Friday, May 16, 2008

Art in Ice - Ice Hotel In Sweden

An ice hotel is a temporary hotel made up entirely of snow and sculpted blocks of ice. They are promoted by their sponsors and have special features for travelers who are interested in novelties and unusual environments, and thus are in the class of destination hotels. Their lobbies are often filled with ice sculptures, and food and beverages are specially chosen for the circumstances. You can see ice hotel pictures below:

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All of the ice hotels are reconstructed every year, and are dependent upon constant sub-zero temperatures during construction and operation. The walls, fixtures, and fittings are made entirely of ice, and are held together using a substance known as snice, which takes the place of mortar in a traditional brick-built hotel.

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The ice hotel near the village of JukkasjÀrvi, Kiruna, Sweden was the world’s first ice hotel. In 1989, Japanese ice artists visited the area and created an exhibition of ice art. In Spring 1990, French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a cylinder-shaped igloo in the area. One night there were no rooms available in the town, so some of the visitors asked for permission to spend the night in the exhibition hall. They slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin - the first guests of the “hotel.”

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The entire hotel is made completely out of ice blocks taken from the Torne River - even the glasses in the bar are made of ice. The hotel has more than 80 rooms and suites, a bar, reception area and church. The hotel only exists between December and April. Each room is unique and the architecture of the hotel is changed each year, as it is rebuilt from scratch.

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Since ICEHOTEL melts every spring, each year a team of snowbuilders, architects, designers and artists from all corners of the world create the Icehotel®. For the 2007/08 Winter season the ICEHOTEL spans over some 6000 m2 and has 80 rooms; Ice rooms, Ice family rooms, Ice suites and ice suites deluxe. Invited artists decorate each suite which are all unique.

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The ice used to build this incredible structure is a particular feature of the Icehotel® as it is crystal clear – the fast-flowing river Torne ensures few bubbles are trapped within it. The sight, as you open the main, reindeer-skin clad doors, is simply breathtaking – a grand, ice pillared hallway illuminated by a spectacular ice chandelier.

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Kept at a constant -5°C to -8°C, the interior actually feels quite pleasant, especially when outside temperatures can drop to around -37°C! Walk past several ice sculptures and imaginatively lit ice art towards one of the most popular rooms - the Absolut Ice Bar. With its vaulted ceiling, plenty of ice block seating (thankfully covered in reindeer skins) and see-though bar, it serves an impressive range of colourful vodka cocktails, naturally served in chunky ice glasses. Although hot cocktails are served in not-so-attractive paper cups, they provide an instant form of central heating, but be careful not to stand them on the bar, for obvious reasons!