Built 200 km inside the Arctic Circle in the little village of Jukkasjârvi, northern Lapland (Sweden), Ice Hotel is the most perishable accommodation facility in the world, and the biggest hotel of ice (covering over 6 000 m2). Every year, tonnes of snow and ice are taken out of Tornes River, starting from mid-November when the building process begins. This insane idea started in the spring of 1990 when the French artist Jannot Derid had an exhibition in an igloo. One night, visitors had no accommodation available in the village, so they asked for permission to sleep in the exhibition hall with sleeping bags, on top of reindeer skin.
The last hotel (#19) has a bar, a church, a main hall, a reception area, and can accommodate over 100 guests. Chairs, beds, tables, even ice glasses or original sculptures are all made out of ice, diffusing a interesting light and creating a special atmosphere. Every room or suite has a unique architecture style that has changed year to year. About 50 artists are selected by a special jury to create the ambiance. The Icehotel's existstence is possible only between December and April, after which the water returns to Torne River, completing the circuit. The hotel opens its doors one at the time, every week, from the beginning of December until the beginning of January - when the entire construction is completed. Indoor temperatures come down to minus 5 degrees Celsius, while outdoor temperatures drop to minus 15 degrees. But there are lots of adventures in the surroundings of Jukkasjärvi offered by Ice Hotel such as snowmobile safari, dogsled and moose safaris, hunting courses or wilderness courses.
There's an alternative in Eastern Europe as well, with an ice hotel built in 2006 at the high altitude of 2034 m, in Făgăraș Mountains, at Balea Lac, accessible via cable car in the winter.
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