An ice hotel is a temporary hotel made up entirely of snow and sculpted blocks of ice. They are promoted by their sponsors and have special features for travelers who are interested in novelties and unusual environments, and thus are in the class of destination hotels. Their lobbies are often filled with ice sculptures, and food and beverages are specially chosen for the circumstances.
All of the ice hotels are reconstructed every year, and are dependent upon constant sub-zero temperatures during construction and operation. The walls, fixtures, and fittings are made entirely of ice, and are held together using a substance known as snice, which takes the place of mortar in a traditional brick built hotel.
The ice hotel near the village of Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna, Sweden was the world's first ice hotel. In 1989, Japanese ice artists visited the area and created an exhibition of ice art. In Spring 1990, French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a cylinder-shaped igloo in the area. One night there were no rooms available in the town, so some of the visitors asked for permission to spend the night in the exhibition hall. They slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin - the first guests of the "hotel."
The entire hotel is made completely out of ice blocks taken from the Torne River - even the glasses in the bar are made of ice. The hotel has more than 80 rooms and suites, a bar, reception area and church. The hotel only exists between December and April. Each room is unique and the architecture of the hotel is changed each year, as it is rebuilt from scratch.