Travelling to Sweden in winter? Then book a night at the iconic Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi!
You’ve probably heard about the phenomenon that is ice hotels and trust me when I say they live up to the hype.
Earlier in the year I spent the night in a room carved from ice by talented artists at the famous Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland. Everything from the bed and mattress to the door and walls are made of ice – so don’t expect any mirrors, bathroom or lights in this room!
To get there, you’ll have to catch the train to Kiruna. There are plenty of overnight trainoptions available from Stockholm and transfers to and from the train station can be booked through the hotel. Once you arrive at reception, a member of staff will explain how to survive spending the night in a room made of ice. You will be given free access to sleeping bags, clothing and snow gear, showers and saunas, bathrooms, storage rooms and a warm lounge lit by fires.
The Ice Hotel is an art gallery and is open to the public so you won’t have any privacy until around 5pm when the gallery is closed. You’ll also have to be out of your room by 9am, unless you want to be part of the exhibit of course. But don’t worry, a member of staff will wake you up with a warm cup of lingonberry juice which (trust me) is much needed! During the night you will only be able to wear a layer of thermals and a beany. You have the choice of your own sleeping bag or a double bag for couples who like to cosy up but as staff will explain, it is much harder to keep warm with a shared sleeping bag. We opted for single sleeping bags so we wouldn’t have to worry about getting cold during the night.
At first you’ll find that the room is a bit eerie. It’s awfully quiet and extremely cold! But before long you’ll find that your sleeping bag is warm enough and you’ll drift off to sleep. I actually slept better in the ice hotel than I did on the overnight train to get there!
After surviving the night, you will be transferred to a much warmer and much more comfortable cabin, complete with your own private bathroom. Your bags will be transferred for you and yes, you still get free access to snow gear so you can leave the cabin without suffering from hypothermia.
The cabin is much more relaxing so I suggest staying in the ice room first. It’s like a reward for having survived the ice!
During your stay there are only two restaurants to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner and booking arrangements can be made through reception. You can always visit the supermarket up the road for supplies. Don’t forget to visit the ice bar at night where even the cups are made of ice!
During the day, make the most of local guides and staff and take part in activities like reindeer and husky sledding, snowmobiling and northern lights sightseeing. They may be expensive, but they’re worth it!
When you check out of the resort you will be handed your diploma for surviving the night in an ice room. Along with your name and a picture of the ice hotel’s main doors will be the inside temperature (-5 degrees Celsius) and the outside temperature from the night which for us was -25 degrees Celsius.
Local staff, activity guides and the ice room itself definitely live up to the expectations. I give the ICE HOTEL five stars.
Have you ever spent the night in an Ice Hotel?
If you’re travelling to Sweden, be sure to check out my guide to exploring Stockholm!