LAPLAND - With temperatures now dipping below freezing, construction of this season's new ICEHOTEL in Swedish Lapland has begun in the picturesque village of Jukkasjarvi. Completion is set to coincide with the start of Discover the World's direct flights from Heathrow to Kiruna Airport from 15 December 2012.
The construction process involves spraying layers of "snice" (a unique mixture of snow and ice) over arch-shaped metal frames. Snice has the insulating effect of snow, but is lighter than ice and stronger than snow. The moulds are covered in about eight batches of snice and left to set for a few days until they are solid enough to stand alone and the moulds are pulled out.
New Northern Lights Suites at ICEHOTEL
To celebrate the Aurora Borealis reaching its peak in the 11-year cycle, ICEHOTEL is creating ten new Northern Lights Suites. The rooms will feature a 'swipe' of ice with spectacular LED lighting themed to capture the magic of the Aurora Borealis, so guests can enjoy their own northern lights show from the comfort of an illuminated ice bed.
Describing the new suites, Arne Bergh, Artistic Director of ICEHOTEL said, "This year we wanted to highlight the Aurora Borealis and the idea we came up with was to create our very own Northern Lights Suites. The suites will be an artistic celebration of the Solar Max and will be interpreted through the use of frozen water from the Torne River and LED lights."
Exclusive Northern Lights flights to coincide with spring equinox
For the second year, ICEHOTEL guests will have the opportunity to take to the skies for the best possible chance of viewing the Northern Lights above the clouds. Discover the World is the only UK tour operator with access to this unique flight and has an allocation of seats exclusively for Discover the World guests.
The flights run by Spaceport Sweden in collaboration with the Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna, take groups of up to 12 passengers, each with their own window. Passengers are given a pre-flight presentation at ICEHOTEL, before the group is transferred to Spaceport Sweden for the hour-long flight.
Two scheduled flights are available -both coinciding with Discover the World's 16 March ICEHOTEL Break departure. March is also the time of the spring equinox or Vernal, another optimal time for aurora viewing (together with the autumnal equinox in September). This is when geomagnetic storms are strongest and these storms are usually the cause of the aurora.
Discover the World's Northern Lights Flight excursions are scheduled for 17 and 18 March 2013. All passengers travelling on Discover the World's direct flight from Heathrow to Kiruna departing 16 March will be entered into a prize draw for 2 free seats on this excursion.