WHAT’S COOLER THAN BEING COOL? SWEDEN’S ICEHOTEL 365

When you’re booking a hotel, what is it that makes you click that confirmation button? Is it the right price? Good location? A killer room service menu? The opportunity to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience? I’m thinking that the latter might be what Sweden’s new IceHotel 365 is  banking on.

As if Sweden wasn’t already the king of cool, they recently added the icing to the cake (quite literally) by showcasing what has been described as a “permanent luxury lodge made entirely of ice.” Brrr.

icy1icy3The IceHotel 365 is certainly not the first of its kind — but part of what makes it unique is its ability to stay open year round. Say what? Yes, even in the midst of a Swedish summer, visitors will be able to keep their cool. According to the hotel’s official website, the facility will be comprised of 2,100 square meters filled with ice and snow from the nearby Torne river. The hotel is located some 200 kilometers north of the Artic Circle (cue the goosebumps) in a Swedish village named Jukkasjarvi. The hotel will permanently sit not far from a temporary, seasonal ice structure that has been built and rebuilt and built and rebuilt since the late ‘80s.

So, how exactly will this hotel achieve its everlasting iciness? Surprisingly enough, it will do the seemingly impossible by being in cohorts with the sun. The building, which will remain at a balmy 23 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, will be kept cool using energy from a solar cell facility. The hotel’s positioning north of the Arctic Circle means that during the summer, there is plenty of midnight sun, perfect for proving solar power and producing electricity. More specifically, according to Yngve Bergqvist, the founder of the IceHotel:

“According to our calculations, IceHotel will reduce its total energy requirements. This is because solar cells take advantage of the nearly continuous daylight during the summer months. Consequently, we’ll be able to produce roughly 75 kilowatts from April to September, which gives us an energy surplus that we can use to run our existing buildings, like our restaurants, offices, and warm rooms.”

To understand more of what Bergqvist is talking about, it might be helpful to understand what exactly the IceHotel will look like. There are both cold and warm rooms available, so that those staying for longer than a few days can have a break from the chill factor. When staying in a cold room, the IceHotel provides guests with thermal sleeping bags and highly encourages the inclusion of personal thermal underwear in packing considerations. In addition to the rooms, there is a check-in and checkout, concierge-type area (warm), as well as an IceHotel Resteraunt and the Homestead, both which feature fixed dinner settings.

icy2In total, the icy part of the hotel includes 10 luxury suites, 12 art suites, an IceBar, and ice sculpture gallery and sculpting class studio space, in addition to an event space. Art suites have a little extra inspiration behind them – they are individually designed by hand-selected artists from all around the world (such as Germany, the UK, or the US). Artists have had free reign to make the suites whatever they want them to be ,and many, it seems, have been inspired by the unusual medium. According to Arne Bergh, an artist who serves as the creative senior advisor to the IceHotel:

“Ice has an interesting effect on creativity, since it’s not permanent it makes you dare trying ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise – it’s very liberating. The idea of a project that marries this transient tradition with a semi-permanent, year-round element is even more exciting.”

You are my typeMaking the icy accommodations more than the seasonal offering that has been available for some years was no small task. Speaking to Conde Nast about the origins of the idea, Bergh comments:

“In 2012, I was in Cape Town to build a replica of the IceHotel’s main hall for a BMW photoshoot. We built a wood structure in a huge cold storage warehouse and shipped in ice to create the snice (snow plus ice) needed for the space. The project was successful, inspiring me to propose the idea of a permanent ice bar and gallery with a silent freezing system that will be covered by grass in the summer months. The board liked the idea but thought it was better to build a bigger space ­– that ended up being ten times larger than my original proposal.”

So, there you have it folks. If you don’t get enough of the chills this winter, you can still chase down the shivers come June with a visit to the IceHotel 365 in Sweden. Perhaps you can use future plans to visit as an excuse for the extra holiday blubber? Pass the cookie plate…

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