• 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 shoot knife man in central Stockholm
Police technicians spent the rest of Saturday night combing the square for clues. Photo: TT

A knife-wielding man was shot by police officers in Stockholm’s Sergel Square on Saturday night after he attacked officers.

 Ibrahimovic 'is not going to Manchester United' - agent
Ibrahimovic is pondering his next move. Photo: TT

According to Mino Raiola, the agent of Swedish superstar footballer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his client will not be heading to Old Trafford to link up with Jose Mourinho, Manchester United's new manager.

More flight delays hit Swedish airport
For some flights, the problems have led to up to two hours of delays. Photo: TT

Travellers at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport were beset again with delays on Saturday afternoon after technical problems with flightplan management software.

Video
The top reactions to Swedish high heels handyman video
Andersson was in agony after a day of laying floors in high heels. Photo: Emil Andersson

What did The Local's readers think about this viral clip challenging sexist beauty ideals?

Transport authorities call for probe into tech glitch
SAS aircraft grounded at Arlanda airport last week. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

But officials say it was not sabotage that caused last week's network failure, which knocked out large parts of Swedish air traffic.

Why northern Swedes get the hots for sex toys
File photo of handcuffs. Photo: Gunnar Lundmark/SvD/TT

Where in Sweden do people buy the most sex toys? Kiruna in the far north, apparently.

Royal baptism day for Sweden's Prince Oscar
Prince Oscar with Archbishop Antje Jackelén. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

UPDATED: Royalty, dignitaries and other esteemed figures took to Stockholm's Royal Chapel for the ceremony.

Giant replica of Swedish 18th century ship up for sale
The Götheborg setting sail from Stockholm in 2008. Photo: Claudio Bresciani / TT

A replica of a doomed Swedish merchant vessel that sank in 1745 within sight of its home port of Gothenburg has been put up for sale.

Border checks
First migrants make it from Denmark to Sweden on foot
The Öresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark. Photo: Erland Vinberg/TT

Dozens of attempts have been made, but this is the first successful crossing since Sweden introduced ID and border checks.

Brexit
Poll: Swedes are worried about Brexit consequences
The possibility of Brexit has Swedes worried about the EU's future. Photo: Lars Pehrson/SvD/TT

Swedes are worried about what may happen both at home and abroad if Britain votes to leave the EU in June.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Gallery
The best, cutest and funniest snaps from Prince Oscar's christening
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Travel
Is this town the best place in Sweden?
Gallery
People-watching: May 25th
Blog updates

27 May

Editor’s blog, May 27th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, Would you spend a day doing manual labour in high heels? That’s what Swedish…" READ »

 

17 May

What about “att”? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! It often seems like the small words are the ones that cause the most confusion.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Society
WATCH: Why Swedish handyman wore pink high heels for feminism
Sponsored Article
Stockholm makes it easier for refugees to meet startups
Sport
LIST: Top-ten ridiculous things Zlatan has compared himself to
Business & Money
Why Swedes don't want the euro
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Vika, Falun
Sponsored Article
Food, fun, and reliable sun: Summer in Dubrovnik
National
Is this the most Swedish tattoo ever?
Sponsored Article
How Stockholm startups help new employees feel at home
Gallery
People-watching: May 20th-22nd
National
How to really annoy a Swede abroad
Sponsored Article
'Only soft power can defeat radicalism'
National
How this war veteran is warming hearts in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so many successful researchers
Gallery
People-watching: May 18th
National
How this Swede's viral ad totally nailed Stockholm's housing crisis
Gallery
Property of the week: Vasastaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Lifestyle
The best Swedish cities for dating
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: May 13th-15th
Sponsored Article
Can you afford to live in Stockholm? (Hint: yes)
Culture
BLOG: Eurovision as it happened
National
Why a 116-year-old Swede isn't the world's oldest woman
National
Youth unemployment falls in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: May 11th
Gallery
People-watching: May 6th-8th
Politics
Why Sweden's Greens are in free fall
National
Can these cartoon Swedes help foreigners blend in?
3,351
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