• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Sweden's Ice Hotel offers a chillin' good time

Malin Nyberg · 25 Dec 2013, 08:41

Published: 25 Dec 2013 08:41 GMT+01:00

“Can you get frostbite from -7? Would it be romantic to be here with a boyfriend? Damn, I really need a pee.” I dig myself deeper in to the sleeping bag, staring at the ceiling made of ice. This is so surreal.

Backtrack two days and it’s Thursday afternoon at Kiruna Airport. The temperature shows -14 and the season’s first Ice Hotel guests are getting off the flight from Stockholm, clutching their jackets tight to their bodies, hats pulled well below their ears.

This is extremely cold for most of us - even for me as a Swede - but our jolly guide Andreas, who picks my friend Renée and I up at the airport, doesn’t seem too bothered.

“So, welcome to the Ice Hotel,” Andreas smiles proudly as we arrive. It’s the opening weekend and although all of the art suites aren’t finished yet, there are already tourists walking around inside, photographing the amazing rooms.

The Ice Hotel is surrounded by wooden chalets as well as one restaurant, one dressing room and a lounge. These are all warm and cosy places, offering everything from saunas to hot chocolate and fancy cocktails in glasses made of ice.

Apart from experiencing one night’s sleep in one of the ice rooms, which is due to happen on Saturday, Renée and I are here to try some of the activities available in the area; reindeer racing, moose safari by horse and ice sculpting.

We check in and get settled.

As my alarm sounds at 8am the next morning I struggle to get out of bed - it’s still pitch black outside. We’re staying in one of the warm chalets for the first two nights, a combination that most guests at the Ice Hotel prefer.

A few hours later, I find myself on a sledge with a crazy reindeer tied to it. We have spent some time with its owners Per-Anders Nutti and his son Pavva at their Sami camp, listening to stories about the Sami culture and I’m now due to try reindeer racing.

A reindeer can get up to a speed of 70 kilometres per hour, Per-Anders tells me just as Pavva shouts “go!”, releasing the reindeer from his hands.

Terrified, I fall off the sledge.

“Wow, that must be a record...” Pavva murmurs to his father.

I decide to give it another go and this time I’m doing much better. “Faster! Faster!” I hear myself shouting, while laughing hysterically, half way down the racing track.

In the afternoon Renée and I head to a farm 40 minutes drive from the Ice Hotel. A girl named Jenny lives here together with a cat, a dog, two goats and a whole bunch of Icelandic horses. We are here to do a moose safari tour.

“Oh, look over there!” Jenny says, just as we are about to get up on our horses. She points towards two big moose standing in a field about 50 metres away from us.

Despite already having completed our mission, we venture in to the Lapland forest. It’s very chilly but luckily the Ice Hotel supplied us with warm overalls, boots and gloves as soon as we arrived.

“This is as far as you’ll ever get from the Stockholm rush hour,” I think to myself as we make our way through the trees.

When Saturday night arrives I’m nervous. It’s now a staggering -32 outside and -7 in the hotel. I’m told to wear only one layer of clothing – it’s important to not start sweating during the night as that will make you cold.

After completing my outfit with a hat and two pairs of woollen socks, I get into the big sleeping bag I’ve been given at the reception. The bed is quite comfortable but I struggle to fall asleep as the feeling is so surreal.

I spend some time trying to convince myself I really don’t need a pee. I also can’t help but wonder what it would be like to share my sleeping bag with someone special...

Suddenly it’s 7am and I’m being woken up by a member of staff who offers me a warm lingonberry drink. I have a sip and then fall back in to a sleep so deep that I nearly miss the incredible breakfast that finishes at 10 am.

On the last day we are taking a class in ice sculpting. I spend an hour obsessively trying to carve out a chimney in the mini Ice Hotel I’m making. Very therapeutic. Proudly, I upload a picture of my artwork on to Facebook.

“So did you see the Northern Lights?” you may ask, as this is one of the main reason tourists visit the very north of Sweden.

Well, they did appear in the dark blue sky on both Friday and Saturday night but sadly we missed it.

On Friday we were too busy eating delicious mooseballs (as in meatballs made of moose meat, nothing else..!) at the newly refurbished homestead restaurant, Hembygdsgården.

And on Saturday? Well, I slept on ice – and got a diploma that is now pinned up on my wall back home in Stockholm.

ICE HOTEL no 24 open 6 dec 2013 – 22 Apr 2014

Rates: Cold rooms from 1600 kr per person and night. Warm chalets from 1350 per person and night.

Get here: Fly direct from Stockholm Arlanda (1.5 hours) with SAS or Norwegian.

Malin Nyberg (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police resources back to normal after terror threat
The headquarters where Säpo, Sweden's security police is based. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedish police say they're no longer deploying extra resources following a reported terror threat in the run-up to Eurovision.

Why this fearless woman is the talk of Sweden
Photo: David Lagerlöf/Expo/TT

Swedes are calling this picture an instant icon.

Opinion
'Swedes, please give your sperm a purpose'
File picture of an embryo. Photo: Richard Drew/AP

Swedish men should stop jerking off in public places and start donating sperm to help single women have babies, argues Stockholm-based writer Matilda Karlsson.

Petrol firm tries to woo women to pumps with new name
A Statoil station in Enköping. Photo: Fredrik Strandberg/TT

A Statoil petrol station in Stockholm today becomes the first in Europe to get a makeover.

Half of Swedes support law banning begging
A man begs for money on Hamngatan in central Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Only one political party in Sweden wants a ban on begging, but half the population shares their view, a new survey shows.

Presented by Stockholm University
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Photo: Stockholm University

Thousands of outstanding researchers from across the globe have chosen to make Stockholm University their home and hub. What is it that attracts them? We asked.

Stockholm taxi drivers 'help clients find prostitutes'
A Taxi Stockholm car driving in the capital. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Drivers from Stockholm’s biggest taxi firm are suspected of helping fuel the sex trade despite the purchase of sex being illegal in Sweden.

Eurovision 2016
Eurovision set for US as gay channel announces live show
Eurovision flags flying in Stockholm this week. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Now you can watch Eurovision in the US too.

'Isis' kids get taken into care in central Sweden
File picture of children in the middle east. Photo: AP /Manu Brabo

Three siblings authorities feared could be forced to go abroad to get married or fight alongside extremists have been taken into care in central Sweden.

Eurovision 2016
Palestine envoy angry at 'insulting' flag ban
The Palestinian flag (left) was included on the same banned list as that of Islamic State (right)

The Palestinian Ambassador to Sweden has waded into the row over a Eurovision ban on the Palestinian flag calling it "insulting" and "a big mistake".

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
National
Sweden set for sunny weekend
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vollsjö, Sjöbo
Features
How to be a cool Swede during a hot summer
Blog updates

29 April

Editor’s blog, April 29th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Relations between Sweden and Russia went from slightly strained to full-on James Bond this…" READ »

 

18 April

A day as a guard (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Life as an Ambassador. Driven around in the Jaguar. Visits all planned so you go straight…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Kista: The best office space in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: April 29th - May 1st
Sponsored Article
'Swedes must realize only soft power can defeat radicalism'
Analysis & Opinion
Why Sweden's fretting about Brexit
National
INTERVIEW: Swedish police officer 'beat me up and used racial slurs'
Gallery
People-watching: April 27th
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
Öresund bridge border checks net record number of drink drivers
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
National
Swedes bid farewell to iconic Volvo
Gallery
Property of the week: Enköping
Sponsored Article
Why international researchers love to call Malmö home
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Politics
Could Brits in Europe stop Brexit?
National
The first official picture of Sweden's new royal Prince Alexander
Sponsored Article
‘Life in Stockholm’s suburbs is better than people realize’
National
Sweden's Sami reindeer still live in the shadow of Chernobyl
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 20th
Sponsored Article
'A sustainable Sweden must embrace diversity'
National
Why was a Nazi flag hoisted in a Swedish town on Hitler's birthday?
Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
National
How did Sweden's deputy PM get in trouble over New York comments?
Sponsored Article
Sigtunaskolan: 'The best of what Sweden has to offer'
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 16th-17th
Sponsored Article
'I may work at a Swedish company, but we’re global'
Culture
Sweden finally axes historic dancing ban
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: Stockholm's secret dating scene
International
Have you phoned Sweden yet?
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: April 13th
National
Is booze going up in Sweden?
National
How Sweden's fake 'smombie' traffic sign is being used for real
3,278
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se