The Ice Hotel

The Big Frog wrote this travel piece for The Guardian newspaper a while back but it is still a favourite:

The ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden, has to be the coolest destination on the planet, in every sense of the word. The experience is simply astounding. Everything is made of ice, from the building itself to the vodka shot glasses, which increase in size every time they are refilled. The excitement is hot enough to almost thaw the walls in the hotel bar, a vast ice-cave filled with translucent frozen furniture. Only Vodka is available, as lesser drinks would be turned solid before they reached the glass.

There is an incredible sense of immediate camaraderie amongst everyone from the moment they arrive, probably caused by the sense of shared privilege at the aesthetic wonder of their frozen surroundings. Ice sculptures are illuminated in deep azures and sea-greens. A trip to the hotel lobby is like a surreal step into an arctic acid trip. Guests can sleep on a bed of ice topped by reindeer skins.

Before a breakfast of cured reindeer, they can take a sauna in a wooden caravan parked on a frozen lake; dropping through the caravan’s floor into the heart-stopping natural plunge-pool beneath.
Hardcore types can take a five day dog-sled safari across the cleanest, whitest breathtaking stillness on the planet. You can hire a snowmobile and howl across frozen lakes at near- motorway speeds as the bark of your engine echoes off steep valley walls and the ice cracks just behind your skids.

Drink schnapps and BBQ late into the night outside your cozy pinewood chalet as you marvel at the truly seminal dance of the Northern Lights in the cloudless sky above.

There are few unspoiled wilderness areas left on planet earth, but Jukkasjärvi still retains a vast incredible cleanliness and an awesome serenity. It deserves respect and demands a return visit. Experience this place before you die.