Each winter for the past 26 years, guests have enjoyed a chilly reception at a newly-sculpted Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland, before it melts away and a different structure is built in its place. This routine could soon change though, as plans were recently unveiled to add a permanent solar-powered hotel to the site that will be open year-round.
To be clear, the new hotel is planned as an addition to the existing Icehotel only, so the annual ice sculpting architectural fun will continue. Assuming all goes to plan, the new building will include 20 suites, a bar, and a gallery. Guests will be able to visit throughout the year, and one slated summer activity involves hiking under the midnight sun.
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While finer details are still thin on the ground at this early stage, the renders depict a low building covered in greenery, with a rooftop-based observation point accessible by stairs. Additional images also show people tobogganing down the side of the hotel.
The plan is to run the new hotel solely from solar energy harvested during the summer months, making full use of the abundant daylight experienced so far north during that time of year.
"The midnight sun offers unique conditions for producing electricity using solar power, as it allows us to generate power throughout the night," says Jon Malmsten, advisor general at solar energy firm Solkompaniet.
Winter months would, presumably, see the hotel run using generators, as is generally the case in similarly isolated projects.
Assuming the required funding is raised, Icehotel aims to start operating its new hotel as early as the end of 2016.