Est. 1960

ONE17 NOTES MAGAZINE - ICEHOTEL - AUTUMN/WINTER 2017

Art Suite 2016. The Flying Buttress by AnnaKatrin Kraus and Hans Aescht.Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comArt Suite 2016. The Flying Buttress by AnnaKatrin Kraus and Hans Aescht. Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comMiddle of winter and your boiler has broken?

Stop moaning and see how they do things inside the Arctic Circle.

Reincarnated

Experience

The legend of Brigadoon concerns a Scottish village in the remote highlands that appears to the outside world only one day every hundred years. Narnia could only be entered through a secret portal hidden in the back of a wardrobe. Alice fell into Wonderland by tumbling down a rabbit hole. Hidden or lost worlds have fascinated us since we were first aware of the limitations of our normal existence. So the idea of a magic hotel that appears and disappears every year appeals to something deep within us. If that hotel could be built of ice like the Snow Queen’s palace, our fantasies jump into overdrive.  Luxury hotels all over the world vie for attention by promising something different or better than their rivals, but ICEHOTEL, reborn every winter since 1989 in the Swedish village of Jukkasjarvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle is truly unique.

Luxury hotels all over the world vie for attention by promising something different or better than their rivals, but ICEHOTEL, reborn every winter since 1989 in the Swedish village of Jukkasjarvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle is truly unique.

ICEHOTEL 2017. Art Suite Audience. Design Edith Van De Wetering & Wilfred Stijger.Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL. www.icehotel.comArt Suites. Photo Paulina Holmgren. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comArctic Light over Torne River, Jukkasjärvi Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comArt Suites. Photo Paulina Holmgren. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comArctic Light over Torne River, Jukkasjärvi Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comICEHOTEL 2017. Art Suite Audience. Design Edith Van De Wetering & Wilfred Stijger. Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL. www.icehotel.comThe idea of a magic hotel that appears and disappears every year appeals to something deep within us.ICEHOTEL began as an art project, when founder Yngve Bergqvist, inspired by the tradition of ice sculpting in Japan, invited artists to attend a workshop in the village in 1989 where two professional Japanese ice sculptors acted as instructors. The following year the first ice structure was built, essentially as an art gallery. It was later used for church services and film shows; a bar was soon opened and then a party of guests asked if they could stay in the giant igloo. The rest is history.

 

For an architect the process of construction of ICEHOTEL is fascinating. The source material is harvested from the Torne River on the banks of which Jukkasjarvi stands. Huge two ton blocks of ice are cut from the river and stored the year before construction. Drawings are prepared in May. At the end of November artists from all over the world gather to create that year’s hotel.

 

The construction method is rather like sprayed concrete, except that here the material is ‘snice’ a mixture of snow and ice. It is sprayed onto moulds which are removed once the metre thick walls have set. Then rooms are created within this shell again using just snow and ice. The critical structural form is the catenary arch, known to structural engineers as strong and self supporting. Each artist then sets to work turning his or her sketches into reality and six weeks later a new hotel is ready. Visions of Santa’s helpers beavering away come readily to mind.

 

The temperature inside ICEHOTEL stays around -5°C to -7°C. Yes, that is very cold. So cold that there is a tutorial for guests about how to dress and conduct themselves before sleeping in an ice room. Inside the Arctic Circle is cold full stop but during the arctic winter – well, you get the idea.

 

Luckily there are also lots of other rooms, lodges, a restaurant and a lounge kept toasty warm just to make you appreciate the experience of sleeping in the ice rooms even more. There are no bathrooms within the ice rooms so the trip between bed and basin can be stimulating!

 

ONE17’s Caroline Lee visited ICEHOTEL in February 2011 and thoroughly recommends it as a once in a lifetime experience. “ We actually went to see the Northern Lights, but although skies were a stunning blue during the day, clouds came in every evening and unfortunately The Lights eluded us! However, the surreal night in the ICEHOTEL, witnessing the fantastic artwork and unique architecture from the warmth of a reindeer skin clad ice-bed, certainly ensured it was one very special trip to remember.” »

After viewing the stunning artwork there are lots of other things to do on a visit to ICEHOTEL, all geared to take advantage of the setting: ice sculpting, snowmobile safari and a tour behind the scenes to see how the hotel works and to visit the warehouse that stores the ice blocks from River Torne, amongst others.

 

Caroline has particular memories of dog sledding. Not having experienced such transport before, Caroline was keen to see as much as possible and grabbed a seat at the front of the sled, immediately behind the dogs. The animals are bred to run and pull. They work as a team and can continue for hours at a time. There are no comfort breaks for Huskies. Evolution has enabled them to answer calls of nature without breaking stride. You can perhaps imagine why Caroline did not have to fight off more seasoned sledders for the front seat….

 

Apart from the physical manifestation of ICEHOTEL it has developed into a highly sophisticated brand. In 2014 for example it was awarded the Signum Prize as top Nordic brand of the year. ICEBAR started in ICEHOTEL – of course – but the concept has been successfully exported around the world and you can visit a genuine Icebar in London or Stockholm if a trip to Swedish Lapland is too far for a quick cocktail.

Surroundings of ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland. Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.com

Deluxe Suite 365 – Once upon a Time. Design Luc Voisin & Mathieu Brison. Photo Asaf Kliger.© ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comDeluxe Suite 365 – Once upon a Time. Design Luc Voisin & Mathieu Brison. Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.comNothing stands still. The success of ICEHOTEL has led to the latest development: this year sees the opening of ICEHOTEL 365, a permanent structure containing luxury art suites, each with its own private relaxation area and bathroom, all sculpted by selected artists, plus a large ice bar and an ice gallery. In a nice reversal of technology, this permanent structure will be cooled by solar panels during the summer months!

 

You may say the magic of the appearing and disappearing hotel is slightly diminished by this new venture, but magic alone does not pay the bills. The show (or is that snow?) will go on. The Torne River will continue to flow and freeze, artists will continue to gather to create enchantment and -7°C will be as cold as ever. If only they could develop nappies for Huskies, now that would be progress.

 

www.icehotel.com

Surroundings of ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland. Photo Asaf Kliger. © ICEHOTEL www.icehotel.com