Not far from the Arctic Circle (200 kilometres, to be precise), a dreamy ice hotel in Sweden opened its doors just in time for the (highly unusual) holiday season. The annual seasonal pop-up Icehotel 31 debuted earlier this month, returning for its 31st time – and during a year when its unique, reality-escaping offering is more appreciated than ever.
Central to the winter wonderland of an experience is stunning art sculptures, all made from ice. In better years, the hotel accepts artists from around the world; due to COVID-19, however, this year’s 35 artists were all from Sweden.
The talented team created 12 one-of-a-kind ice suites, all made up of ice sculpture decorations. Throughout the magical space, guests can enjoy a range of larger-than-life art displays accompanied by audio guides that discuss the backstory and inspiration behind each piece.
Adding to the icy cool spot’s talking points is the fact that both the art and parts of the hotel are created using ice blocks from the River Torne, one of Sweden’s Natural Heritage Rivers. The ice is retuned to the river once the spring weather rolls around.
In addition to the visual ( and, subsequently, social media-worthy) playground, the hotel features saunas, outdoor activities, a frozen forest display, and award-winning food. With international travel restricted – or at least, frowned upon – the sparkling hotel and its impressive art installations are at least offering a visual feast for the wanderlusting set from afar.
Understanding the international appeal of this annual hotel – and fuelling daydreams – the team behind Icehotel 31 is offering a virtual tour via an Augmented Reality Experience on social media this year. Those interested are invited to tour one of the 12 suites or one of the six new art suites in the permanent part of the hotel.
All photos: ICEHOTEL