The IceHotel in the village of Jukkasjärvi, about 17 kilometres (11 mi) from Kiruna, in northern Sweden, was the world's first ice hotel. After its first opening in 1990, the hotel has been erected each year from December to April. The hotel, including the chairs and beds, is constructed from snow and ice blocks taken from the nearby Torne River. The structure remains below freezing, around 23 °F (−5 °C).
The entire hotel is made out of snow and ice blocks taken from the Torne River, even the glasses in the bar are made of ice. Each spring, around March, Icehotel harvests tons of ice from the frozen Torne River and stores it in a nearby production hall. The ice is used for creating Icebar designs and ice glasses, which are used for ice sculpting classes, events and product launches all over the world while the snow is used for building a strong structure for the building.
When the temperature drops and the snow guns start humming on the Torne River shore, usually in mid-November, the building process begins. The snow is sprayed on huge inverted catenary shaped steel forms and allowed to freeze. After a couple of days, the forms are removed, leaving a maze of free-standing corridors of snow. In the corridors, dividing walls are built in order to create rooms and suites. Ice blocks are then transported into the hotel, where selected artists start creating the art and design of the perishable material. The Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi opens in phases. The first phase opens in the beginning of December. For each week, another section of the hotel opens up for visitors and guests until the beginning of January. At this time, the entire construction is completed.
For the workshop, there are warmer alternatives than the ice rooms. The group can decide if it wants to be cool.