Home » Destinations » Sweden » No Iceland Ice Hotel – but Don’t Miss This Experience

WHY YOU WON’T FIND AN ICELAND ICE HOTEL

What you’ll find In this article:

  1. What it’s like to sleep in an Ice Hotel
  2. Why you won’t find an Iceland Ice Hotel
  3. Where you will find an Ice Hotel and
  4. Where you’ll find an Ice Hotel that is open all year round.

A charming fairy-tale experience … until you realise, that it is a hotel and you’re meant to sleep in it

Joanna Lumley (on her ice hotel experience)

We were going to visit Iceland in the future and I wanted to visit an Ice Hotel while we were there.

However, even though Iceland Ice Hotel comes up as well searched in Google when you try to find one your search will be fruitless.

Surprised?

We certainly were.

Although Iceland’s name suggests it is the land of ice, an actual Iceland Ice Hotel does not exist. 

The clue is in the well-known phrase — Iceland is the land of fire and ice. 

Note the word ‘fire’

icebergs floating on a lake in iceland
You’ll find plenty of ice in Iceland, but no ice hotel

Why There is no Ice Hotel in Iceland

There are a few reasons why you won’t find an Ice hotel in Iceland:

  1. Iceland does not have an accessible large amount of ice from which to build an ice hotel. The parts of Iceland that are frozen, are inaccessible.
  2. In addition, the main tourist areas are in the ‘Golden Circle’ area of Iceland which is known for its hot springs and geysers. Not the ideal conditions for an Iceland Ice Hotel.
  3. Furthermore, around 64% of Iceland’s population lives near the country’s capital city, Reykjavik, in the southwest of Iceland. Therefore, building an ice hotel in Iceland would neither be practical nor profitable.

READ MORE:

WHICH COUNTRIES DO HAVE ICE HOTELS?

Although you won’t find an Iceland ice hotel, you will find ice hotels in these countries:

Bookcases-made-of-ice in one of the deluxe bedrooms of the ice hotel
Victorian Era Room at 365 Hotel Sweden

VISITING AN ICE HOTEL

Ever since watching Joanna Lumley documenting her Ice Hotel experience back in 2009, sleeping in an ice hotel had been high on my bucket list. 

The experience looked exciting, adventurous and magical and one that was up there on the list along with finding the Northern lights.

Take a peek at her documentary that inspired my dream — it’s quite hilarious.

(Skip to 4 minutes 53 seconds for the Ice hotel part of the documentary).

THE ICE HOTEL SWEDEN

So, with our hopes of visiting an Iceland Ice Hotel dashed, we began researching other options.

We then discovered the 365 Ice Hotel in Sweden.

We were going to be driving through Sweden on our journey to France from Norway. And although it wasn’t winter, that didn’t matter, because the 365 Ice Hotel is open all year round.

The 365 Ice Hotel is kept at -5 degrees year-round, so whatever time you visit Sweden, you can tick off an ‘Ice Hotel stay’ from your bucket list.

ice bedroom decorated with chicken art
Each room has its own special artistic design in the ice hotel

 WHERE IS THE ICE HOTEL SWEDEN?

ICEHOTEL Address: Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, SWEDEN

WORLD FIRST 365 ICE HOTEL

The Swedish Ice Hotel sits 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, in the small village of Jukkasjärvi. It originally opened in 1989 as a seasonal hotel that is solely built for the winter season and then melts in spring.

However, in 2017, it also opened the new 365 Ice Hotel. It is the first permanent ice hotel in the world.

Therefore, if you visit from December to March, you will have a choice to stay in either the Seasonal or the 365 Ice Hotel.

So, if you are disappointed that there is no ice hotel in Iceland, then you can instead rejoice that there is an ice hotel in Scandinavia that you can visit at any time of the year.

A small ice robot with a heart carved where a heart would be. The ice candelabra is in the background
365 Ice Hotel

And what an experience it is.

It will satisfy any Ice Hotel experience cravings you may have … and more.

So read on and step through into another world.

A world that is immediately enchanting, captivating and magical.

A grey arched wall with reflective glass panels is the entrance way to the Ice hotel. Either side is a wall coming to about half the height of the entrance.
The entrance to the 365 Ice Hotel
Two carved ice angels overlooking the bed in the middle with blue ice murals on the wall
A bedroom in the 365 ice hotel

THE SEASONAL ICE HOTEL

The Seasonal Hotel is crafted from 1000 tons of ice, harvested from the adjacent Torne River.

Artists come from all around the world to create their chosen designs for that year’s hotel.

Come spring, the hotel melts, flowing back into the river from which it came.

A zigzag headboard of ice behind the bed and ice crystal chandeliers hanging over the bed
‘Teckara’ Art Suite, 365 Ice Hotel

THE 365 ICE HOTEL

As we visited in late September, we were staying in the permanent 365 Ice Hotel. The temperature of about -5°C/21°F is maintained throughout the year by utilising solar panels, the perfect eco power source for the land of the midnight sun, where, in the height of the summer, the sun never sets.

The 365 Ice Hotel has twenty rooms, with a combination of Art Suites and Deluxe Suites.

Each room has its unique theme, showcasing different artists’ creative designs.

The Deluxe Suites have a ‘warm room’ connected to them with a bed, private showers and toilet.

Ice Hotel sweden
‘You are my Type’ Art Suite, 365 Ice Hotel

WARM ROOM CABINS AT THE ICE HOTEL

Separate to the Ice Hotel, there are self-contained ‘normal’ cabins available all year which you can choose to stay at if you are not ice-friendly. Most people only choose to stay in the Ice Hotel for one night and then move to a cabin for the rest of their stay.

A brown semi detached cabin with a bright red door and blue framed gutters.
The ‘Warm Room’ cabins.

ENCHANTED WORLD OF THE 365 ICE HOTEL

After check-in, we were keen to explore the Ice Hotel itself. At the entrance, you are given a long, thick cape before you then step into the main ice hall.

Lars, wearing a stone coloured lined thick cape with furry collar. The ice sculptures in the background.
Main Hall of the 365 Ice Hotel

Here, you find yourself in another world.  An immediately enchanting world.  As your eyes move around the entrance hall, they are captivated at every glance.

The combination of the icy cold, the snow-muffled silence, and being surrounded by amazingly intricate ice designs makes for a moving and surreal experience.

It was more than we ever expected.

Simply beautiful.

An overview of the main hall of the 365 Ice Hotel - On the left is the serving bar backlit in blue with small ice stools covered in reindeer fur

365 Ice Hotel Bar

Within the main hall, incredible chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling. We imagined that they could not be made of ice, but each one is made from hundreds of hand-cut ice crystals.

Here, there is also an Ice Bar, where you can order an ice-themed cocktail if you’d like to add an extra chill to your experience.

Ice-hotel-bar-sweden
The 365 Ice Hotel bar area

ICE AND SNOW CREATIVITY ABOUNDS

Still reeling in the wonder of our fairytale surroundings, we went through the reindeer covered door into the corridor which held the ice rooms.

Here the magic continued.

We felt like we had entered some kind of portal into the realm of Narnia.

Each room held its delight, with breathtaking designs. From winding ice staircases and giant deer, fireplaces and bookcases, giant statues and ice angels, they all thrilled their onlookers with their distinctive splendour.

An ice room with a figure carved from ice holding a pillow. Pillow shapes on wall made of ice
‘Pillow Talk’ Art Suite
The bed in the middle of the photo is on a pinkish block of ice, there is a green backlit ice shelf to the left and a white half igloo on the left
‘Sugar Suite’ Art Suite
winding staircase made of ice leading up to a bed
‘Dreamscape’ Art Suite

Our cameras clicked away until our fingers barely worked, the cold desperately nipping at them. We managed about fifteen minutes before our exposed body parts screamed for us to leave.

It was at this point that we both wondered how on earth we could sleep there. Moreover, why would anyone in their right mind want to sleep in something akin to a ‘fridge’ overnight?

ICE HOTEL INDUCTION

An induction session is held for all Ice Hotel guests at 5.30 pm, before being given access to your room. 

You also receive; a thermal sleeping bag, balaclava and snow boots.

It is recommended that you sleep in thermal woollen leggings and top.

Other things to take note of are:

  • Do not have a hot shower or sauna straight before going to bed
  • Keep fluids to a minimum near bedtime. You will not want to get out of bed to find the toilets.
  • Keep all of your belongings in your locker or warm room.
  • You should place any items that you take into the ice room (eg. phone, camera) inside your sleeping bag to prevent them from freezing.

During our stay, the reception was closed from 11 pm.  As such, a complimentary ‘warm room’ (separate cabin) was available for our use from the time of our arrival at 4. pm until 11 am the next day. This meant that if we couldn’t handle the cold in the Ice Hotel, then we had somewhere cosy to go to get a good night’s sleep.

Though we both knew that wimping out wasn’t an option.

This was a fantastic deal, and the warm room was a great place to store our things and relax in, before venturing into our ice room for the night.

This was a lifetime experience, and no matter how it went, it was an experience we would see through.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SLEEP IN AN ICE HOTEL?

‘In the morning, I emerged, not so much like a butterfly, but a dishevelled icy pole. I emerged nonetheless.’

Find out more in this short video below:

 With nature’s wonders all around us, we excitedly made our way to our frozen chamber. Reindeer pelts cover the mattress, which tricks your mind into thinking that this is a cosy experience. 

As we lay huddled in our sleeping bags we gazed at the magical bloom of ice jellyfish encircling us. Who could fail to fall asleep and dream beautiful dreams while under the influence of this unique underwater ambience?

However, beautiful dreams there were not.

In fact, there wasn’t so much dreaming going on during the night as there was me trying to work out where the hell the head opening to my sleeping bag was.

I had buried myself so deeply in the attempt to stay warm, that I had completely lost my bearings. Moments of panic ensued, like a caterpillar constrained in its much too snug cocoon, I struggled and wriggled until I felt a brisk arctic chill invade my nostrils.

A few seconds of welcome relief, knowing there was an escape route if needed before I plunged my exposed nose back into the depths, trying to find slumber.

It was the kind of sleep where you feel you have been awake the whole time but too many hours have passed, so you must have unwittingly dropped off at some point.

In the morning, I emerged, not so much like a butterfly, but a dishevelled icy pole.

I emerged nonetheless.

Happy to have survived the night and not quite as frozen as the room’s bespoke art. 

Lars had also slept in fits and starts, and although not as cold as me, uncomfortable enough to prevent deep sleep.

There seemed to be a mixed reaction from the other guests, so it’s not completely impossible to get a good night’s sleep.

The joy is in the experience rather than achieving a great night’s sleep.

There is huge carved deer at the back of the room with carved ice lanterns adorning the rest. The bed in the middle is covered with reindeer fur.
‘Oh Deer’ Art Suite

DEFROSTING AT THE ICE HOTEL

The wake-up call, with a cup of hot lingonberry juice, was at 8.00 am.

We peeled ourselves out of our sleeping bags, slid into the snow boots and trudged our way to the reception.

The temperature outside was a welcome balmy 2°C. We passed on the option of a sauna, downed our welcome, ‘you survived the night’ juice and retired to our ‘warm room’ for the immediate gratification of a hot shower.

We were still contemplating whether we had ‘enjoyed’ the whole experience, as we tucked into the delicious full buffet breakfast at the restaurant.  

Eggs, bacon, the works. Pancakes on top? Why not?

We’d just survived a night in Arctic conditions for goodness sake — we were practically arctic pioneers.

Time Magazine listed the Ice Hotel, as one of the top 100 places to visit in the world in 2018. We would have to say, that we agree.

The experience far outweighed our expectations. It was worth doing and an unforgettable experience.

Worth doing once … and perhaps only once.

Blocks of ise surrounding the bed in the middle of the room have mazes carved into them
‘Don’t get Lost’ Deluxe Suite

NORTHERN LIGHTS AT THE ICE HOTEL

Green swirls of northern lights above the ice Hotel with a black sky and stars
Northern Lights above the Ice Hotel

Amazingly, the Northern Lights appeared as we made our way to the Ice Hotel from our cabin, (warm room).

They danced and swirled and mesmerised us with their luminous colour.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO STAY AT THE ICE HOTEL?

We stayed for one night in an Art Suite of the 365 Ice Hotel — Check prices here.
The price included a night in the Ice Hotel and a full buffet breakfast.

(We also had a complimentary warm room offered on arrival – but would advise checking with the hotel as to whether this will be offered.)

Genie ice art in ice hotel

BOOK A ROOM AT THE ICE HOTEL

Book a room at the Ice Hotel here 

Guests do not have access to their ice rooms until after 6.00 pm as, before this, visitors to the hotel and other guests can take a tour around and admire the unique ice designs in each room.

Guided Tours around the hotel take place in English at 12 pm and 4 pm daily, (Free for guests).

WHAT TO VISIT AND DO NEAR THE ICE HOTEL

No Iceland Ice Hotel … That’s a Wrap

Were you surprised as us that there isn’t an Iceland Ice Hotel? 

Is an Ice Hotel stay on your bucket list?

We’d love to hear your thoughts or hear about any similar experiences. Were you surprised as us that there isn’t an Iceland Ice Hotel? 

Please feel free, as always, to ask us any questions.

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No icehotel in Iceland pinterest pin

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