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I've always been interested in visiting the Ice Hotel at Jukkasjärvi here in Sweden, but the combination of cold & possibly hard "beds" has so far managed to put me off.

I'd like to hear from someone who has actual experience of staying in one - if the cold is really staved off by the sleeping bags/furs/etc, and if it's actually comfortable to sleep there.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Possibly one of the clearest comments about it comes from this piece written about the ice hotels:

When checking in to the cold accommodation, you'll get a key to your own locker where you can store your clothes as you change to your sleeping attire. If you're staying in a suite, you'll get access to your own small changing room where you can leave your outdoor clothes.

When it's time to go to bed, you pick up a sleeping bag and sheets from the reception desk in the warm building connected to the ICEHOTEL. You can choose between single or double sleeping bags. For a good night's sleep, we recommend sleeping in thermal underwear (such as a long-johns and long-sleeved undershirt) and a hat. Preferably woollen.

Your luggage will be stored in a locked luggage room during your stay. If you bring it to your room, it will freeze during the night.

You'll find warm bathrooms, showers and a sauna in the warm building connected to the ICEHOTEL. If you need to use the bathroom during the night, you'll have to get out of your sleeping bag and go the warm building. So here's a tip; don't drink too much coffee before going to bed.

The bed you'll sleep on is made of blocks of ice, a wooden base and a mattress covered with reindeer skin. Instead of a door, you pull a curtain in front of it. The snow walls are very sound isolating, so a loudly snoring neighbour will not keep you awake.

Around 7.30 am, you will be awoken by one of our guides and served hot lingonberry juice by the bed. In the warm building, you can enjoy a warm morning sauna before going to ICEHOTEL Restaurant for breakfast.

So it would seem there are both warm and cold parts, and you will sleep in the cold part, but be adequately padded and protected.

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Sounds overall pretty pointless if you ask me... –  Michael Borgwardt Dec 21 '11 at 9:55
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You go for the experience of sleeping in ice, but in some ways, an igloo would be cooler IMHO (pun intended) –  Mark Mayo Dec 21 '11 at 10:05
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Yeah, but to me it sounds like most of the actual "experience" is stripped away that way. Might as well have the rooms inside the ice structure be isolated, heated cabins... –  Michael Borgwardt Dec 21 '11 at 10:15
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Not only would an igloo be cooler (in the non-literal sense), it would actually also be warmer (in the literal sense). The whole point of igloos is the compactness, properly sized to the number of occupants so that most of the space is taken up by bodies generating heat. As anyone who has ridden a crowded un-air-conditioned subway in August can tell you, this is a great way to generate heat. But it doesn't work if you make the rooms spacious, hotel-like, and inhabited by only one or two people. –  Jonathan Van Matre Dec 21 '11 at 23:26
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I've stayed in the ICEHOTEL in Sweden last year with my boyfriend (I would recommend taking a partner to keep you warm too!) and it was really comfortable! The reindeer furs they give you are wonderfully warm and soft so you don't really feel like you are on ice at all. I also recently came across an infographic that give some great tips and advice on how to sleep on ice that you may find helpful. I would have to say that it is all about the experience and adventure though, if you don't have the best sleep at least you can say that you have done it and hard beds are better for your back :) Really hope you give it a go!

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protected by Mark Mayo Jan 2 at 14:12

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