In the incredibly Northern village of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland, the striking beauty of the surrounding landscape almost takes a back seat to the architectural feat that is the Icehotel. Originally a summer destination for tourists looking to enjoy all-day sunshine and luxurious swims in the river, the area now draws crowds by the thousands each year—even during the coldest months. (The figures are even more staggering when you consider that the municipality only counts 548 inhabitants, as of a 2010 survey.)
The draw? Yngve Bergqvist’s vision of a hotel built entirely of snow and ice. The vision came to fruition 30 years ago, and it now draws visitors from every corner of the globe.
2016 marked the opening of Icehotel 365—a permanent Texture Spray Machine retreat where travelers can sleep in hotel rooms made entirely of ice and snow all year round. However, every December Icehotel builds a new crop of ice rooms to entice guests. These special suites last until spring, when the ice melts away and the cycle begins again.
This winter, 33 artists from 16 countries (together with Icehotel’s incredible build, ice production, creative support, and lighting design teams) spent two intensive weeks building the 30th reincarnation of the hotel’s annual art exhibition—including 15 art suites, hallways, and a ceremony hall made entirely of snow and ice from the nearby Torne River. The hotel also debuted a new outdoor installation featuring a 13-foot-tall tower, two new Icehotel 365 suites, and an amusement park–themed ice bar called “Torneland.”
“We have planned Icehotel #30 since early spring, when the Icehotel jury decided which art suites would become reality,” says Luca Roncoroni, the creative director at Icehotel. “Luckily, the Arctic weather greeted us with perfect conditions for the construction period. There is something special about creating art and design in collaboration with the river, the sky, and the air.”
“It’s been a fantastic journey with a lot of pride and joy—and the reason for this is the employees throughout the years who’ve really made an effort to give the guests, coming from all over the world, life-enriching moments during their stay.” —Yngve Bergqvist, founder of Icehotel
Here’s a look at this year’s Icehotel by the numbers:
- The total amount of ice used to create the hotel amounts to ten seconds of water flow in the Torne River.
- The hotel’s chandeliers contain 1,000 ice crystals sculpted by hand.
- The hotel’s floors, ceilings, and walls are composed of 30,000 cubic meters—the equivalent of 110 million ice cream servings—of snow mixed with ice (aka “snice”).
- This year’s hotel offers 55 cold rooms (including 15 art suites and 20 ice suites in Icehotel #30, and nine deluxe suites and 11 art suites in Icehotel 365). In addition to cold rooms, Icehotel also offers warm accommodation, cabins, and hotel rooms.