kumimonster: (me wcGreen)
The journey getting there was a little on the long side but very nice!
I was on Virgin for the first leg (SFO-ORD) which is always a joy, and then SAS the rest of the way (ORD-ARN-KRN). And surprise, Richard and I were in Plus which means we had lounge access and were able to breeze through security check lines (in SE airports - not US ones though). I would fly SAS again readily.

I met up with Richard in Chicago. Since I knew we'd have a little bit of time I suggested eating at Tortas Frontera. I'm so happy I did. It was great! There are a couple at ORD - the preferred one has the actual restaurant seating in the international terminal.

We then boarded an 8 hour flight to Stockholm, after that we continued onward to Kiruna for a couple more hours!

It took some time for us to get to the hotel after landing in Kiruna. While we waited for the shuttle to pick us up, I fell asleep. Finally Richard called them and they sent a taxi. It took a few hours AND they forgot us! UGH. Anyway, it was a short ride over to Jukkasjärvi.

We walked over to the cold-room check in area and set our bags down so we could check out the available art suites. We had an art suite booked but if you don't know what you want in advance you'll get one picked for you. When you arrive you can change and pick one of the available ones.
There are a few "tiers" of ice rooms you can sleep in. There's a basic ice room, there's a northern lights room (which features a colorful light display you can shut off at night), and then there are the art suites. There are also 2 luxury suites that require a card key to access.
During the day, the hotel is open for visitors. It's in a separate building and when you enter, there's a main hallway with corridors on either side. Down each corridor are doorways with a bit of fabric functioning as a "door". Until 18h00 you can enter any of the rooms freely to take photos and wander about.
So we went through to select our room - we chose 317 (my bday!) - and then moved our bags into our warm-storage area. For those staying in the ice rooms, you get to share a locker room changing area with most of the guests. If you get an art-suite, you get a large closet space with a mirror and seating to store your items. There are separate shower/sauna rooms for wo/men as well stocked with towels and soap/shampoo. Really, it's very nice.

So we went and visit the IceBar for a quick drink. I actually didn't have one. The colours scared me. It was pretty sad. Considering the hotel is celebrating it's 25th year, we felt that the IceBar should've had something with a little bit more oomph. And when I tell people to visit the church, and don't bother with the bar, you know something is wrong! I didn't really take any photos of the bar because I didn't think it warranted photos. The church you'll see later! After Richard's drink, we wandered back into the IceHotel to take photos of the first half of the rooms!

By this time we were pretty exhausted. The rooms are just too cold to stay in and as I mentioned above, the public can roam around until 18h00. So we hung out in the warm-room lounge for a bit. It was pretty crowded. We had a light dinner in the main restaurant. I ate foie gras.

We then went to the cold-room lounge which ended up being my favorite place to chill out. There's a machine for coffee and hot chocolate (gotta pay for it but whatever), there's free water, wifi and a fireplace that keeps everything toasty. I actually ended up hanging out in a tank top, flip flops and sweat pants.

2015 march 16 - Jukkasjärvi from KumiM on Vimeo.

I took a shower in the evening. It helped keep me awake for a little bit longer. It also got the stink from the too-many-hours of travel off of me. We exchanged our boots for the free ones given out by the hotel, grabbed the inner liners and arctic sleeping bags (all supplied by the icehotel) and then got ready for bed!
You leave most of your personal belongings in the locker storage area. You don't want anything that you're not actually wearing because it'll get too cold during the night. That's why you use the hotel's items like boots which will be sitting in the cold room, outside of the warmth of the sleeping bag.

OK. This is good enough for now. More later when I get to it.

ALL the photos are at my tumblr moblog
(in reverse order though)


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