I have always wanted to go to Lapland.
The idea of snowy forests, husky dogs, log cabins and Father Christmas all in one place has always intrigued me.
Ever since I saw that Bond film I have wanted to go to The Ice Hotel.
So when Discover The World asked if I fancied test driving one of their jollies out there, well I couldn’t say no!
We hopped on a morning flight from Heathrow, and flew into the darkness of Sweden’s winter.
Landing just after lunch time, into a starless night, at the prettiest little red airport you’ll ever see!
In Lapland’s winter, the sun never rises above the horizon.
You get a couple of hours of twilight in the middle of the day, but that’s all.
By the time we arrived at the Ice Hotel, we had been plunged into the pitch black of the afternoon.
Which only adds to the excitement of exploring this glittering ice palace!
We stepped inside, boots gently crunching through the trodden snow.
As you might expect, everything is made of ice.
Even the reception desk, along with its frosty receptionist…
The first thing to hit you as you enter the main hall, is the calm.
The snow absorbs every bit of noise, leaving you in a sort of spell bound silence.
But seeing as it’s a hotel after all, you’re probably itching to see the rooms!
Allow me to show you around.
I’ve included the room number and name (followed by the artists responsible), in case you fancy booking your favourite.
The beds are carved from ice, topped with wooden palettes, then foam mattresses, then reindeer hide.
Though you can’t help but feel you might already be dreaming.
*Though I wouldn’t usually wear fur, it’s nessasary when going into -20 temps (Lapland usually hits -40 at this time of year) as it is the only material to stop frostbite. Sourced humanely, used sparingly and never just for fashion, purely function. More info.
Especially in this particular room, where you might wake up with some
onething watching you…
In this room, iced sheep emerge from a crack in the wall, run the length of the room, before leaping over your bed.
All hoping to be counted and send you off to sleep.
My friend Thomas is rather proud of his Austin Powers impression, so Thomas… this room’s for you!
The whole place is incredibly tactile.
You can’t help but want to run your fingers along the walls and get hands on with the sculptures.
The lighting can be pretty magical, too.
Having thoroughly explored the hotel and settled in, we went in search of the elusive Northern Lights.
It’s one of the multitude of adventures you can book before you go.
For this one you race off into the night, looking for the darkest part of the frozen river, and hope to see the dancing Aurora Borealis. Though the second you board the plane in London, someone comes on the mic to tell you how rare they are, and that you probably won’t. This is reiterated when you check in, and again before you set off.
Never the less, we were optimistic!
We drove through the darkness, in -15 temps, for about two hours.
With the sky completely covered in a layer of cloud, our guide suggested we all give up and head inside for some supper.
If there’s one thing that can ease my crippling disappointment, it’s supper.
We turned off our chariots and followed a candlelit path into the woods.
Trudging through thigh-high powder, we eventually came across a clearing filled with a three little, snow topped huts.
Glowing with firelight.
We took our seats inside, stripping off coats and mittens, wriggling our hands and defrosting beside the fire.
Warming mugs of hot lingonberry juice were brought around,
followed by potato soup, reindeer stew (delicious) and panacotta.
No mulled wine or anything of the sort as Sweden have a zero tolerance drink-driving policy. If you touch a drop, you can’t drive.
Very sensible indeed, and something to remember if you head out. Don’t drink wine on the plane.
Having warmed and filled up, we emerged into the night.
Keeping our eyes firmly on the sky and squinting just a little, hoping to spot the lights.
Sadly it wasn’t meant to be, and we raced back to the hotel at an exhilarating speed!
Home at last, we sought out The Ice Bar.
Where you’ll find cocktails served up in chiselled ice glasses.
Which you can drink in the snow, beside the crackling fire.
The hotel recommends that you only sleep on ice for one night of your stay.
The other nights you spend “in the warm”, in little cabins.
Very simple, pine clad rooms with no-nonsense shower rooms.
Not quite The Ritz, but by the end of the day you’ll be so tired and grateful for the warmth… you won’t even notice.
Haven’t seen quite enough yet? S’no need to worry, more Lapland adventures to come!