The newest hotel in Sweden is cool. So cool, in fact, that it’s frozen. And it will stay that way. Year-round.
OK, the ICEHOTEL 365, located in northern Sweden, isn’t technically “new” at all—the chill zone actually was the world’s first hotel made of snow and ice when it opened on a seasonal basis back in 1989, and it has been born and reborn as a pop-up every winter for the past 27 years.
Now, however, owners have decided to keep the thing built year-round, making it the planet’s first ice hotel to stay open for all four seasons.
The process of staving off a literal meltdown won’t be easy. According to a recent article on CNN, the hotel will continue to be made from 5,000 tons of ice taken from the nearby River Torne, but it will require solar-powered cooling technology to remain at a cool 23 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s -5 Celsius for those of you scoring at home).
Technically, the material that comprises the hotel is called “snice,” a word created to describe a mixture of snow and ice. In a press release, the hotel’s management company noted that construction of the hotel involves enough snice to make 700 million snowballs.
The hotel sits about 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle in a town called Jukkasjärvi (pronounced joo-kas-jer-vee). The area is known as a great vantage point from which to see the Northern Lights.
The CNN piece indicated that the year-round part of the hotel is expected to include a bar, a chapel, an art gallery, and 20 suites. Each of the suites has been designed differently and each features fixtures and fittings (such as chandeliers and nightstands) you’d expect to find in any other luxury hotel. Prices for the suites start around $630 per night.
A short article in Architectural Digest noted that sections of the hotel will continue to melt and be rebuilt as usual, meaning there will be new attractions for guests to enjoy each year. This year’s winter-only iteration opens December 16.
Our advice? If you visit, just make sure you dress appropriately, and maybe review the words to “Let It Go” before you check in.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.