• Sweden edition
 
Sweden's Ice Hotel offers a chillin' good time
Photo: Peter Grant/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden's Ice Hotel offers a chillin' good time

Published: 25 Dec 2013 08:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
National
Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Summer has come to a definite end in Kiruna as residents of the northern town were greeted with a blanket of snow on Sunday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. Photo: Leo Sellén/TT

Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart

Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has said that the election success of the Sweden Democrats is a "slap" in the face for the Stockholm establishment. READ  

National
Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

National
Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

National
Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

National
Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Sport
Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Analysis
Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

867
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
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:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN