Sweden’s famous Icehotel — the one that started the ice hotel trend — has opened a new wing that will remain frozen all year round. Called Icehotel 365, the area includes 20 suites, an ice bar, and a gallery of ice sculptures and artwork.
This is the first year the hotel, which is ordinarily only open to guests during the winter, will keep a portion running after the cold season is over.
In a blog post, Icehotel owner Yngve Bergqvist announced that the first visitors had stayed in the new part of the hotel, which opened in November. The guests slept in one of the hand-carved “art suites,” which each contain elaborate ice carvings and two or three beds. Twenty art suites and deluxe suites will welcome guests year-round, while the full hotel boasts 55 rooms during the winter.
Oddly enough, the new wing will get help from the sun to make it possible to stay open year-round. To keep the space cool during spring and summer months, the hotel will use solar panels that harness 75 kWh of electricity from April to August. During these months, the sun in Sweden is almost constant, making it easy for the hotel to gather enough energy to keep things running.
That electricity will power “chilling tubes” embedded in the ceiling that will keep the temperature at a constant 23 degrees Fahrenheit. The energy will also provide power for the restaurant, guest rooms, and offices.
The roof of the new wing is covered in Arctic mountain flowers and grass, aiding with insulation.
The hotel laid the groundwork for this year’s version — including the new area — in June, and more than 40 artists, designers and architects from nine different countries created the art for the year-round wing.
A few finishing touches still remain before the full hotel is complete — construction is expected to finish on December 16th.
Clinton Nguyen contributed to a previous version of this story.