ICEHOTEL

A few weeks ago I was asked to go on the most epic adventure with Under Armour, and told I would be staying at the WORLD FAMOUS ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

“Cool,” I thought. I’ve always wanted to go to Stockholm, and I’ve seen pictures of the exotic and unique ICEHOTEL! With just days until my trip, I did some research on ICEHOTEL and its surrounding town/city, as I do whenever I travel.

“Oh boy.”

  1. ICEHOTEL is NOT in Stockholm
  2. It is a 1.5 hour flight north of Stockholm… and north of the Arctic Circle!
  3. Those amazing ice sculptures I was seeing in pictures of the hotel rooms? ACTUAL ICE. And the white walls? Again, ICE. The white carpet? Not carpet. You guessed it… ICE!

And so began THE wildest hotel experience of my LIFE.

The ICEHOTEL is a world famous hotel and an art exhibition made of ice and snow. Founded in 1989, it is reborn in a new guise every winter. The hotel consists of cold rooms and warm rooms; the cold rooms are absolutely fascinating… and -5 degrees Celsius!! No that isn’t a typo- negative FIVE degrees celsius.

“How in the world am I going to sleep?! Or SURVIVE?!”

Equipped with Under Armour’s ColdGear apparel, I set off on my adventure.

The COLD Rooms

These pictures don’t do the rooms justice… nothing will do the room’s justice. They are S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! As is the entire hotel. From my bedrooms steps, to the walls, to the bed frame, everything was made out of ice. On top of my bed frame was a fur blanket and a sleeping bag… so yeah… I was a little nervous! But my nerves quickly faded and I had one of the coolest (literally) night sleeps of my life!

To sleep, I wore UnderArmour Recovery wear. The fabric returns infrared energy to your body, boosting localized blood flow & increasing the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles to restore your muscles faster. It’s insulating properties kept me SO warm during the night. I thought I was going to have to wear layers on layers! My sleeping bag was insulating, too, up to -20 degrees C, so negative 5 degrees was a breeze (okay I’ll stop with the puns).

Before I make myself out to sound like a tough-girl who had no issues in the room, I have to tell you what the best part of the room was. THE HEATED BATHROOM. So yes, I totally hid in the bathroom before going to bed, and during the night I totally got up to use the bathroom, regroup, and go back out into the cold. The bathroom also has a sauna! I didn’t use mine, but definitely was tempted to. In the morning you are woken up by the Hotel with a warm juice 🙂 I truly had such a deep, relaxing sleep!

The WARM Rooms

After my one night stay in the cold room, I was READY for the warm room! If you are like me and think a warm room means 70-75 degrees F, then this room wasn’t THAT warm. I’d give it a solid 65 degrees F… so it was still a little chilly but WAY better than -5 celsius! The rooms are simple and adorable… they do the trick!

The FOOD

The ICEHOTEL is in a pretty remote area, so no need to research local eateries… you will end up having all of your meals onsite at their restaurant. I totally went to town at the breakfast buffet- bacon, sausage, deli meets, a (GF) granola bar, a gluten-free bread basket, and fresh veggies/fruit are several of the gluten-free options.

The staff at the hotel and restaurant couldn’t have been more accommodating when it came to dietary restrictions. For instance, the tray of scrambled eggs contained dairy, so the chef made me my own dairy-free omelette!

The restaurant served the most delicious dinner, too! To start, the salmon appetizer is cornflake crusted and dipped in soy, so NOT gluten-free, but they made me a gluten-free, dairy-free version every night. It was AMAZING! I also ordered the beef tartar appetizer with fries and the asparagus and totally recommend both. For mains, the reindeer stew was gluten-free. Yes… REINDEER stew. I tried a bite… but there was something about having a REINDEER stew that I didn’t vibe with so I didn’t order my own. The steak is another gluten-free option, but I ordered the Arctic Char entree EVERY. NIGHT. It was SOO good! Why does fish (and just everything) taste better in Europe!? The dish came with potatoes and veggies… so filling and such a dream!

I commented to my friends that I was going to leave the trip five pounds heavier or five pounds lighter. I was eating like a truck driver!! Snacks, GF bread; I wanted ALL the carbs. Well I came back way lighter… my body was working in overdrive to keep me warm and burning SO many calories!

Activities:

It goes without saying, if you go to the northern most point in Sweden, you must go see the Northern lights!! In the winter months, these lights dance across the sky in fascinating colors and shapes. We went on the ICEHOTEL’s Northern Lights Tour, and it was a truly amazing experience. Our guide led us on a hike, the only lights coming from our headlights, and we ended at a remote cabin alongside a frozen river.

Looking up at the sky, I saw faint green lines whisk across the sky. Given it was November, we were a month or two early for prime Northern Lights, but I am so happy I was able to see them! I will note… the pictures you see online of Northern Lights… those are NOT from a viewer’s cell phone, ha! What our photographer was able to capture through his veryyy professional lens was astonishing, mind-blowing, incredible… I’ll stop there! The Northern Lights are a must!

Other activities at ICEHOTEL include ice sculpting, a wilderness dinner, dog-sledding, snow-mobiling, and more!

Under Armour ColdGear:

How did I survive this freezing cold experience? No joke, Under Armour’s ColdGear is a SAVIOR! Sleeping in my ice room I wore the UA Recovery Gear. One thin layer literally did the trick, and its insulating abilities kept me so warm and comfortable all night! Pictures 2 and 4 below are of the ColdGear Hybrid Jacket. This jacket is SO light, yet so insulating that I was totally warm in it! In picture number one I am wearing the Balaclava hoodie which is UNREAL for running! It goes over your chin and lips, and has air holes for your mouth so you can run and breath properly without the chill!

THANK YOU UNDER ARMOUR FOR THIS EPIC ADVENTURE. I pushed myself to limits I didn’t know I could push to, and stayed warm and fashionable along the way. If you have the chance to go to the ICEHOTEL in your life you absolutely should. BUCKET LIST, CHECKED!!

xx, Nicole

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