We left Chicago on the 23rd and arrived at the Ice Hotel on the 24th. We strongly recommend staying in a heated room your first night and not the actual Ice Hotel as we did. We had horrid "jet lag" and were not able to take a nap because we could not go to our room until 7 and we arrived around noon. Before we went to bed we had managed to be awake for 48 hours!
Our first day there we checked in, we got our snow gear and we made arrangements to go dog sledding the next day. I strongly suggest making these arrangements before you go. They fill up FAST! We also made dinner reservations (something you should also do as soon as possible). We went on the 5 o'clock tour of the Ice Hotel and then had dinner at 6.
Then we went to our rooms and were giddy for a while until we went to sleep. We both did not sleep perfectly, but who cares right?! We were staying in an ice hotel!
We did both have to get up to go to the bathroom, and I have to say it was worth it. Walking down the hallway at 3 am when NO ONE ELSE is up was... it was amazing. Very peaceful. They woke us between 7:30 and 8 the next morning with warm lingonberry juice.
We got up and put our luggage into the storage room and then we went to get breakfast. Afterwards we hurried down to the barking of dogs. We had signed up to do the "dog sled lunch". That is where you sit on the dog sled for about an hour ride out to a camp site. You then eat lunch in a cabin (it was a delicious moose stew and mashed potatoes) and then you ride back.
The ride there and back was wonderful. I was VERY shocked to find out that we were sledding over a frozen river! It was beautiful, comfortable (if not a bit chilly) and so much fun.
When we got back that night we checked into our heated room and we crashed. I ended up sleeping through the Christmas processional, which made me sad as I wanted to see it. We stayed in for the rest of the night and cuddled under the huge sky light in the ceiling.
The next morning we went for breakfast and then ran around the Ice Hotel itself snapping pictures. We checked out, did some shopping and then boarded the bus for the airport.
It was truly a lovely time. To describe the beauty of this place would take the craftsmanship I do not have and words I do not posses. It is like walking into a wonderful dream; a building born of a child's imagination.
It was off to Stockholm next!