I know what you’re thinking. “It’s winter! It’s cold! Carrie is going to take us someplace tropical!” Well NOT SO FAST, Bitches. I’m Googling ice hotels for this month’s Romance Wanderlust, and you’re all Googling with me! Bwah ha ha!
But seriously, these places are beautiful. Weird and cold, but beautiful.
After careful consideration, I’m focusing on one ice hotel in particular. The not very creatively named ‘ICEHOTEL’’ is located in the village of Jukkasjärvi. This means that I have a legitimate reason to use my beloved Monty Python quote:
Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër? See the løveli lakes. The wøndërful telephøne system. And mäni interesting furry animals, including the majestik møøse.
And also, why not see the ICEHOTEL? Parts of this location are permanent (a new feature is that they have some ice rooms all year now). However, the big draw of the installation is that every year most of the ‘cold rooms’ are allowed to melt during the summer and then in the winter they are sculpted from scratch with new designs, making it an art installation as well as a hotel. The temporary condition of the rooms adds to the magical ambiance created by the artists.
All photos in this post are by Asaf Kliger.
ICEHOTEL has ‘Cold rooms’ and ‘Warm rooms.’ The warm rooms (which are permanent and made out of standard materials, not ice) are basically nice hotel rooms, in soothing light earth tones, with big windows that look out onto the forest.
The cold rooms are AMAZING. All rooms include a tour and access to the sauna. Some rooms have a door and some have a curtain. Some have ice sculptures and some are carved into these cool geometric block shapes. All have a mattress called the “carpe diem” mattress. Carpe Diem seems like a great name for a coffee or an alarm clock but for a bed? Anyway it’s covered with reindeer hides which I suspect is a deal breaker for many, and you sleep on top of the furs in sleeping bags (and yes, they do have two-person bags). Reviews say that the whole effect is surprisingly warm.
A popular feature of ICEHOTEL is that they host weddings. The hotel website has many high concept photos but all I could think is that everyone looks very cold. Also if I may offer a tip based on experience: sled dogs are not romantic. I’m fond of their sweet fluffy selves, but they bark all the time and they smell weird and they shed and they are always dirty. Just because I like them doesn’t mean I would let them anywhere near my wedding dress.
On the one hand, surely all of us from cold climates are asking ourselves, “So…you stay there…voluntarily? And you pay them, not the other way around?” On the other hand, the rooms do look magical. There’s also a lot to do. There’s an icebar where all the glasses are made out of ice. You can go to storytelling night and watch the Northern Lights. You can go on a sled dog ride or a snowmobile ride or, in different seasons, learn about edible Arctic plants. They have Midnight Sun boat trips in summer and ice carving classes all year.
There’s a foodie restaurant where all the food is tiny and photogenic and a more “comfort food” type restaurant nearby. Bring your Elsa cosplay and your thermal underwear for a magical night, but between the preponderance of reindeer on the menu and the hides on the bed, it might be best not to mention it to Sven.