A room that’s five below zero brings a whole new meaning to five-star accommodation at this unique transitory hotel
Is there anyone on the planet who’s not heard of the Ice hotel? Although few people have actually visited, everyone knows about it. Sleeping on ice in sub-zero temperatures takes some marketing.
Well, this must be the greenest of hotels. The entire building is constructed from snow and ice from the Torne river and, when the spring comes, it melts back into the river from whence it came.
By the time all signs of the hotel have disappeared the tiny resort has returned to its second love of fresh-water fishing, rafting and bear watching. So although green through and through – it is not sustainable in the literal sense of the word!
The whole concept of a temporary hotel made from ice and snow is an extreme test of creativity, engineering and science. Arriving as a guest for the first time is a bit scary, but it doesn’t disappoint.
The art bedroom suites are designed with luxury in mind, with rooms boasting iconic furniture from Eames, Alvar Aalto, Panton and more. All rooms have the luxuries you’d expect – dressing tables, desks, computers, sofas, balconies, walk-in wardrobes, coffee tables, even your own bar. But of course it’s all useless in snow/ice. Very clever – but purely decorative.
Each room uses just compact snow and ice in a variety of textures: crushed, sculpted, manipulated, smashed, clear or frosted, all with LEDs twinkling quietly against the surrealist white-out of night, to create the most theatrical interiors.
Lacking the obvious comfort of a 5-star hotel, the ‘luxury’ is in the checking in to your five-belowzero room and the comical reaction to this from husbands, (“Just why are we doing this?”). Reality means that you can’t flop about your hotel room and shower, watch TV or read a book. You dive in to your sleeping bag and prepare for the eerie silent night to descend. Quite spiritual really.
But then restless and exasperated, you leave your frozen bed and run to an outside community block to read, or chat, in comfort. Or just drink. Loads of people enjoy themselves in the bar, through excitement, or is it fear or anticipation? And we all wait for extreme tiredness to take over, before trying for that elusive sleep again. This doesn’t come for everyone.
One room is focused on a tree house and has a spiral staircase with low, tunnel-like, ceilings leading to a tree-house nest. Not for those that don’t like pot-holing, but it’s a very clever design nevertheless. Ice sculptures run throughout the hotel which give a fillip of excitement when you least expect it.
This is an unparalleled experience in guest accommodation. I hate camping, but I’m not averse to the odd adventure and, in that sense, this is a perfect experience. Plus there’s skidoos, skiing and huskies. I, not we, loved it!