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24 Hours in the IceHotel

24 Hours in the IceHotel

Wintering in the (midnight) sun.

?Yes, it is damn nippy in Sweden?s famed IceHotel, but that wouldn?t be so bad if it wasn?t equally nippy outside. Go there in December or January, and you get the pleasure of freezing your testiklar (that?s Swedish) outdoors and in; go in the height of summer, on the other hand, and you get to enjoy the pleasures of sleeping in a deep freeze (surprisingly well, in our experience) while still getting to frolic under the midnight sun. While winter is a husky ride-or-snowmobile affair (like we experienced when attending a gay wedding), summer means fishing and white-water rafting on the pristine Torne River. And daylight -- lots and lots of it. Here?s an ideal way to spend 24 hours at the IceHotel from the beginning of June to the end of August. It?s never too early to plan for next year.

12 P.M.After arriving at Kiruna Airport, take a drive to the Torne River for a campfire lunch of mushroom soup made from shiitakes grown in the nearby iron mine, followed by an afternoon of rafting.

4 P.M.Check into your two rooms at the IceHotel, a standard ?warm? hotel room and a ?cold? room -- a chamber made completely of ice right down to the chandelier -- that features unique design elements like life-size sculpted polar bears looming above your bed.

6 P.M.Throw back a cocktail at the Absolut IceBar, where everything, from the glasses to the bar itself, is carved from ice made from Torne river water.

7 P.M. Dine at the IceHotel restaurant, which is overseen by chef Alexander Meier Martinez, who sources fresh, local Swedish ingredients like reindeer fillets and cloudberries over home-made vanilla ice cream in a bowl made from ice.

9 P.M. Nap in your ?warm? hotel room or wander the grounds while keeping an eye out for native wildlife like reindeer, moose, and beavers.

11:30 P.M. Get suited up to explore the countryside in off-road vehicles.

MidnightSip on hot loganberry juice while you ponder the surreal Midnight Sun. At 12:30 a.m. it feels like mid-morning.

1:30 A.M. Pick up your heavy-duty sleeping bag and make your way to your ?cold? room to experience a night in the IceHotel. Expect to sleep deeply -- and dream strangely.

8 A.M. Wake up, warm up, and dine on elk cold cuts, waffles with cloudberries, and, of course, herring.

10 A.M. Head back into the cold of the refrigerated complex to try your hand at ice carving and instantly gain an appreciation for just how challenging it is for the artisans who create the IceHotel each year.

For more information and to book, visit And click ?Next? for even more photos.

Ice Bar 

Parkas at the ready 

Reindeer skins on the ice bed 

Ice carving 

Entrance in wintertime 

A summer ?sunset? 

The Torne River 


Outside of the Ice Factory 

2 A.M. 

The Polar Bear Room 

Don?t forget your mittens? 

?or your nightcap. 
Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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