Friday, November 7, 2008

A Chilly Swedish Adventure

It's that time of year again in northern Sweden. Every November, a hotel is sculpted out of ice and snow in the village of Jukkasjärv, about 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. The ice comes from the Torne River near the hotel site and the accommodations are built anew each winter.

Picture this: dozens of guest rooms (carved out of more than 10-thousand tons of ice and 30-thousand tons of snow) in an igloo-like structure. Virtually everything in the hotel is ice, including the beds, most of the furniture, the artwork and the bar. The hotel even features a sauna, spa and an "ice chapel," where weddings and other ceremonies are held.

This winter, Ice Hotel will open for business in mid December and stay open through March of 2009.

How do you keep warm in such a hotel? Guests are provided with beaver nylon jumpsuits or insulated body bags, the type once worn by moon-walking astronauts. You also have the option of renting a heated cabin. For those who prefer the cold, you will find heated bathrooms "near" the hotel.

Expect to pay between $300 and $500 dollars a night at Ice Hotel.

If you can't make it to the north of Sweden, you can get your "ice fix" at Ice Bar in Stockholm.

(Ice Hotel guest room photo courtesy of Ruben Laguna)

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