The hotels are constructed near rivers so that employees can collect water, freeze it into ice, then carve the ice into enormous blocks before hauling it into place. When spring arrives, though, all of the hard work vanishes, and the hotels must wait until winter to rebuild.
Ice hotels were first built in Japan in the 1980s. Since then, others have been created for festivals in countries such as Switzerland, Canada, and Russia. The Ice Hotel is a Norwegian product created by artist Kaija Saariaho. It was inspired by the traditional wooden churches built in Norway's northern regions. These buildings are made only of wood and ice, with no other material used in their construction. As well as being beautiful, they last forever.
People sometimes ask me how the ice inside an ice hotel stays frozen given that water is a good solvent and would therefore melt it down over time. The answer is that there are several layers of protection against this happening. First, when the river freezes over, workers excavate a channel beneath its surface so that any water that does get in will be trapped there. Then, when the ice block is built around that water, it creates a protective shell that keeps the water frozen even while doing other things. Finally, if anyone living in an ice hotel wants to make sure that it doesn't melt, they have the option of moving into it during the winter months.
Approximately five to six weeks. Large-capacity ice hotels take roughly five to six weeks to construct. Smaller versions can be built in a matter of days.
The ice hotels are designed by Icehotel staff and inspired by historical monuments and buildings. They are built on site at temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius, with no electricity or gas supply. Only torches are used for light.
Inside the ice hotel you will find a sleeping area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a gallery where guests can enjoy the ice sculptures created by the hotel's carvers.
Guests can stay in the ice hotels for one night or even longer if they wish. In the summer, an employee will come inside to check on the guests and make sure they are comfortable. If they are not, they will let someone know outside the ice hotel so that they can be brought in to sleep indoors.
The concept for ice hotels was invented in Japan in 1994 by Satsuki Odawara. Since then, other artists have been invited to create sculptures for these temporary museums of ice art.
People all over the world have asked how they can help with the construction of an ice hotel.
Ice hotels are essentially massive igloos that operate on the same concept. They're massive constructions built of ice blocks, with sophisticated pure ice furnishings, bars, spas, and beds on the interior. The structures rely on sub-freezing conditions and frequently melt in the summer, only to be rebuilt from fresh ice the following year.
The first ice hotel was built by Norwegian artist Petur Thvason in 1996. Since then, many more have been constructed around the world. In Norway, another ice hotel called the Snow Castle has been under construction since 2006. It will contain over 100 rooms when completed in 2014 and will be the largest ice structure in the world.
All over the world, people are building ice hotels as a form of creative expression, either as a private residence or luxury hotel. Some are even turning them into museums or theaters! The list of possibilities is endless. There are also a number of commercial ice hotels in various countries where tourists can stay in custom-built igloos.
So yes, an ice hotel does melt at some point during the summer. However, it can be rebuilt using new ice blocks so it remains functional even after its owner moves out.