Thursday, January 25, 2007

A hotel built of ice and snow

ICEHOTEL is situated in the village Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. The heart and backbone is the River Torne flowing freely through the unspoilt wilderness. Covered with a meter thick ice layer winter time the river is the source of all our art, architecture and design. The pure water and the steady movement of the river creates the clearest ice possible.

From the Ice Age to the Present

Ten thousand years ago, glaciers carved a riverbed and the Torne River was born. Since then, the crystal-clear, pure water of the Torne River has flowed freely along its 600-kilometer path through Lapland out to the sea in the southeast.

The entire ICEHOTEL is on loan from the mighty Torne River and is a place where time stands still. Just a short period before, fish swam in the water and the river was a crashing torrent of whitewater, wild and frothing. And very soon, when the spring comes and then finally the summer, the rooms, the suites, the bar, the reception, in fact the entire creation, will once again become part of the rushing rapids coursing toward the sea.

How it all began

If it is possible to build a hotel of ice in a small village 200km inside the Arctic Circle, which strikes the whole world with amazement, then anything is possible. The story of ICEHOTEL is indeed a fairy tale come true.
The free flowing Torne River is the origin and artery of ICEHOTEL. From the river, the ice of ICEHOTEL is borrowed each year. And it is here, on the river shores in the village of Jukkasjärvi that our story begins.

The company Jukkas (present day ICEHOTEL) has been a tourist operator in the region since the 1970s. For many years the company focus was on the summer season and the magnificent outdoor experiences offered by the land of the midnight sun. During the dark winter the river was frozen and the people of the small village of Jukkasjärvi went into hibernation.

Cold and darkness as an experience
By the end of the 1980s it was decided to turn things around. Instead of viewing the dark and cold winter as a disadvantage, the unique elements of the arctic were to be regarded an asset. Inspired by the work of visiting Japanese ice artists, in 1990 the French artist Jannot Derit was invited to have the opening of his exhibition in a specially built igloo on the frozen Torne River. The 60 square metre building named Artic Hall attracted many curious visitors to the area.

Cold drinks in hot absolut icebar

A place where all your senses are touched and warm lips leave impressions on the ice glasses, created from the pure ice of the Torne River. There is a cosmopolitan crowd mingling while sipping vodka cocktails created specially for ABSOLUT ICEBAR. When inside, reality seems very distant.

This has been the scenario since 1994 when ICEHOTEL and ABSOLUT caused a stir around the world. Together they created the world’s first ABSOLUT ICEBAR made entirely of ice in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Ever since have bar guests been stunned by the dreamlike environment, created by skilled artists and craftsmen.

It is a far distance between ABSOLUT VODKA in the southern town of Åhus and ICEHOTEL in the northern village of Jukkasjärvi. Nevertheless the two companies are united by their appreciation of genuine crafts, their well documented history of creativity and design as well as their care for pure raw materials derived from a local source; winter wheat from surrounding farmers and spring water from an own deep well in Åhus and crystal clear ice from Torne River in Jukkasjärvi.


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