One doesn't necessarily need to have an excuse to travel to Sweden. With its idyllic landscape; a knack for design (hello Ikea and H&M); urban centers lined with tulips and bike paths as far as thee eye can see; and enviable social services (read: healthcare), about the only thing the country doesn't have going for it is their dark, seemingly endless winters. But these innovators have even found a way to take advantage of the gloomy season, with the creation of the ICEHOTEL
, the world's first and largest hotel built of ice and snow. Open from December to April every year until it eventually melts away, the structure has been called one of the "Seven Wonders of Sweden."
With space for over 100 people, guests slumber in a thermal sleeping bag that's been placed over reindeer skins on a bed of ice blocks. Each room is custom crafted by one of 50 artists chosen to carve their designs into the ice, and in this way the ICEHOTEL is more like an art exhibition than purely a hotel. Located in the tiny village of Jukkasjarvi, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, the building always remains a cool 23 degrees Fahrenheit. If you get too cold, there's a bar to warm you up, as well as a church should you need to consult with a higher power when temperatures feel too unbearable.
And if that all wasn't "cool" enough, the company is also working towards becoming Co2-negative (Climate positive) by 2015. They plan to produce more energy than what they consume while making the complete transition to renewable energy sources such as wind, water, solar and bio-energy. Dennis Pamlin who is working on these efforts explains: ”If you can succeed 200 km north of the Arctic Circle with its lengthy periods of darkness and extreme cold, well, then you show at the same time that anything is possible—even where at first glance it seems almost impossible.”
Images courtesy of ICEHOTEL