It probably goes without saying that the Ice Hotel is cool. But I also have to say that it is also an unbelievable work of art. Located outside of Kiruna in ice-hotel-3284Jukkasjärvi , the hotel and church next to it are sculpted entirely out of ice and snow. Thus every year, it is built out of blocks of ice farmed from the Torne River and then as warm weather comes back to Lappland, the ice melts back into the river from which it came.

The process starts in March when the blocks of ice are cut out of the river and put into freezer storage. Then as soon as winter begins, a team of artists from around the world begin sculpting and designing the rooms. By December, a completely new hotel is crafted and ready for guests.

As you walk into the hotel, there is a lobby as you can see at left as well as a reception area where you are greeted. The chandeliers are, of course, also made of ice. There are standard rooms with just a bed in them (a mattress covered with reindeer skins) and then there are also art suites where artists and designers have been given free rein to create spectacular flights of fancy such as the queen’s bed below. Would I like to stay in one of the rooms, a friend asked? Maybe it sounds wimpy, but I think that it would be awfully cold to sleep on a block of ice. I think I would enjoy designing one of the rooms instead. But I did enjoy having a drink in the Ice Bar, where I sampled some Absolut Vodka with lingonberry, served up in a glass made out of – you guessed it – ice. When I was done, I threw it against the wall. Very satisfying.

One of the many art suites in the hotel.

One of the many art suites in the hotel.

Some of the many ice sculptures in the gallery outdoors overlooking the river.

Some of the many ice sculptures in the gallery outdoors overlooking the river.

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