ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland
See it before it melts: The Ice Hotel opens its doors to reveal this year's breathtaking hand-carved suites (including a 10 foot elephant and 1970s inspired Love Capsule)
- Located in Swedish village of Jukkasjarvi, the hotel uses 5,000 tonnes of ice and snow from the nearby Torne River
- There are 19 individually themed rooms, chosen from 130 submissions, and an ice bar for an evening beverage
- The 'pop up' hotel opened its doors to guests just last week and will close when the structure melts away in March
By BECKY PEMBERTON FOR MAILONLINEPUBLISHED: 13:40 GMT, 14 December 2015
The ice hotel is now back - and what better way to stand out than to place a giant elephant in the room.
The first images of Ice Hotel 26 in Sweden have been released offering a sneak peek of the incredible suites that are now available for guests of the famous accommodation.
Aside from the 9.8 foot African animal, creations this year include a 1970’s inspired Love Capsule, a room taking its design aesthetic from a Russian imperial theatre and there is even an icicle cave.
As soon as the temperatures drop below zero, the construction begins, with the structure taking around two months to complete.
Around Christmas the ice church is opened.
If the breathtaking rooms are not enough to amaze guests as they rise in the morning, the hotel can also arrange wake-up calls to witness the spectacular Northern Lights outside.
This can be arranged via a new app, Aurora Skycam, which sounds an alarm when the display appears, as well as giving users access to live data.
Nordic skiing and arctic wilderness survival beginners' courses are also available including the chance to learn how to build a shelter and make a fire.
For those who prefer to be pampered, there are spa experience on offer, including an ice plunge and a thermal starlit bath.
To enjoy the full experience, new for this season is Discover the World’s Arctic Living three-night package which provides a selection of activities and includes the cost of accommodation.
These include a traditional Arctic feast, an exhilarating cross country skiing excursion as well as the new Swedish sauna experience (learning about authentic rituals and experiencing a tar soap cleanse) and taking plunge into the icy river waters, along with the survival course.
The Ice Hotel also has a rustic Homestead restaurant, with Michelin trained head chef Alexander Meier at the helm.
This year Swedish Lapland delicacies re-invented are on the menu, including reindeer served with chocolate sauce.
Around 26,550 drinks are usually served in the bar from December to April, along with 11,000 hot cups of complimentary sweet lingonberry juice.
This year the Icehotel asked for talented sculptors and artists to have an input in the creative designs and received over 130 submissions to choose from.
The aptly named 'Elephant in the Room' by sculptor AnnaSofiaMååg, was one of the chosen designs.
The talented artist is no stranger to the Icehotel, having also created a unicorn for the main hall in 2014. Her new design features a three-metre-tall African elephant overlooking the ice-framed bed.
THE ART OF SNOW FARMING
Apparently, ice farming is no different from picking wine grapes or olives, as each year is a different vintage.
Thanks to fortunate weather, the blocks were almost four inches thicker than normal and exceptionally solid this year.
For anyone who finds it hard to drift off, Luca Roncoroni's 'Counting Sheep' should help as the room features ice sculptures of the animals.
Among the suites is the 1970's inspired Love Capsule, and a room which takes its aesthetic from a Russian theatre set called Labyrinth Saga.
Berlin-based AnnaKatrin Kraus and Hans Aescht from Germany has brought to life a forest of Gothic-like ice pillars, cocooning the suite and transforming it into an intimate ice cave.
In addition to the uniquely designed rooms, the Icehotel has two luxury suites with secured glass doors (the others have curtain doors), an en-suite bathroom and private sauna.
Despite competition from other ice hotels, the Jukkasjärvi village was the original.
In total, the vast accommodation boasts 55 rooms including the church and bar, with bookings now open.