A hotel of ice, snow and soul.
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Friday, 14th September 2007
The 18th ICEHOTEL will open December 7 and architects and designers are hard at work creating luxury suites that will be, in no uncertain terms, different.

From the land of ice and snow comes news that ICEHOTEL #18 will open December 7 and preparations are already underway to create yet another unique experience for guests.In a few days, this year's chosen designers and artists will hand in their ice block orders to the production hall in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

Apparently, the greatest challenge in this year's ICEHOTEL is the new category of rooms – the Design Suite.

Says architect Åke Larsson, "Design Suite has changed how I relate to the hotel. It demands outstanding advance planning since the interior is pre-fabricated, in order to be put on loading pallets until it is time to place it in the rooms."

The design for the 10 suites is currently being completed. The pre-fabrication started in the middle of September and suites will be opened to overnight guests on January 5, 2008.

The hotel's only luxury suite will be opened just in time for New Year's Day. The suite, sold as a package for a complete ice and luxury experience, is both an architectonical and technical challenge, says the company. Åke Larsson is the one behind the technique that will replace the inflatable, but wind sensitive, moulding form that has been used in previous years to create igloo-like buildings.

Rashid Sagadeev and Charly Walter from Russia and Austria are behind the idea and design of the luxury suite. The room will be round in shape and will inhabit a diamond-like dome of ice.

Rashid Sagadeev, a returning artist to ICEHOTEL, teaches as well as works with art. He uses materials such as snow and ice, sand and metals and has been painting frescos in an Italian monastery. Rashid has won numerous international ice sculpting contests.

The artists selected this year come from 14 different countries and their experiences and spheres of activity are widely differentiated. They include fire sculptors, illustrators, filmmakers and architects.

Maurizio Perron from Italy says "My work mediates my feelings. At ICEHOTEL one of my works will for the first time be 'lived'. Normally I create monuments, sculptures and installations that people set foot on, touch and feel but this time it will be different. Someone will overnight, sleep and dream in an ambience that comes from my soul."

Yeoh Siew Hoon, one of Asia's most respected travel editors and commentators, writes a regular column on news, trends and issues in the hospitality industry for 4Hoteliers.com.

Siew Hoon, who has covered the tourism industry in Asia/Pacific for the past 20 years, runs SHY Ventures Pte Ltd. Her other writings can be found at www.thetransitcafe.com . Get your weekly cuppa of news, gossip, humour and opinion at the cafe for travel insiders.
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