Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ice hotel

Absolut Icebar in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden (December, 2005)

An ice hotel is a temporary hotel made up entirely of snow and sculpted blocks of ice. They are promoted by their sponsors and have special features for travelers who are interested in novelties and unusual environments, and thus are in the class of destination hotels. Their lobbies are often filled with ice sculptures, and food and beverages are specially chosen for the circumstances.

All of the ice hotels are reconstructed every year, and are dependent upon constant sub-zero temperatures during construction and operation. The walls, fixtures, and fittings are made entirely of ice, and are held together using a substance known as snice, which takes the place of mortar in a traditional brick-built hotel.

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Norway

Kirkenes Snow Hotel

Kirkenes Snow Hotel is situated in the eastmost town of Norway, close to the Norwegian-Russian border. The hotel had its first season during winter 2006/2007, the hotel had 20 rooms and the largest snow dome in Norway (8 meter high and 12 meter in diameter). All the rooms were individually decorated by the ice artists from Finland and Japan. The west Snow Hall was decorated by a local sculptor Arild Wara. A night in the snow hotel is combined with a special dinner prepared on an open fire, the visitors can also get a sauna before or after staying at the hotel. There is also a reindeer park and a husky farm in the hotel area.

Ice Lodge

The Ice Lodge is one of the largest in Norway and part of the Bjorligard Hotel. It has a longer season than most ice hotels because of its altitude (1,250 meters above sea level).

Alta Igloo Hotel

The Alta Igloo ice hotel has been rebuilt yearly since 2000. It is Europe’s northernmost ice hotel, as it is located in the Finnmark region and is approximately 250km from North Cape. The 2000 square metre hotel has 30 rooms, including 2 suites and it is decorated with numerous ice sculptures and ice furnishings, including lighting systems which enhance the different types of crystalline formations. Besides the bedrooms the hotel also contains an ice chapel, ice gallery and ice bar where drinks are served in glasses made of ice. The Alta Igloo Hotel has a changing theme every year. In 2004, it was a Viking theme, in 2005, Norwegian fairytales, and in 2006, the theme was wild animals of the region. The guests use sleeping bags that sit on top of reindeer hides.

Sweden

Main Hall in ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi. Sculptures by Jörgen Westin (January, 2007)

Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi

The Icehotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi, about 17 km from Kiruna, Sweden was the world's first ice hotel. In 1989, Japanese ice artists visited the area and created an exhibition of ice art. In Spring 1990, French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a cylinder-shaped igloo in the area. One night there were no rooms available in the town, so some of the visitors asked for permission to spend the night in the exhibition hall. They slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin - the first guests of the "hotel".

The entire hotel is made out of snow and ice blocks taken from the Torne River - even the glasses in the bar are made of ice. Each spring, around March, Icehotel harvests tons of ice from the frozen Torne River and stores it in a nearby production hall with room for over 5 000 tons of ice. The ice is used for creating Icebar designs and ice glasses, for ice sculpting classes, events and product launches all over the world. About 1 000 tons of what is left, is used in the construction of the next Icehotel.

When the temperature drops and the snow guns start humming on the Torne River shore, usually in mid-November, the building process begins. The snow is sprayed on huge inverted catenary shaped steel forms and allowed to freeze. After a couple of days, the forms are removed, leaving a maze of free-standing corridors of snow. In the corridors, dividing walls are built in order to create rooms and suites. Ice blocks are now being transported into the hotel where selected artists start creating the art and design of the persihable material. Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi opens in phases, the first phase opens in the beginning of December and for each week, another part of the hotel opens up for visitors and guests until the beginning of January when the entire construction is completed.

When completed, the hotel features a bar, church, main hall, reception area and rooms and suites for over 100 guests to sit and sleep on blocks of sculpted ice in the form of chairs and beds. There is also warm accommodation available next to the hotel. The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi is known to be the biggest hotel of ice and snow in the world, spanning over some 6 000 m2. Each suite is unique and the architecture of the hotel is changed each year, as it is rebuilt from scratch. Each year artists submit their ideas for suites and a jury selects about 50 artists to create the church, Absolut Icebar, reception, main hall and suites. When spring comes, everything melts away and returns to the Torne River. The Icehotel only exists between December and April, and has been listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Sweden. [1]

Documentaries that focuses on this hotel can be seen from time to time on Discovery Channel [2][3] and National Geographic[4].

Canada

Ice Hotel Chapel, Quebec (February, 2006)
Same Chapel from afar

About 10 km east of Québec City, and within the grounds of the Duchesnay winter resort, the first and unique Ice Hotel in North America is erected each January. It had 22 beds when it first opened in 2000. In its last iteration it had 85 beds, all made of ice but lined with deer furs and covered with mattresses and Arctic sleeping bags. Only the bathrooms are heated, in a separate insulated structure. The hotel is usually made (the architecture and size may vary from season to season) with 5000 tons of sculpted ice and 15000 tons of snow, forming arches over rooms with 16 foot (5 m) and larger and higher spaces for one art galleries a N'Ice Club, a Ice Café, a slide of 60 feet and a chapel where weddings are celebrated. The walls are more than 4 feet (1.2 m) thick on average. All of the furniture is made of ice. In addition to using ice glasses as in the Kiruna ice hotel, the bar (and room service) also serves cold cuts on ice plates.

Finland

The Mammut Snow Hotel is not an ice hotel per se as it is made entirely of snow. Many of its furnishings and its decorations, such as the ice sculptures, are made of ice. It is located within the walls of the SnowCastle of Kemi, which is the biggest snow castle in the world. It includes The Mammut Snow Hotel, The Castle Courtyard, The Snow Restaurant and a chapel for weddings, etc.

There are ice decorations also in Lainio Snow Hotel (near Ylläs and Levi, Finland).

Hotel & Igloo Village Kakslauttanen is located 10 km south from Saariselkä. It has snow igloos, glass igloos, an ice gallery, an ice chapel and a snow restaurant. The ice gallery has decorations made from ice and an ice chapel for wedding ceremonies. There is also a big snow restaurant for up to 150 persons. Hotel Kakslauttanen is also famous of their unique glass igloos.

Romania

In 2006, the first ice hotel in Eastern Europe was built at Bâlea Lake (Romania), deep in the Făgăraş Mountains, at an altitude of 2034 m. It also features many attractions like bob-sledding and ice fishing, and can accommodate over 150 people per night.


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