How to survive a night at the Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland

By Abigail Collins | Northern Lights Holidays, Lapland | Posted 10 Jul 2013

"So all you should take with you into your room is your thermals, a hat, your thermal boots for walking there and a fleece"...."No way" i thought. I'm going to wear much more than that. I was at the Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland and was at the briefing of what to wear when you went to bed. The rooms are made from snow and ice and are a constant minus 5 degrees celcius. The bed was a slab of ice covered in a reindeer skin and we had an arctic sleeping bag each. This was not like the James Bond movie - no romantic candles, log fires and silk sheets. I turned to my husband "FYI tonight is NOT the night!"

Our Art Suite had a wonderful 5 ft wave of lace as every art suite has a piece of ice sculpture specifically commissioned that year. Every year international artists compete for the opportunity to create an art suite. The rooms are not locked like most hotel rooms as you only go to them when you want to go to sleep, as they are not a place to relax and watch tv in! Your belongings are secured in individual lockers. So you just have a curtain for privacy and during the day you can visit them all.

We had wondered around earlier and seen suites with the Gottenburg skyline, Polar Bears and even The Last Supper - quite spooky with 13 lifesize statues watching you as you go to sleep. The art really is spectacular.

Art Suite at the ice Hotel

So evening came and we put off the inevitable as long as possible drinking vibrant cocktails in the Ice Bar and dancing to Abba. It was great fun drinking from glasses made of ice and them smashing them against the wall afterwards. And then we layered up and went to bed! My husband heeded the advice given and only had 1 layer on, but i wanted to make sure i was warm so i put on several layers. So having wrestled into the sleeping bag i settled down for the night, only to decide 15 mins later that i needed the loo. So up i had to get, put on my boots , pad down the wonderful corridor with ice chandliers to go outside to the minus 30 degrees to get to the "warm room" where the secure lockers and loos were. Obviously we couldn't have an en-suite loo as it would just freeze!

Viking Boat at the Ice Hotel in Sweden

So i went back to our room to find my husband peacefully snooring. Having fought back into the sleeping bag i decided that i needed the loo again....did i mention i was 5 months pregnant ...needing the loo a lot is a classic side effect!!

So eventually i get to sleep, only to wake up sweating - the layers have done their job - and more!! So i open the sleeping bag to cool off and of course my sweat freezes and then i am frozen and so have to zip up again...and so the cycle continued all night , whilst my husband who had heeded the advice slept soundly.

We were woken first thing with hot cloudberry juice and i headed straight to the sauna to wake up and warm up. My husband however had slept soundly and really had quite a good night and was full of the joys of life.

Car Bed for the night !! Made out of Ice in an Art Suite at the Ice Hotel in Sweden

So looking back were there any learnings?

1. Don't stay in the Ice Hotel when pregnant

2. Listen to the briefing. They know what they are talking about  and you will sleep better if you do!

3. The Ice Hotel has learnt to and has now replaced the slab of ice bed with a proper mattress inside a wall of ice - much more comfortable on the hips!



About Abigail Collins

Abigail has spent 20 years in Marketing and Product Development, and over 25 years avidly travelling around the globe. New experiences are her passion and as a result her travel has been as varied as partying at the Carnival in Brazil, Hiking in the Yukon, diving in the Cocos Islands and living with an Aboriginal community in Australia.

Creating unique new breaks with new experiences is her forte!

As a result of her experience in travel Abigail has worked on some of the more unusual or long haul breaks such as Jordan, Slovenia, India, Istanbul and Iceland.

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