Skip to main content

Real-Time Retreats

Winter Wonderland Part 2: A Scandinavian Christmas

The Grand Hôtel Stockholm, Vasa Museum, and Icehotel

divider pattern

Wanna build a snowman? Well, it doesn’t get any more ‘Winter Wonderland-ish’ than Sweden, darlings! And “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” - but that only enhances the festivity and the fun!

Real-Time Retreats - Winter Wonderland Part 2: A Scandinavian Christmas

Join us this week for a very special holiday treat, as we travel on our magical ZOOM carpet to the land of the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights!

Meet the experts from Sweden, Magnus Lindbergh and Maria Andersson, live from The Grand Hôtel Stockholm. We will then enjoy a Nordic seafaring experience at the Vasa Museum, and hope for a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights!) at the Icehotel in Swedish Lapland, with onsite specialists, Mikael Dahlberg and Matthias Andersson.

So get cozy and ready to immerse yourself in holiday cheer in the legendary city of Stockholm, the grandeur and tradition of the Grand Hotel and the “once in a lifetime” experience of an overnight at the Ice Hotel!

This week, we’re asking you to help us “Let It Go” as it pertains to the travel restrictions of 2020, and dress for the festive season in Scandinavia! Whether it’s Anna, Elsa or Olaf, Bing Crosby or Jolly St. Nick himself, let’s celebrate the winter holidays with our Swedish friends from far away lands!

This Wednesday, our call will occur at 1:00PM EST, as we’ll be going live to Sweden. The ‘first five at 12:55’ to log in will receive a sweeeeeet gift (no earlier than 12:55pm EST, please) of delectable Swedish chocolates, with love and good cheer from Visit Sweden!

PLUS, Kelly McAlister with Maui Jim will make sure you look cool in a new pair of shades!

Video Replay


Magnus Lindbergh, Marketing Manager, Travel Trade - VisitSweden Inc

Magnus Lindbergh

Marketing Manager, Travel Trade
VisitSweden Inc.

VisitSweden Inc
655 Third Avenue, suite 2010
New York, NY 10017
+1 646 226 3588
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Connect on LinkedIn

Maria Andersson, Grand Hôtel Stockholm

Maria Andersson

Grand Hôtel Stockholm

Grand Hôtel Stockholm
P.O. Box 16424, SE-103 27 Stockholm
Tel: +46 (0)8 679 35 00
Fax +46 (0)8 611 86 86
Direct tel.: +46 (0)8 679 35 48
Mobile tel: +46 (0) 735 19 01 77
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Connect on LinkedIn

Mathias Andersson, Business Development Manager, Vasa Museum

Mathias Andersson

Business Development Manager
Vasa Museum

Vasa Museum – part of the Swedish National Maritime and Transport Museums
P.O. Box 27131
SE-102 52 Stockholm
Tel: +46 8 519 548 79

Mikeal Dahlberg, Travel Trade Manager - ICEHOTEL

Mikeal Dahlberg

Travel Trade Manager

Tel: +46 (0) 70 669 97 92
Instagram: @icehotelsweden

A Scandinavian Christmas


What do you know about Sweden? Over 50% of Sweden is covered in forests, with 100,000 lakes and 24,000 islands, and the country has the 4th largest land area in Europe. Sweden’s official name is the Kingdom of Sweden. It’s the 3rd largest exporter of music behind the United States and the United Kingdom (Mamma Mia, no way!) And Sweden has one of the highest standards of living in the world, with a low birth rate, low unemployment, a highly developed welfare system and one of the world’s longest life expectancy rates.

So what makes this part of the world so magical? Let’s visit The Grand Hotel in Stockholm, The Vasa Museum, and the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi and uncover part of its secrets!

Waterfront Luxury at the Grand Hotel Stockholm


Occupying an enviable spot on the Stockholm waterfront, the hotel overlooks the Royal Palace and Old Town. The Grand Hôtel has been home to celebrities, high-profile events and everyday bon vivants since 1874. This iconic property offers spectacular rooms and suites blending elements of the hotel’s rich legacy with modern luxury. The hotel houses, the classic Veranda restaurant with its traditional Swedish smörgåsbord, the glamorous Cadier Bar and Mathias Dahlgren’s Michelin-starred restaurants, two of the most sought-after dining destinations in the Nordic region. The hotel also boasts a state-of-the-art spa & fitness club, with saunas and dipping pools. The Grand Hôtel’s true hallmark, however, is impeccable service, providing a bespoke approach that caters to the guests’ every whim.

Events Extraordinaire


At the Grand Hôtel, Nobel Laureates, celebrities and everyday bon vivants have been meeting and mingling since they opened in 1874. As an outstanding venue for social occasions, the hotel caters to all sizes of events such as smaller dinners, meetings, jubilee celebrations, conferences, gala dinners, premieres and more. Get together in a French 1700s milieu or create your own setting in one of the more contemporary rooms. The only limit is your imagination. Our experienced staff is at hand to assist with everything from project management and event menus to lighting and flower arrangements.

delight in the pampering


Taking its inspiration from the natural beauty of the sea and the islands of the Stockholm archipelago, the spa is unlike any other. Relax in a sauna, followed by a cooling dip, experience tranquility in the warm pool. Fit in an energizing and empowering visit to the gym. Enjoy a treatment that relaxes or revives, depending on your state of mind.

suite dreams


Staying in a suite goes far beyond the normal hotel experience. Slip into a silk bathrobe and enjoy their delightful suite package.

Everyone should experience staying in a suite at least once in a lifetime. Once you have tried it, suite life can become quite a habit. Their Suite Dreams offer includes a sumptuous breakfast buffet, entrance to the beautiful spa, silk bathrobes and comfy slippers.

divider pattern
Icehotel - The Hotel That Reincarnates Itself Every Year


If you have a qualm about staying in a hotel room made completely of ice and snow - let it go.

During five months guests from all over the world experience the art in Icehotel Winter before it melts down in spring and the loan from its adjacent mother Torne River is returned. Besides the fifteen to twenty standard ice rooms in the winter hotel, it also houses twelve art suites uniquely designed and hand-carved, all of them created for the very first time.

Wait, it’s made completely of ice and snow? Yes, parts of the hotel are, however, there’s a ‘warm service’ building that is just a few yards away that offers heated relaxation areas, rooms, and places to store your belongings.

The hotel is located in the heart of the tiny village Jukkasjärvi, with about 900 residents. Besides the actual ice hotel with rooms filed with ice art, ice bar and ceremony hall made of ice, Icehotel has a restaurant, cabins, hotel rooms and lounge – all housed in warm buildings within walking distance of each other. In winter there are 53 Ice rooms, Art Suites and Deluxe Suites and in summer there are 18. All year round they have seventy warm rooms; 44 hotel rooms and 28 chalets. There is also the local homestead restaurant just a ten minutes’ walk away.

Icehotel art suite


The world’s first and largest hotel built out of snow and ice. Icehotel Winter has been reincarnated in a new rendition every winter for the last three decades, every year with brand new art to experience. During an intense period in Jukkasjärvi during November and early December every year, the empty space on the riverbank turns into a magnificent hotel made of ice and snow.

deluxe suite at Icehotel

One of the art suites that are custom designed each year


One night in an ice room or art suite and a couple of nights in a warm room is ideal, as it gives you time to join wilderness excursions on the days when you have a warm room to return to in the evening. If possible, they recommend you book your first or last night cool, the remaining nights in their warm cabins or hotel rooms, or join an overnight excursion (only on select days).

Ceremony Hall “Skogen”


Step into a frozen forest in the Ceremony Hall “Skogen,” a world full of toys in the suite “Toybox,” or enter what’s probably the coldest sauna in the world in the art suite “Sauna.” If the temperature doesn’t meet expectations there, cold can quickly be replaced by a hot sauna experience in a private relaxation room for everyone who stays the night in one of the deluxe suites in Icehotel 365.

Absolute Espresso Martini

The home of Absolute Vodka, let’s raise a glass to Sweden!



  • Ice Cubes
  • 1-⅓ Parts Absolut Vodka
  • ⅔ Part Kahlúa
  • ⅔ Part Espresso
  • 3 Whole Coffee Beans

How to mix

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with coffee beans.

  • Prepare the espresso coffee beforehand and let it chill. That will help to minimize the dilution, make your drink colder and even tastier!
  • When shaking: Remember to wake the drink to life, do not rock it to bed. That will also improve the frothy foam on top of your final drink.
  • When straining: Make sure to pour the drink brisk and swift from your shaker. That will help getting all that beautiful foam out and land on top of your drink.
The gathering area in the main ‘warm’ hotel

The gathering area in the main ‘warm’ hotel

Cabins with ‘warm rooms’

Cabins with ‘warm rooms’

The spa at ICEHOTEL

The spa at ICEHOTEL

A private function at the Vasa Museum

A private function at the Vasa Museum

northern lights


It’s a little more than a week until Christmas, so here are some icy thoughts to get you in the spirit of the season.

Rudolph, the red-nosed Northern ruminant. Here’s what you need to know should Santa leave one of his crew on your roof.

Culturally curious? Here’s an overview of how the Swedes do Christmas.

If you want to save a little money for your client the next time they ask for an ice sculpture...

You didn’t think we’d send out this email without one mention of ABBA, did you? Oh Honey, Honey, it would be our Waterloo.

Holiday vodka cocktails - holiday rum drinks - holiday whiskey drinks - holiday tequila drinks

Some virtual backgrounds for you for our Zoom call, provided by Visit Sweden!

Virtual Christmas shower for Kelly and Jessica

Kelly’s ‘Christmas in July’ Wedding

Kelly McAlister of Maui Jim just got engaged! She and Jess are planning a ‘Christmas in July’ themed wedding, and we want to help!

Share your favorite Christmas tradition, story, ornament, decoration, or recipe... and we’ll compile everything and present them to the brides to be for their wedding!

Each week for three weeks - December 9, 16, and 23 - we’ll carve out a ‘Snow and Tell’ portion at the end of the call so you can share your items with Kelly. Afterward, we ask that you mail your ornament or decor item to Carol, or that you email your story, recipe, or tradition to Whitney. We will compile these things into a keepsake box and book for Kelly & Jess.

Maui Jim

divider pattern