It's October, which means a unique and ephemeral hotel is being built in the Lapland village of Jukkasjärvi.
Icehotel is an annual collection of buildings and sculptures made entirely of snow and ice. Every year since 1990, Jukkasjärvi—which ordinarily has a population of 1100 humans and 1000 dogs—has hosted tens of thousands of visitors at the hotel and its bar, restaurant, and church. The hotel is built between October and December and is open for business from December to April. Artists compete to design the "art suite" rooms—previous motifs have included dragons, a chess board, and the inside of a fridge.
The design and number of the rooms varies annually, but the hotel can generally host 100 guests in varying degrees of luxury. Prices start at SEK 3200 ($444) per double per night for a room made of snow to SEK 5300 ($735) for an art suite, to SEK 8500 ($1179) for the deluxe room with ensuite bathroom and sauna. (The non-deluxe rooms don't have bathrooms—if nature calls in the middle of the night, you'll need to shuffle through the snow to another building.)
Regardless of the luxury level, you'll be sleeping on a block of ice in a room where the temperature is a constant 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotel offers guests a "survival course" nightly, and furs and polar sleeping bags help usher in a good night's sleep, but if the cold becomes too much to bear you can adjourn to an adjacent heated chalet.
Activities at Icehotel include dog sledding, ice sculpting, hooning around on snow mobiles, and viewing the Northern Lights. The church, open from December 25, is available for weddings.
More wonders carved in ice: