The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden has once again opened its doors for a spectacular twenty-third season. Located 200 km (124 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, the winter hotel is constructed entirely of ice and snow and features artist designed suites which this year include a UFO-inspired creation from PinPin design studio.
The hotel can definitely be described as walking into a winter wonderland, complete with artist designed main hall, ice bar, ice church, luxury suites and reception. In addition, for the first time the Icehotel also features a photo exhibition and light installation located in a separate building made from Torne River ice and snow by artists Anna Öhlund and John Pettersson.
This year the main hall has been inspired by the theme "Navigating the Unknown" and incorporates ideas from old nautical maps.
“The walls and ceiling of the hall have three dimensional lines inspired by the ones used for navigation in the past; and the center of the room features a giant compass rose,” explains its co-creator Thoms Ivarsson.
Meanwhile PinPin design studio has created an impressive suite entitled "Beam Me Up," inspired by imaginative local UFO theories. The suite is filled with hovering UFO crafts which "beam down" columns of light and ice. The playful atmosphere invites visitors to participate in the UFO mysteries as well as delivering a stunning visual effect.
Although guests won't be beamed up into the night sky by passing extraterrestrial spacecraft any time soon, the hotel is offering the next closest thing. The Northern Light Flight package, operated by Direktflyg, offers guests the chance to participate in a rare flight experience in collaboration with Spaceport Sweden, Lapland Resorts, Swedavia Kiruna Airport and the Institute of Space Physics.
The scenic flight goes up into the Swedish night skies, promising the best seat in the house from which to witness the magical northern lights phenomena. The solar activity, which is responsible for the breathtaking aurora borealis spectacle, peaks every 11 years and the 2013 winter season is anticipated to offer exceptional Northern Light viewings.
Interested visitors should take note that the hotel maintains a consistent temperature that sits between -5 to -8º C (17- 23º F) so packing warm clothes is a must. Overnight guests are given a thermal sleeping bag on arrival, with each room featuring an ice bed that consists of a plastic coated mattress topped with reindeer skins and a wooden frame that sits within an impressive ice block structure.
If you're curious to see how they did it, head to the gallery and check out the making of the 23rd Icehotel in pictures.
A night in the Icehotel will set you back between US$588-$930 per couple and the Northern Light Flights start from approx. $1025 per person.