Surviving a night in ‘The Ice-Hotel’
When the opportunity came up, and when we could fit it into our travel budget; we jumped at the chance to head to the Ice-Hotel for an extended weekend.
After a day of travelling through Scandinavia; across the Arctic Circle via the night train, we finally arrived in Kiruna (Sweden). Upon stepping off the train, the cold temperature hit me straight away & I was already wondering how I was going to make it through the night in a room made of ice. A 10min bus ride from the station, we arrived at the ‘Ice Hotel’, which was situated next to the Torne River.
We were given our room number and organised our activities: dog sledding and chasing the Northern lights on skidoo were on my agenda. We then headed over to the “Warm House” (adjoined to the ice-hotel) to be given our locker (for your belongings during your stay in an ice room) and change into our purposely made ski clothes, gloves & shoes (optional but it is highly recommend).
Once we were in our suits, we were given a small talk about the hotel, the facilities, the history and the artists who sculpted the rooms. Then it was our time to explore the hotel and surrounding area in the limited day light. Apart from it being -20c, it was one of the most beautiful places that I had seen; everything was pure white covered in snow and very still. It was just so peaceful and for a moment I forgot where I was.
First stop was to visit the themed rooms and check out the amazing ice sculptures in some of the rooms. It was such a surreal experience, all the artists rooms where different, there was everything from Dragons to giant chessboards (I felt like a kid again playing chess & pretending to ride a dragon). All iced bedrooms are open to the public until 6pm every day, and then guests are allowed to retire to their chosen room.
After the rooms, we visited the church (you can organise to get married here) and then the ice-bar for a drink before heading off to do our activities that we had booked (review to come).
Once our activities were over, it was time to do what we came here to do, and spend the night in our ice room on an ice bed. So we headed over to the warm house to collect our sleeping bags and to change into our thermals/Pjs.
Once changed, it was time to head to our room. Whilst walking there, it was the first time I had felt the cold apart from when we first arrived, and realised just how good those purposely made suits were during the day. As I got comfortable in my sleeping bag (tucked up with my Beanie over my head) a hundred things started running through my mind while I drifted off to sleep – will my water freeze in the middle of the night; what would I do if I need to get up for the loo – will I freeze; how will I go sleeping on a bed of ice. The next thing I knew it was morning and I was being woken up by one of the hotel staff bringing me warm berry juice. I had made it, and all that worry was for nothing: instead I had one of the best night’s sleep in a while and was nicely surprised about how warm and comfortable it was to sleep on deer skins.
As we prepared for our departure back home & checked out of our room, we were given a certificate to congratulate and remind us that we had just spent the night in a -9c temperature room.
About the Room:
All the beds are made of Ice with Reindeer skins on top of them. You sleep in a specially made sleeping bag (you can choose from single or a double).
There are 3 main types of ice rooms that you can choose from depending on your budget & what suits you. Art Suites (themed rooms created by artists) are the most expensive, Ice Rooms (Standard ice bed but with furniture in the room) is the middle range option, or Snow Rooms (standard double bed – the one that I stayed in) the cheapest option available.
How to get there & Location:
There were only two main options of getting to Kiruna at the time of writing this:
Option 1: You could fly to Stockholm, and then take a direct flight to Kiruna
Option 2: you could fly to Stockholm then take the overnight train to Kiruna (this is the option that I took).
However, I understand now that there is a daily direct flight from London to Kiruna (I am unsure of the price) during the peak season.
There is a main office where you can book various excursions like dog sledding, chasing the Northern lights, horse sledding, etc. As there is usually a limited number of spaces on the activities and there is only a couple of restaurants in the town, you are best to book these in advance to save disappointment, especially if there is something particularly you really want to do.
You are given a medium sized locker, which will not fit a large suitcase. It would fit a medium backpack, ski coat, thermals and personal belongings. You don’t need much anyway as you are provided with the suits/shoes/gloves and hats when you arrive.
If you are stopping in Stockholm and you would like to downsize your bag, there are large lockers at the main train station (also where you take the night train from) that are available and safe to use.
If it gets too cold for you, or if you want to relax in the warmth, there is a warm house (where your belongings are kept) available that also has a sauna and showers for you to use during your stay.
You can take the option of staying in one of the heated rooms that is situated next to the hotel. I have never stayed in one of these but they looked very warm and comfortable.
During the winter months, there is only a couple of hours of daylight per day.
Have a drink at the Ice-bar as it is such a cool novelty, drinking out of a glass made of ice, while sitting on the ice furniture. If you are not keen on drinking out of ice cups there are warm drinks available and soft drinks for the children.
Unless you have a large budget, definitely make sure that you plan accordingly otherwise you will end up spending a small fortune on the additional extras
If you are unable to make it to the Ice-Hotel but would like to have a similar experience, you can visit the many Vodka Ice-Bars that are around the world.
Would I recommend it?
I would highly recommend staying at the Ice-Hotel, as it is a once in a life time trip and an experience that you will never forget. However be aware that it is not cheap, but if you have the chance and can afford it, then start planning your trip!
Price Range; – Expensive but worth it
Wifi; – Free in all areas
Breakfast; – Buffet breakfast included
For any additional information or booking inquiries, please go to the attached link http://www.icehotel.com/
If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested in Meeting Santa in Lapland