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The world's coolest hotel
One of the most unusual hotels anywhere exists for only part of the year.
Located more than 100 miles above the Arctic Circle in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, just seven miles from Kiruna Airport, the Icehotel is exactly what its name suggests. It is a frozen fantasyland decorated with ice artwork imported from around the world that has opened each winter for the past 20 years. Guests in its 80 or so rooms spend the night on an ice bed, tucked snugly in a thermal sleeping bag that rests on layers of reindeer hides.
Construction begins in November, when workers blast metal frames with snow guns to create an icy shell. Once it is frozen solid, the supports are removed. The interior structures are then formed from blocks of ice cut the previous spring and stored during the summer. Construction of the hotel, which opens bit by bit as sections are completed, concludes by the end of December.
The Icehotel (www.icehotel.com) closes in late April as the roof starts to melt, but the operators offer traditional accommodations nearby in warmer months, when visitors can take a three-day ice-sculpting class.