Ethereal and whimsical, the Icehotel is an experience like no other. It is the world’s first hotel built entirely from snow and ice, with each year bringing new, exquisite and intricate designs, carvings and sculptures before they melt away in Spring. Consequently, no two seasons are the same. Now, with a collection of lodges and chalets, and permanent ice rooms, guests can stay all year round, and experience the wonder of the world above the Arctic Circle. Explore the surrounding wilderness on snowmobile or horseback; marvel at the northern lights or bask in the midnight sun.
During a recent visit to the IceHotel, Gemma conducted an interview with Mikael Dahlberg, the hotel’s Sales Manager, to provide an insight into what makes this hotel so special.
Gemma & Mikael Dahlberg (IceHotel Sales Manager)
We are so excited to be working with The IceHotel. We love the concept – please could you give us a little insight as to how the hotel is designed and built bigger and better each year?
As the concept of Icehotel is based on the yearly cycle and that the hotel always melts away, we are forced to think new each year, no art made can ever be remade. This combined with artists coming from all over the world, with different ideas, from different cultures, with different backgrounds there is no set theme to Icehotel. Each Art Suite is different, which creates such excitement to see what the next room will look like, and the next room after that. Ideas are combined and we get to test something new every year and keep improving each year.
We can’t wait for our clients to sample the chef’s table at The Veranda – where do you source all the local ingredients that make dining at the hotel so special and who is designing your menus?
Our head chef Camila is creating our menus. Local ingredients are sometimes hard to find but a true luxury to work with as many are so flavourful. Our local proteins include ptarmigan, arctic char, reindeer and moose. To complement these could include ingredients such as blueberries, cloudberries, moss, Kalix Löjrom or regional gin. Then comes the work or presentation, should this be on a regular plate, or a plate made of ice, such as our Ice menu where two courses are presented on ice plates made from the pure Torne River water. Lots and lots of details, but to create short a step-by-step manual to make each dish special. One, decide the local star of your dish. Two, make it shine by complementing it with local flavours. Three, present the right dish in a breath-taking way.
This is a tough one – Winter or Summer in Swedish Lapland? If you had to choose a time to come, when would it be?
For me personally, I love the end of August-September. Great time to be outdoors, nights can be cold but during the days it is warm with beautiful fall weather and the colour of the forest starts to change from green to, red and yellow. Great time for hikes, fishing and the first Auroras we usually see at the end of August. January is another favourite time for me. Middle of the crisp winter, we can have really cold days but as the river and lakes are frozen, we have quite a dry climate which makes it easy to dress for this cold weather. Being outdoors, perhaps on a snowmobile tour or going out on a pair of cross-country skis for a cup of coffee in the snow is just a perfect little break to disconnect and reconnect and relax your mind.
As a company we are very concerned with promoting sustainable travel, what do you do at the Ice Hotel to minimise your impact on the environment and promote sustainability?
We are always working on improving ourselves. For us, our part of sustainable travel is not limited to only the environment. We strive to be sustainable for the environment, culturally and socially. First, we are lucky to work with a really sustainable material, river water. We use as much renewable energy as possible, for example, we have 875m2 of solar panels on location. We plan and recycle everything that can be recycled. We want to present the Sami culture, the indigenous people of Sweden, the best we can and offer our guests to learn about their culture and spread that knowledge forward. We try to do what we can to stay close to the village of Jukkasjärvi and not just be a hotel in a village, but a village member and something to be proud of as a local. These are examples that create the base of our sustainability work and of course, there is much more to be done. But just as rebuilding a new hotel with new ideas each year, implementing new ideas and adapting as new technologies become available, it makes us better each year.
A question for our little ones – what has been your best wildlife spotting experience? Do you have regular four-legged visitors at the hotel?
The most different experience I’ve seen at the hotel was in May 2020. Our all-year-around Icehotel, the Icehotel365 which is sub-zero degrees on the inside, even during the warm months, is covered with a grass and flower roof. A place you really do not walk on; I saw four brave climbers. Four reindeer were on top of the roof of the hotel, relaxing in the sun having a snack on the selection of flowers that day. We quite often have reindeer coming into the village and around the Icehotel area but not quite like this day.
Thank you so much for your time. We can’t wait for our guests to visit your fantastic property!
Don’t miss out, chat with us now about your IceHotel adventure! Contact our experts at [email protected], call +44 (0) 1306 264005 or