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Ice Hotel

Ice Hotel travel guide

Spend a night in a hotel made of ice – for fun! Sweden's Ice Hotel was the first, but there are other places where you can have a truly chilled stay

The tiny village of Jukkasjarvi in Swedish Lapland is home to more sled-dogs (800) than humans (600), but is now world-famous thanks to an extraordinary (and increasingly copied) experience: the Ice Hotel.

In 1990 a tour operator working in the area had invited a French artist to design an igloo made from the ice of the frozen Torne River. It became a tourist attraction and one night some hardy visitors with sleeping bags decided to have a go at sleeping in it. Hence the idea of a hotel made of ice was born.

The hotel is still seen as a work of art as much as a hotel. It is built afresh each winter, and artists from around the world are invited to design the 'suites', which comprise a third of the accommodation, the rest being plain ice rooms.Even if you’re not staying here, you can visit to ogle this unique shrine to ice and snow.

As for the practicalities, the hotel complex contains permanent buildings too, such as cabins and other accommodation, a restaurant, and a changing area. Most visitors opt to spend just one night in an ice room and the rest of their stay in a regular 'warm room'.

In the Ice Hotel you sleep in a sleeping bag on top of a reindeer-hide-covered ice bed. As for going to the toilet, you’ll be relieved to hear they are in a nice warm block – but you do have to leave the Ice Hotel to get to them.

Optional activities at the Ice Hotel include ice sculpting, snowmobiling, husky sledding, horse riding and cross-country skiing.

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