If there’s one place you have to visit, not just at Christmas time but in winter, full stop (and as it turns out – now all year round), it’s Lapland! It’s the home of Santa, polar nights and more snow that we would ever know what to do with in London.
Lloyd and I had long wanted to visit Lapland (it’s such a no-brainer to visit at this time of the year) and so it was a very quick yes when Discover The World asked if we’d like to head over to the ICEHOTEL with them to go find Santa!
And with that, we packed our bags and our very best winter gear and made our way over to Jukkasjärvi in Sweden – home of the ICEHOTEL.
See, that’s the other thing. Discover The World are the only ones who offer direct flights to the ICEHOTEL from London, meaning you can be in Lapland in just around 3 hours from London.
(This is a pretty huge deal and a big part of why we just knew we HAD to go! 😀 In the past, it’s been a hassle to try to key in all the different parts of the journey to take us to the ICEHOTEL which is why we never really got round to doing it).
Now at the ICEHOTEL, it is recommended that you only actually sleep one night on the ice – the rest can be spent in warm cabins instead so we decided on a 3 nights stay to do the first couple of nights warm and then one the final night – sleep in an ice suite in the ICEHOTEL!
The cabins are pretty Scandic (simple and minimal) and after checking in and dropping our stuff, we headed straight to the Veranda, where we would be dining at the Chef’s table.
The Chef’s table is as nice as it sounds, by the way.
The Michelin-trained head chef of the ICEHOTEL – Alexander Meier (who’s an absolutely amazing guy, by the way – funny, clever and just a generally brilliant guy to spend time with) makes you dinner, along with his other sous chefs while a sommelier serves you brilliant paired wines with every course.
As we all good meals, we started off with a glass of champagne (Ruinart, for anyone curious 😋🥂)…
…before tucking into our first course – Arctic char mousse with sturgeon caviar.
The Arctic char was followed with Jerusalem artichoke with white Alba truffle…
…and Kalix bleak roe with lemon air. Light, zingy and utterly delicious.
In fact, I’m just gonna cut to the chase here! It was all delicious! The attention to detail is just so impressive here and every single bite was just absolutely amazing!
Next up, we had the white fish taco with chimichurri, 😋
green tea cured Arctic char served in its bouillon…
…and grilled lobster with a coconut bisque. (Sooo sooooooo good!)
We switched things up with a consomé of smoked reindeer heart …
…and a porridge of wild mushroom from the local forests.
We rounded off the last of the savoury menu with reindeer tartare, served with flavours of pine…
…ptarmigan (for the uninitiated, like I was at the time, it’s actually a bird) with morel sauce
…and elk filé with almond mashed potatoes and chocolate sauce.
The chocolate sauce was probably the hint that dessert was on its way… and indeed, it was with Arctic raspberries sorbet, swiftly followed by crumbly lingonberry and vanilla dessert.
It was the menu to surpass all menus! 😋
Usually, I’m so wary of Chef’s menus as there’s bound to be a couple of things I won’t like and to have one like this where every single item, without exception, was absolutely delicious and made you even more excited for the upcoming items was just such an amazing dining experience! The absolute best!
Totally stuffed, but too excited to just head to bed, we decided to quickly head over to the ice bar to check it out.
It was too late to check out the actual hotel – that would have to wait till tomorrow as hotel guests would have already been given the rooms (in the daytime, when guests have checked out – it’s actually a museum for like 8 hours or so).
The ice bar is every bit as cool as I’d imagined! (Pun intended 😄).
The ICEHOTEL is actually open all year round but there are two parts to it.
There is the ICEHOTEL 365 part (the all year round bit) that you can visit and sleep in, even in the middle of summer (don’t worry, it’s all renewable energy used to power it then so it’s actually quite eco-friendly).
Then there’s the ICEHOTEL 29 part which is the seasonal one that melts in spring summer and is rebuilt every winter (the 29 actually had to do with the 29th year of the hotel running – so next year it will be ICEHOTEL 30 and then ICEHOTEL 31…etc).
Eventually, we decided to call it a night and retire to our hot cabins for some well-earned sleep!
The following morning, we woke up to what daytime was like in the Arctic.
See the sun never rises here (it stays beneath the horizon the entire time) at this time of the year and so what you have is polar nights.
Polar nights looks, when it isn’t cloudy, like a sunrise/sunset that just lasts for hours!
The sky is all sorts of light pastel-y blues and pinks and it’s absolutely beautiful!
Despite arriving in the afternoon the day before, we didn’t actually get to see any of this as it gets dark around 1pm (ish) and so it was dark by the time we even arrived in.
After a fairly quick bite to eat at breakfast (we left it to the last minute to get as much sleep as possible), we spent the rest of the morning wandering around and excitedly taking in the beauty of Swedish Lapland – eager to go check out the ICEHOTEL properly!
All of the details on that in the very next post! (I took waaaaaaaay too many photos to fit into this one). 😀