotel?

Traditionally, the Icehotel was available to stay in from mid-December to mid-April at which point it melted back into the Torne River. However, in November 2016 the stunning Icehotel 365 opened offering the chance to sleep on ice year round. Complementing the seasonal hotel which is rebuilt every autumn, Icehotel 365 remains open throughout the year with its sub-zero temperatures maintained by solar power during the summer months.

So, if you are looking for a true winter break, late December through to the end of March are the best months to visit, whereas if you would like to combine your night on ice with a summer adventure under the midnight sun, choose our Icehotel & Treehotel summer fly drive.

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What happens to the Icehotel in the spring?

As spring arrives in 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 summertime 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 wildflowers.

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What type of room should I stay in?

Some people visit the Icehotel for the novelty of sleeping on ice, while 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  ‘sleeping on ice’. 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!

Many people find that the cool fresh air and tranquillity of the Icehotel gives the best night’s sleep they’ve ever had! Each bed has an ice base covered with a thick mattress strewn with pillows and reindeer furs. You’re given a snug thermal sleeping bag to sleep in and you wake up to a delicious cup of warm lingonberry juice.

As for the ‘facilities’, there is a separate heated building conveniently alongside the Icehotel with toilets, showers and sauna.

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

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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 often be seen across a clear night sky. The Icehotel is in an excellent location for viewing the northern lights if they make an appearance. For some of the best aurora possibilities, we offer a twin-centre break combining time at the Icehotel with a stay in Abisko National Park, known as one of the best places in the world for witnessing the aurora.

Remember the northern lights are 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!

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Can I get married at the Icehotel?

Yes – every year the Icehotel incorporates a beautiful Ice Chapel into its design. The experience of getting married here is something to cherish – with no two Ice Chapels alike, this adds to the feeling of exclusivity and uniqueness on your special day. Everyone looks for that little something extra when choosing a wedding venue and the Icehotel certainly has it all.

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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 winter clothing to use during your stay. This includes a thermal suit, thermal boots, fleece-lined hat and over-gloves. Make sure you also bring your own hat, gloves and plenty of warm clothing to wear underneath. Flat shoes with a good grip are also essential. Rest assured, when you book your Icehotel trip with us, you’ll be sent a comprehensive Travel Tips booklet detailing what you’ll need to pack together with other helpful travel advice. You can also ask our team, who have first-hand experience.

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Daylight hours in Swedish Lapland

These are the approximate hours of daylight recorded mid-month, which vary according to snow and cloud cover. This doesn’t 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.

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

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Planning your visit

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.

Speak to a specialist

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